This is the weekly Careers newsletter.
Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.
Last week at a quarterly meeting, the staff at data solutions company Safe Software were assured that they don’t need to worry about artificial intelligence (AI) replacing any of them.
With AI disrupting the way many businesses operate, it’s left workers anxious about the state of their jobs. Tech giant IBM recently told Bloomberg it would put a pause on hiring for 7,800 jobs that the company believes could be replaced by AI.
The co-CEOs and co-founders of B.C.-based Safe Software, Don Murray and Dale Lutz, are choosing to take a human-centric approach to using AI, with the goal of using the technology to help them achieve their goals faster, not replace workers.
They operate using a ‘restaurant model,’ which refers to the idea that when a customer buys products from them, they are also buying the high-level customer service that comes with it.
“Our ‘restaurant model’ is one of our big differentiators and so we’re always doubling down on that,” Mr. Murray said.
Currently, the company is taking a grassroots and top-down approach to integrating AI into their work processes.
Employees are encouraged to do their own experimentation, but the company also has a dedicated training budget for employees to learn AI tools, is in the process of creating guidelines for use and is working with their legal team to ensure they are being compliant with any legal boundaries.
Ultimately, Mr. Lutz and Mr. Murray see AI creating more jobs.
“I actually think there are going to be some areas of the company that are going to grow faster. I think that one implication of using AI is that we will need to hire for certain areas to cope with the fact that we’re getting so much done in other areas,” Mr. Lutz said.
To figure out where they can implement AI into their processes, the two leaders focus on three key questions.
First, ‘what can we do better?’
The company has been looking for ways to tell their story and how they’ve helped their customers. So, they’ve been using AI to transcribe the nearly 4,000 hours of video they have from conversations with clients. Now, they can quickly create client stories or pull quotes to use in marketing materials.
Next, ‘what can we do more efficiently?’
So far, they’ve been using AI to help create tailored pitch decks for prospects.
Last, ‘what can we do now that we could never do before?’
Previously it was not economically feasible for the company to provide support in multiple languages, so now they are starting to use AI to help create accurate translations of conversations.
These advances and changes within the business are just the tipping point.
The company has an upcoming event called ‘innovation week,’ where employees are encouraged to work cross-functionally on anything that interests them.
The two expect many interesting use cases for AI to come out of the week, directly from their employees.
“We see this as a huge opportunity for us as we grow our team, our customers and our enterprise,” Mr. Murray said.
“It’s an exciting time of unbelievable change and I think we’re all still grappling to figure out exactly where this goes,” Mr. Lutz said.
What I’m reading around the web
- If you’re having trouble getting work done during the week, you’re not alone. According to The Wall Street Journal, new research shows workers are spending two full days per week in meetings or answering e-mails. This does not include time spent instant messaging or chatting with coworkers in person.
- When Joan Gallagher and her husband weren’t quite ready to retire, they took on a new challenge – renovating a six-storey building in Spain to turn it into a hotel. In this Guardian article, read about how Joan found liberation and truth through travel, and how her life continues to shift after age 60.
- The Canadian Senate recently passed a bill to implement a grocery rebate. As CTV reports, once the bill receives royal assent, about 11 million people will be eligible to receive the rebate, which will cost around $2.5-billion.
- While some people revel in the solitude of remote work, others suffer and feel lonely. This Harvard Business Review article looks at why people have been feeling lonely even before the pandemic, and how you can deal with these feelings and find more connection at work.
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