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How to Prepare Your Team for Change: Overcoming Barriers to AI Implementation and Adoption 

Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or other innovative technologies remains at the top of many CIOs’ priority lists, as these modern technologies allow for advancements in multiple business sectors such as IT, talent and recruiting, marketing, and more. However, along with many other strategic initiatives, making sure your employees are on board and ready for adoption is a major part of the equation. In this piece, we discuss how you can prepare your team for change and outline a few key strategies for overcoming barriers to AI implementation and adoption. 

Overcoming Barriers to AI Implementation and Adoption 

Oftentimes, as with any technology, a lack or misuse of information can create barriers to successful implementation and adoption. Employees often fear the possibility of downsizing, being left behind, and/or not understanding how technology will be used. These issues can be mitigated through certain methods that will successfully inform your employees about the future of AI in your organization.  

To help alleviate these concerns, here are some tips that will help build trust and make your transformation a success: 

  1. Find a practical solution: Address a well-known issue, that often requires significant manual effort, to promote the perception of AI/ML as a tool and asset rather than a rival. 
  2. Be transparent: Ensure users understand the inner workings of AI/ML and their capabilities, emphasizing transparency along the way. Develop user training programs, enabling them to tweak algorithms and help understand the outcomes of the technology fully. 
  3. Further enable existing skillsets: Find methods to empower your teams to improve their job performance. Leveraging existing talent and skills upskills employees and the organization entirely. 

Establishing an AI/ML Implementation Roadmap for Success 

Below we outline a few considerations for a successful AI/ML implementation when it comes to ensuring employee engagement and successful user adoption. 


Demonstrating the efficiency and practicality of AI and ML is one way to show your organization that implementing modern technology is beneficial. Without the help of AI, employees can be tasked with tedious labor, such as surfing through thousands of pieces of data or other mundane “red tape” types of labor. A recent study showed that 81% of employees feel AI improves their job performance, and these tools can improve worker productivity by as much as 14%. For organizations, it’s important to find ways to help employees with technical and time-consuming tasks, making it easier for them to spend more time focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving, and other high-level activities.  


Often, resistance to change comes from a fear of the unknown or misinformation in general. If employees understand how AI and ML will be used in their position and familiarize themselves with these new platforms, they may not feel as overwhelming or daunting to face. As such, educate employees on the algorithms AI and ML are using so employees feel comfortable and confident that the software is performing correctly and efficiently. Also, delegate an employee or provide a method for users to set parameters on the new software so your employees are, or feel, in control. Additionally, showing employees their success and increased productivity is a wonderful way for them to embrace this modern technology. Leading by example can help facilitate comfort in a potentially uncomfortable time.  


A big implication of adopting AI is the fear that automated technologies will make positions obsolete. Showing employees that AI can improve their job instead of replacing it is key in facilitating positive change management. In our recommendation, one of the greatest benefits of AI and ML will be to augment roles in order to improve the skillset of your current organization. For example, for sales and marketing teams, AI can help generate potential leads and clients as it can sift through loads of data and produce potential prospects. AI can enable your teams to perform better, and as a manager, demonstrating the value of this can help to gain the trust and buy-in of your employees. As such, allow your teams to see “what-if” analyses. Doing so can help employees visualize the practicality of AI and ML and how it will impact day-to-day operations, not just question the theoretical outcome.   

Looking Ahead 

Are you looking to embark on an implementation of a new AI or ML technology? Reach out to Clarkston for ways to help ensure that your organization’s change management is a success and that your implementation achieves the greatest possible benefit.  

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Contributions from Leah Harding

Tags: Artificial Intelligence