May 14, 2024

Stress, Burnout, and Labor Shortages: How AI in the Workplace is Making Core Business Problems a Thing of the Past

Employee burnout is a hidden cost hemorrhage. A staggering 50% of US workers are stressed, impacting retention and profitability. Organizations worldwide are turning to AI to solve workplace problems and create happier, more productive employees.

4 min read

Meet our Editor-in-chief

Paul Estes

For 20 years, Paul struggled to balance his home life with fast-moving leadership roles at Dell, Amazon, and Microsoft, where he led a team of progressive HR, procurement, and legal trailblazers to launch Microsoft’s Gig Economy freelance program

Gig Economy
  • Nearly half of US employees are stressed, which hurts productivity and causes turnover. 35% of leading companies use AI to address this by streamlining tasks, improving hiring, and reducing stress.

  • AI can solve core problems like repetitive tasks and labor shortages, boosting employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees are 12% more productive.

  • Companies like Cleveland Clinic and Moderna use AI for recruitment, research, and legal tasks, helping reduce burnout and free up employee time for higher-value tasks.

Staff writer

From AI to FinOps, our team's collective brainpower fuels this blog.

Nearly 50% of employees in the USA regularly feel levels of stress that significantly impact their ability to complete tasks in the workplace. 

Labor shortages, low productivity, and high turnover rates only exacerbate employee burnout, with the global workforce demanding a change. Over recent years, organizations have increasingly turned to technological innovations to create better working conditions and improve employee experiences. 

Around the globe, business leaders are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) tools to remedy these problems. By using AI in the workplace, as 35% of leading organizations do already, companies can recruit new employees more effectively, enhance worker productivity, decrease stress in the workplace, and reduce turnover.

Source: Global AI adoption index for various countries around the globe. Deployed AI in the workplace vs. exploring AI.

How Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace is Driving Employee Experience

Jason Averbook, Senior Partner and Global Leader of Digital HR Strategy at Mercer sees AI as a turning point in the development of the modern workplace: “Generative AI is going to be the biggest game changer ever from an employee experience standpoint.”

The main factors that influence the employee experience are almost all related to a worker's job. The time it takes to complete tasks, the complexity of tasks, how interesting a task is, or how repetitive something feels all influence satisfaction rates.

Artificial intelligence in the workplace is directly contributing to rising rates of job satisfaction by aiding in solving these core problems in the workplace:

  • Staff Shortages: AI tools can streamline the process of hiring new employees. HR teams can leverage AI to hire new staff faster, solve labor shortages, and ensure no employee feels overworked.
  • Laborious Tasks: AI in the workplace can automate previously time-consuming tasks for employees. This enhances satisfaction, as employees don’t have to finish boring tasks, and it also ensures they spend their time on higher-value activities.
  • Low Productivity Rates: AI platforms can help streamline core business tasks for employees. Employees can use AI tools to enhance their productivity rates and complete tasks more efficiently. 

Employee satisfaction is deeply tied to a company's overall profit. According to the University of Warwick in the UK, happier employees are 12% more productive, contributing to faster project delivery and higher business profits.

AI in the Workplace: How Cleveland Clinic Solves Labor Shortages

The Cleveland Clinic is one of the USA's largest teaching, non-profit hospitals. Stretching over nearly 170 acres, the hospital constantly hires medical professionals, administrators, and assistants to help manage the millions of patients that visit every year. The hospital has 48,000 active employees but still faces a massive labor shortage.

When hospitals have labor shortages, the quality of patient care and the speed with which administrators can process documents greatly fall. These challenges also contribute to lower employee satisfaction rates, as employees are overworked on their shifts.

To solve these problems and enhance employee satisfaction, the Cleveland Clinic HR team is leveraging artificial intelligence recruiting tools. The Talent Sourcing team adopted AI technology to create personalized recruitment messages, enhancing click-through rates to entice more people to apply. 

Commenting on the use of AI tools in the HR workplace, Christine Hampton, Cleveland Clinic’s Director of Talent Sourcing, states:

“AI-powered recruitment is not a pad. It is going to transform the way those of us in healthcare find and hire talent.”

One of the main problems causing Cleveland Clinic’s labor shortages was that current HR staff couldn’t process offer letters fast enough. In 23% of cases, a potential hire received a different offer first and accepted this. Integrating AI tools into talent sourcing and recruitment eliminated this figure, allowing HR employees to generate offer letters instantly.

As Cleveland Clinic solves its labor shortage with AI, employees are less overworked, and satisfaction rates have risen. 

Streamlining Labourious Legal Documentation Review in Lawfirms: Latham & Watkins Systems

In 2017, Latham & Watkins, the second-most profitable law firm in the world, found that its lawyers spent hours meticulously reviewing contracts and analyzing their contents. While these tasks were mandatory, spending so much on them took away more time and meant that high-value tasks like client interactions were often less effective.

By utilizing AI in the workplace, L&W deployed a model that would scan through contracts for Lawyers, creating highly accurate legal briefs. Lawyers could then pull the necessary information from these briefs, saving time while delivering the same final product.

After integrating AI tools into their legal firm, lawyers could suddenly spend less time on tedious and monotonous contract reviews and more on high-value tasks like client communications. The developer of the AI model that L&W uses reports that they reduced contract review time by 60%.

This 60% time saving relates to a huge potential profit increase, as lawyers can concentrate on more pressing tasks. Supported by AI in the workplace, L&W lawyers have spent more time on learning and development opportunities in recent years, enhancing their skills and ultimately converting themselves into higher-value resources for the law firm.

After initial testing with the software, the results have led the firm to continue using the platform, integrating it into as many use cases as possible. Speaking at an NYU Law panel on AI in the workplace, Ghaith Mahmood, Global Vice Chair of L&H’s Data and Technology division, shows that AI in the firm is here to stay:

“There’s probably going to be a very real time when we’re going to evaluate associates not just based on their ability to just critically think, but on their ability to tap into the tools that are at their disposal at the right time.”

Both L&H and its employees have benefitted enormously from using AI in the workplace, with results spanning from profit and productivity increases to boosted job satisfaction. 

Improving Low Productivity Rates in Over 750 Areas at Moderna

In late April 2024, the healthcare giant Moderna announced a partnership with OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT. 

Through this partnership, 3000 Moderna employees were given access to ChatGPT enterprise, which runs the latest model, ChatGPT 4. Commenting on the objectives of this partnership, Sam Altman stated:

“Eventually, AI will be able to do more and more science. But the best way to get there is to enhance the productivity of people and accelerate what they can do.”

Employees have access to over 750 unique versions of ChatGPT, called GPTs. Each GPT has a specific business function, like rapidly drafting responses to regulatory inquiries or determining the correct dose of medicine in a clinical train.

These functions accelerate processes that once took weeks into mere moments, vastly enhancing the productivity of Moderna workers. As OpenAI continues to develop different GPTs for Moderna, the company will reach new levels of productivity, enhancing every possible area of the business. 

On average, every employee used ChatGPT Enterprise at least 120 times a week, demonstrating how AI has become integral to the Moderna workflow.

The Bright Future of AI in the Workplace

Artificial intelligence in the workplace is here to stay, from HR teams to retail assistants and more. Organizations that have implemented AI in the workplace have found new heights of productivity, enhanced worker productivity, boosted job satisfaction, and automated task completion, leading to less burnout.

As more businesses begin to understand the power of incorporating AI into their operational processes, we’ll see a new wave of human-machine-powered working spread across the globe. Workers collaborating with AI tools can achieve a new level of efficiency. 

With new advances in AI occurring every day, the future is bright for AI-first workplaces.

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