ChatGPT Invades the Workplace

Nearly half of professionals are already using the new AI tool for daily work tasks, a new Korn Ferry survey shows. But leaders are still figuring out how to govern its use.

Leaders are still figuring out how to use ChatGPT in their businesses. But their employees appear to have adopted it on a scale rarely seen for a new technology. 

A new Korn Ferry survey on the use of ChatGPT in the workplace leaves no doubt that the artificial-intelligence platform—only months old—has captured the business world’s attention. According to the survey, which polled professionals across industries, 46% are already using ChatGPT to complete work tasks. More telling, upwards of 80% say ChatGPT is a “legitimate, beneficial work tool” that will be a regular part of their workday in the future.

Rather than a top-down, managed effort by firms, the adoption of ChatGPT by employees appears to be a “grassroots productivity effort,” says Esther Colwill, president of the Global Technology, Communications, and Professional Services practice at Korn Ferry. “They’re figuring out ways to make generative AI work for them.”

For some leaders, though, all of this is cause for concern. Already, firms in finance and other sectors have placed limits on the use of ChatGPT, in part because the tool may share privacy data it receives. Plus, ChatGPT—by its own admission—can give wrong answers or cite misleading or biased research. Colwill says she understands why leaders could be rattled by the unprecedented pace of its adoption. “It’s a challenge for leaders, because they can’t control it in the way traditional corporate controls work,” she says.

First launched just last December, ChatGPT offers business applications that are “mind-boggling,” says Jamen Graves, global co-leader of the CEO and Enterprise Leadership Development practice at Korn Ferry. On the most basic level, professionals can leverage it to automate simple tasks like writing and updating code, respond to basic customer-service requests, summarize lengthy texts like legal precedents, and create templates for job descriptions or press releases. 

But with other tech giants developing similar technology, experts say the uses of this kind of platform can go far beyond that. On Wall Street, for instance, stock traders and asset managers are already using ChatGPT to analyze stock-market trends and company data in order to predict share-price performance more accurately. Sales teams are using it to find patterns in customer feedback and recommend next steps. With ChatGPT, operations teams can better assess risks, while content writers can come up with clever phrases and taglines more quickly. “In the future, this kind of AI can be used to build strategic scenarios that can change a company’s trajectory,” says Graves. 

Colwill says leaders would be best served by focusing on checks and balances and quality control related to ChatGPT’s output, instead of trying to monitor and manage what employees are putting into it. “The best chance of managing risks related to ChatGPT is to educate employees,” she says. 


For more information, contact Korn Ferry’s Technology practice.