Skip to main content
nine to five

I manage the creative department of a content marketing agency. We’re working with a tech company that’s developing an artificial intelligence tool to produce content for our clients, but we need our writers to train the new systems by evaluating the responses that the AI generates. To be entirely honest, this platform might replace the writers’ jobs eventually. How can I get the writers to participate without them feeling alarmed that their jobs are at risk?


Julie Labrie, president, BlueSky Personnel Solutions, Toronto

Put simply: You can’t prevent your writers from recognizing this eventuality. There’s no doubt that they’ll see it, just as you’re seeing it. Instinctively, while you want to soften the blow, attempts to position this work differently will come across as disingenuous and misleading, seeding mistrust.

Your best course of action is to be upfront about this initiative. State the obvious so your team feels seen and heard. Encourage open dialogue and create a safe space for honest communication, which is a leadership best practice. Then discuss the bigger picture together, about how AI will affect the future of their work. Instead of running away and hiding from the change that AI will bring, stimulate conversation about how writers can lean in, adapt and find opportunities that will work for them.

Similar to how staff react when a company loses a significant contract and know that layoffs are coming (although AI’s runway for change is likely longer), be aware that some of your team members may be happy to participate in this project and add it to their career profile, while for others, this may prompt them to start looking for work elsewhere. Accept that this is an unavoidable part of the change management process, reflecting the ebb and flow of business.

Consider how the internet transformed our lives and work. Generative AI will play a similar role – especially in content marketing. We all must ultimately embrace this upcoming disruption and learn how to make it work for us.


Nadini Dukhu, team lead of HR services, MaxPeople, Toronto

In the case of implementing this new AI system, it is complex and the success of your team’s buy-in depends on the current competencies within your company to facilitate these communications.

Prior to any team discussions, prepare yourself for the realities of the AI system. Challenge yourself to know if the system will actually replace employees’ jobs. Current AI products work off of past data and prompts. If your creative content requires new data or perspectives, it may lead to a change in the required skill set to perform the work; however, the jobs themselves may still continue to exist in the future. If jobs are at risk, clarify an approximate timeline for when this eventuality may come into effect.

Once you better understand the actual impact on your team, be transparent and supportive in how you communicate the information to them. The best way to reduce anxiety around the unknown is to address the issue head-on and communicate on a frequent basis. This may look like an all-team meeting where you communicate the intention of the system, highlighting the positive effects it could have and fielding questions that arise after the meeting. Where answers are not possible, indicate so and outline how and when updates will be provided.

The impact of this communication can have detrimental effects on your team’s morale and also on your company’s reputation. If the skill to facilitate this conversation does not exist internally, it is recommended that you connect with an HR team that is versed in communicating changes such as these to develop an action plan.

Have a question for our experts? Send an e-mail to with ‘Nine to Five’ in the subject line. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe