Generative AI & Business Policies

Generative AI & Business Policies | vcfo

Generative AI is Here. Are Your Policies Ready?

If you’re a business owner or executive who doesn’t yet fully understand generative AI, you may be adopting a wait-and-see approach before establishing a policy regarding its use in your workplace. Generative AI, however, is not waiting around and has likely already made its way into your business in some form or another. Here, we examine what generative AI is, the benefits and risks, and considerations for creating a generative AI policy that positions the technology to work for your business, not against it.

What is Generative AI?

Generative AI refers to AI algorithms that can generate new content (e.g., text, images, videos) based on patterns and data it has been trained on. These algorithms can produce outputs that mimic human creativity and intelligence. You’ve likely heard of generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT, OpenAI, Sora, and others. Generative AI is also increasingly making its way into applications many of us use every day, from Microsoft Office and its introduction of Microsoft Copilot to chatbots commonly found on websites.

Benefits and Risks of Generative AI in the Workplace

In almost every type of workplace environment, generative AI has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the business. It can streamline operational workflows, enhance creativity, automate administrative tasks, and more. For example, generative AI can be used to create design mockups, improve customer service communications, or summarize lengthy and complex documents or datasets.

However, generative AI also poses risks, particularly regarding its potential misuse. Without proper guidelines in place, employees may inadvertently create misleading or inappropriate content, divulge private information, violate intellectual property rights, or engage in unethical behavior. Additionally, concerns persist about the potential for generative AI to spread misinformation or perpetuate biases that could be present in the data models these algorithms rely on.

Create a Generative AI Usage Policy that Works for Your Workplace

Establishing a proper policy for how generative AI may and/or may not be used in your workplace will help your business realize its benefits while reducing its risks. Doing so will also provide clarity to your employees concerning tools and technology they’ve already used or may wish to use in supporting their work. Areas of attention that a generative AI use policy may address include:

  • Permissible Use Cases: Clearly outline the specific purposes for which generative AI can be utilized within the organization (e.g., content creation, prototyping, research). Establish boundaries to ensure that the technology is used in ways that align with the company’s values and objectives.
  • Guidelines for Data Usage: Emphasize the importance of using properly sourced and licensed data to avoid copyright infringement and ensure data privacy compliance.
  • Quality Control: Implement mechanisms for validating generative AI outputs. Encourage employees to critically evaluate the accuracy, relevance, and ethical implications of the content produced. Provide training and resources to help employees recognize and address potential biases or errors.
  • Intellectual Property Protection: Clarify ownership rights and responsibilities concerning content produced using generative AI. Specify whether the organization retains ownership of the output or if employees have any rights to the creations they produce.
  • Ethical Guidelines: Articulate ethical principles that govern the use of generative AI, such as honesty, integrity, and respect for diversity. Educate employees about the ethical considerations associated with AI technologies and encourage them to uphold high standards of conduct in their use of these AI tools.
  • Monitoring and Enforcement: Determine how the organization will monitor compliance with policies and address violations. This could involve periodic audits, reporting mechanisms, and consequences for non-compliance. Ensure that employees understand the policy and provide them with avenues for seeking clarification or reporting concerns.

Employees should feel safe in talking about how generative AI might be used in their work to help them and the business be more efficient and effective. In the absence of a generative AI usage policy, employees can feel as though there’s nothing in place to guide or back them up. This fosters environments where employees either avoid these tools altogether or follow their own individual criteria for when they should or shouldn’t be used.

Be Proactive with Policy

Ready or not, generative AI is here. For employers, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to shaping how this transformative technology will affect their businesses. One thing is clear, however. Sitting back and doing nothing regarding generative AI may simultaneously keep your business from realizing significant benefits and improvements and also open it up to significant risks.

Devote the time and energy needed to understand what generative AI is and how it could affect your business from employees to operations to relationships with customers and vendors. Determine what elements are important to include in a generative AI policy that will support your business and employees. The possibilities of generative AI are endless. Embrace them intelligently and put them to work.

Do you need assistance with crafting a generative AI usage policy for your business and setting your employees up for success? Request a Free Consultation with a vcfo people operations expert who can help. We’ve partnered with more than 5,000 businesses in our 28 years and are ready to put our experience to work for you.