September 13, 2023

How To Create An AI Policy For Your Organization

When ChatGPT sprouted up last year, many of us were surprised, caught up in this sudden burst of technological advancement. Most of us are now captivated — and worried. Since then, Google has released Bard, another text-based generative AI tool. This technology is not slowing down.

Though some safeguards are being put in place, there’s no definitive way to tell where this technology will go, how quickly it will advance, or what its effects will be on work and productivity (or, you know, the human race). Given all that, the question is not whether you should create an AI policy for your organization but how you should do it in a way that protects and preserves the integrity of your organization’s intellectual assets.

What is AI? And what do IT leaders think about it?

Techopedia defines artificial intelligence (AI) or machine intelligence as “a branch of computer science that focuses on building and managing technology that can learn to autonomously make decisions and carry out actions on behalf of a human being.”

In a widely cited survey of more than 500 senior IT leaders, respondents indicated that they’re equally intrigued by and wary of the technology.

For instance, 57% of respondents said they “believe generative AI is a ‘game changer.’ They believe the technology has the potential to help them better serve their customers, take advantage of data, and operate more efficiently. This outlook is echoed even among the skeptics — 80% of those who say the technology is ‘over-hyped’ agree that generative AI will help them better serve their customers.”

But the results of the survey also state that “a majority of the 515 IT leaders surveyed are skeptical about the ethical implications of generative AI. Almost six in 10 (59%) believe generative AI outputs are inaccurate and almost two-thirds (63%) agree there is bias in generative AI outputs (e.g. misinformation and hate speech).”

You need to create an AI policy for your organization. Here’s why.

Artificial intelligence may be cool but it’s not all-knowing. Chatbots, the type of technology generally covered in organizational AI policies right now, function by scouring the internet in order to come up with the best response to a prompt. Because it’s simply compiling and organizing loads of data, the technology can be (sometimes wildly) inaccurate. Chatbots also don’t use the most recent data; they use information only from 2021 and earlier, making it even less reliable.

Chatbots are also susceptible to the frequency with which certain topics are covered in its pool of data; it’s likely to reference the most popular viewpoint simply because that’s what’s written about most frequently. Using AI to conduct research could therefore, by its very nature, skew your results.  

There’s also the reality that AI is created and coded by humans. A coder’s bias will always be present in the program. When we use AI, we’re seeing through someone else’s moral lens.

Despite all of this, AI will play a role in your organization’s future work process and flow. And for good reason. AI can be a great thought partner. It can speed up the initial phases of a task, whether an employee is brainstorming ideas or looking to outline a report.

Ignoring this technology will only harm your organization. It’s best to assess the risks and begin the process of controlling its use in a way that makes sense for the work you do and the assets you produce.

How should your organization approach the development of an AI policy?

To leverage AI for its many positives while avoiding dangerous use, first gather a team of leaders from across your organization to create an overarching policy. To get a complete picture of how AI might be applied across your organization, this CIO article recommends including representatives from “HR, legal, sales, marketing, business development, operations, and IT.” 

Begin by asking team members to articulate the acceptable and unacceptable uses for AI in the context of their departments and across your organization. Then decide on your limits and tolerance for risk.

Consider whether and how people should be able to use the technology, including its potential role in brainstorming, research, document drafting, email drafts and responses, marketing language, and so on.
 

Then start considering specific questions about generative AI use. Will you allow employees to use the organization’s email addresses to open a ChatGPT account? Will your organization condone its use as a thought partner? How about incorporating a certain amount of verbatim language into final deliverables?

What elements should you include in your organization’s AI policy?

Once you’ve determined your risk framework, it’s time to put your policy together. Here are the sections to include:

Purpose

Clearly state the purpose of your policy. Consider framing it as attorney Janice Agresti did in this SHRM article. “Agresti said that ultimately, generative AI should only be used to enhance human performance, not replace it. ‘If used, it should be used as a tool to assist in a user’s work, and not as a substitute for the user’s own creativity, good judgment or expertise,’ she said.”

Capabilities 

Acknowledge the current scope of the policy as well as the changing nature of AI technology. Review the most recent understanding of generative AI’s capabilities and acknowledge that it’s a rapidly changing tool. Consider stating how often you intend to refresh your policy to reflect AI advancements.

Eligibility

Name the people to whom the policy applies, whether it’s for all employees, employees at a certain level, or a subset of people at your organization.

Policy

List the details. Consider whether your policy will be restricted, limited, or open use. 

Give special consideration to:

  • How employees are expected to interact or not interact with generative AI through the use of company information, data,  communications accounts, and the like. In the SHRM article, one consulting firm “advised that all employees who use ChatGPT should be instructed to treat the information they post [in their prompts] as if they were posting it on a public site (e.g., a social networking site or a public blog).”

  • Acceptable versus unacceptable uses. List them clearly while leaving room for nuance. For instance, an expert in the field will more readily be able to fact-check the results of a chatbot search than a rank-and-file employee. In that case, a stepped approach to AI use may be helpful.

  • The role of leadership in the use of AI. Do employees need permission to use the tool? If so, how do they acquire it? Are leaders expected to monitor employee AI use? If so, what tools or training will they be given to help them fill this role?

  • What kind of data is or is not allowed in finished work products.

Training

State your training requirements. Are all employees or a specific group of employees required to receive training in AI use? If so, how will they engage in that training? 

Ethical Use

Tie your AI policy to existing organizational policies. Explain how your AI policy acts in tandem with other policies, such as anti-discrimination and technology/computer use policies.

Monitoring and Leadership

Identify the person or department in charge of overseeing AI use. Be sure to include contact information so employees can find the person in charge to ask questions or troubleshoot problems. 

Hope Youngs

Client executive and chief needle threader

Education and Certifications
Master’s in Business Administration; Business Architect certification; ScrumMaster certification.

 

Function and Specialization
​Hope is the Client Executive at FirstRule Group. She specializes in helping companies execute on strategic objectives and loves getting things done with a rousing “heck yes!”

 

About Hope

​When not working, you can find Hope sharing family time with her daughters, hiking in the mountains, or feeling the wind on her face sailing.

Jarius Rice

Jairus Rice

Consultant and Partnership Builder

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Master’s in Public Administration; Bachelor’s in Political Science; Prosci Change Management Professional; LEAN Six Sigma Green Belt

 

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Jairus is an executive leader specializing in designing and shepherding organizational change and process improvement strategies. He helps clients develop strong partnerships to achieve strategic goals, maximize performance, and increase value to their customers.

 

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Jairus is a combat veteran who served five years in the United States Marine Corps. When he and his wife Jessica aren’t coaching their three kids’ sports teams, they enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. 

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Partner and Diplomatic Hostess

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Project Management Professional certification

 

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Shelley has more than 25 years of senior program leadership experience. She specializes in leading teams and optimizing high-risk, high-visibility projects.

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Shelley enjoys cooking, remodeling projects, and spending time with family and friends. 

Stacy Steck

Stacy Steck

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Master’s in Business Administration; Project Management Professional certification

 

Function and Specialization
Stacy is an expert in planning and executing transformational technology projects. She specializes in communication, facilitation, and getting things done. 

 

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Joanna Briese

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About Joanna
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Nissa Burger

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20 years in elections managing statewide software implementations

 

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Nissa is a seasoned project manager who specializes in all facets of software development.

 

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Trish Coloma

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About Trish
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Heather is a senior consultant who specializes in managing complex IT projects and quality assurance. She is passionate about building successful teams and achieving positive outcomes for clients.

 

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Masters of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology 

 

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About Lindsay
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Function and Specialization
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About Jessica
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About Lori
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Master’s in Business Administration; Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in finance

 

Function and Specialization
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About Duncan
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Ben Robinson

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Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance

 

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Associate’s degree in Computer Science; Black Belt Candidate; Microsoft Product Specialist 

 

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About Laura
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Consultant and Tenacious Observer

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Stephanie Telander

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Project Management Professional certification; Prosci Change Management Professional certification; IT Service Management (ITIL) and International Standards Organization (ISO/20000) certifications

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Chi Underwood

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Master’s in Business Administration; Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Finance; LEAN Six Sigma Black Belt 

 

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About Chi
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About Susan

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Doctorate in Business Administration; Project Management Professional certification; ScrumMaster certification

 

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About Shawn

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​Lindsey enjoys spending time with her wonderful family and two dogs, as well as expanding her skills through gardening, pottery classes, and other creative pursuits.​ 

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Consultant and Alchemist-in-residence

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​Masters in Business Administration 

 

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Steve is a distinguished consultant with experience in human services delivery, financing, policy development, and executive leadership in the government and non-profit sectors. He specializes in “How did he do that?” problem solving outcomes. 

 

About 

In addition to his standing as a top-ranked volleyball dad, Steve is known for his commitment to his fellow veterans, especially as an advocate for expanded veteran housing options. He is a member of the Orlando Housing Authority board of commissioners and the managing board of the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida.

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Wendy LD Helling

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Master’s in Business Administration

 

Function and Specialization
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About Wendy
Wendy loves traveling and hanging out in warm climates.