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David Landman, on How AI Can Augment the Unique Value Humans Bring to Work

By Sarah Kamp
December 12, 2023
3 minute read

Generative artificial intelligence presents many opportunities for managers and employees to optimize their workflows. And employees aren’t waiting — many of them will use AI at work regardless of whether the organization sanctions or regulates it.

More than half (54%) of employees are already using AI at work, according to a recent Betterworks report. “That obviously presents real risks to an organization,” says David Landman, an  HR technology advisor and former global head of talent development at Goldman Sachs. But when implemented with intention, AI helps organizations augment the unique value humans bring to work, David says.

“It’s pretty incredible how AI can work as a thought partner and as an enhancer of human thought,” David says. That’s why David is joining Betterworks CEO Doug Dennerline for a People Fundamentals webinar session, “Debunking 7 Myths About AI in Performance Management,” where they’ll explain how to apply AI in performance management to help people perform better.

Check out some of David’s advice for integrating AI into your HR and performance processes.

Make small changes to address big problems

The first step to applying AI in HR is finding the right use cases. Performance management is a strong candidate, David says. “We need to start on the small changes that address big problems. And performance reviews are the perfect place to start because people tend to really dislike writing performance reviews,” he says.

One challenge for managers is knowing what to include in employee reviews. AI can quickly access performance data from different sources in much less time than a human. AI can also create a robust starting point for review writing. “That enables them to focus their efforts on refining and adding their own context,” David says. 

Conducting a performance review  “is generally a very onerous process,” David says, “and it’s quite hard for both employees and managers to write thoughtful enough feedback for it to then be helpful.” Managers can experiment with different AI prompts until they can generate an actionable basis for a meaningful employee review.

Help people see AI as an augmenter

Adding AI to your HR and performance processes starts with understanding the technology, but it’s much more than that. “Anytime that you implement a large change or a new capability, just turning on the technology is not nearly enough to make it successful,” David says. You also need to change people’s mindsets and help them recognize AI’s value and ability to improve their workplace experience.

Resistance is a natural part of change. For employees with reservations about applying AI in performance management, explain how it can support human-powered processes. In other words, show employees how AI is a useful tool rather than a threat. Most employees (75%) are OK with GenAI helping write performance reviews — as long as their manager has the final say, our research shows.

“Focus on education and making sure that people understand what AI is there to do — and what it will never replace in terms of human judgment,” David says. “I really think it’s important for us to continue to elevate this idea of AI as an augmenter.”

Personalize performance management with AI

AI tools are a copilot for managers during the performance management process. AI allows managers “to objectively look throughout the year to surface the relevant points. … It’s a really good way to remind people of the things that may not naturally come to their minds as they’re writing feedback,” David says.

AI can help managers by offering “reminders to include behavioral examples, to include suggestions on how that person should change their behavior, reminders of when they use language that could be interpreted as having bias,” David says. “Having that real-time coach next to you as you’re writing is really going to improve the quality of the feedback that people provide.”

The best managers will learn how to develop their coaching skills in tandem with AI’s support, leading to exponentially better manager-employee conversations. “Just as AI can help remind employees of the opportunities that exist that are hyper-personalized to them,” David says, “AI will also be able to remind managers of moments where they should nudge, where they should recognize, where they should connect the dots for any given employee on the opportunities for them to develop — but also let their strengths shine.”

To learn more about applying AI in performance management, register for the webinar.

Debunking 7 Myths About AI in Performance Management