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AI and Machine Learning

Return on employee, fueled by generative AI

June 13, 2024
John MacDonald

Director, Productivity and Collaboration Practice, Google Workspace

In my own experience of supporting customers as they adopt Gemini for Google Workspace, I’ve seen it help businesses of all sizes achieve a higher return on employee (ROE) — Gartner’s idea that “Gen AI will have a fundamental impact on improving employee efficacy.” When employees spend less time looking for information, achieve faster time to efficiency in a new role or project, and communicate more effectively, they’re freed up to spend more time on higher-value tasks and to try new approaches to everyday business problems. In short, they have time to innovate.

Gemini can also improve the employee experience — whether it’s by fueling more meaningful meetings, boosting collaboration and inclusion, or shortening the ramp-up on new projects. It removes some of the friction from the workday. Sometimes, getting started is 80% of the battle and Gemini can help employees at every level overcome that “blank page feeling.”

In short, Gemini for Google Workspace can offer an advantage to every employee — and collectively to a business — as it helps improve the proficiency, productivity, and measurable value of a workforce. Below are the four ways I help customers think about ROE, fueled by generative AI.

1. Identify where Gemini can generate a higher ROE

I recommend that businesses integrate Gemini into the teams where it can have the largest positive impact, starting with marketing, customer service, and sales. In all these areas, employees need to quickly and effectively access information, create content at scale, and communicate seamlessly and often with others.

For example, customer service teams can use Gemini for Workspace to organize and summarize customer inquiries, provide answers to chatbot-fielded FAQs, draft responses to customer queries and complaints, and check for grammar and accuracy. This can improve customer service and increase client retention. Similarly, marketing teams can use Gemini to quickly draft new blog posts, social posts, and email campaigns, or it can help them land an important message with new audiences. 

A powerful example of a company experiencing this boost in productivity is inclusive intimate apparel company Adore Me, which uses “Help me write” to create its content in a fraction of the time. The Adore Me copywriters used to spend 30-40 hours per month writing descriptions for new product releases. Gemini cuts that time down to about four hours. "[Gemini] undoubtedly helps Adore Me's bottom line,” says Ranjan Roy, Adore Me VP of Strategy. “It saves us time. It saves us money. It makes people work faster, more efficiently, more collaboratively … [we can] just do things that, in the past, we never would have been able to do."

Shezan Kazi, Head of AI Strategy for Randstad, a global staffing agency, also notes the impact that generative AI can have on employee wellbeing: “[with AI] we are focusing on the user experience and we’ve seen things like a reduction in sick leaves. This is something we didn’t have in mind at first, but this of course translates directly to employee performance. We take mental health quite seriously, but we didn’t expect generative AI to actually have an impact on it.”

2. Accessing and interpreting information faster frees up time for innovation

People across all kinds of teams — from finance to the frontline — can use Gemini to quickly access and interpret the data they need to stay up to date on industry trends, provide excellent customer service, and generate new business. Employees can summarize research reports and identify key takeaways in seconds, or collect and share important customer data as needed.

Sales reps can quickly bring together the information they need to customize a client presentation by importing relevant data from Docs, Sheets, and email messages. As sales reps become more responsive, articulate, and helpful, they can elevate the quality of their client service and thereby increase sales momentum.

And when employees find information and generate insights faster, they also have more time for ideation and innovation. “We've seen a lot of our employees be more innovative,” says Ashley Hatter, Trellix’s senior director of enterprise technology. ”They're taking what they were doing before and finding better ways to do it faster with Workspace.” I’ve heard similar things from many customers — that getting to information and insight in less time, creates more time for big thinking and new approaches. 

3. Improving collaboration and inclusion

Gemini can help any organization create an inclusive, collaborative work environment, especially for globally distributed teams. Pepperdine University uses the captioning feature within Google Meet to provide real-time translations, enabling better meetings and more learning opportunities. Jonathan See, Pepperdine University’s CIO, considers this “a huge game changer in extending equity and accessibility, especially for those with language barriers.”

Employees can use Gemini itself as a collaborative thought partner. For example, an executive is charged with planning a leadership offsite but is unsure how to get started. Gemini can draft a schedule for the event along with suggested goals, deliverables, and post-event follow-up tasks, thereby kick-starting the planning process. In Sheets, you can choose from all sorts of pre-built tables — from project management to event planning.

Employees can also find new ways to deepen collaboration when they combine Gemini with other workspace tools, like Building Blocks in Google Docs. Let’s say you need to collaborate on the draft of an email for a customer dinner with your team before you hit send.

From a new Doc, you can simply type “@email” to drop in an email template. From there, you can use Help me write to generate an email draft, then bring your teammates into review using Share, and refine as a team before clicking the Gmail symbol to send.

Collaborate in real time using "Help me write" in Google Docs to craft an email before sending it out.

4. Understanding what success looks like

Businesses have reported a range of benefits after adopting Gen AI, including increased operational efficiency (66%), improved customer experience (57%), accelerated innovation (49%), and improved employee productivity (48%).*

According to a recent Forrester report, Google Workspace, along with its AI features, can:

  • Improve collaboration by 30%

  • Increase the speed of searching and finding information by 40%

  • Decrease application development time by up to 80%

Gemini can also help reduce “productivity taxes,” the time and energy your employees spend on draining tasks. When people spend too much time on unskilled work, it can lower skill levels over time and diminish the employee experience.

As businesses start integrating Gemini into their workflows, I recommend that they do some before-and after measurements: measure how long it takes for customer service to send emails, or for sales to create pitch decks, and then measure the impact after Gemini has been in place for three months. Those metrics can become the key to taking a pilot project to broader adoption throughout your organization. 

To get at the more subjective side of the Return on Employee, you might also poll employees after a few months of using Gemini about their experiences in meetings, finding the information they need to succeed in their jobs, and whether they’ve found more time for higher-value and more strategic work. When generative AI is working at its best, employees can spend less time looking for information, or switching between tools and tabs, and more time in a state of flow, whether that’s engaging with customers or thinking about their next big idea.

Learn more about Gemini for Google Workspace, or check out Three new resources to get started with generative AI.

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