New study reveals 64% of employees trust robots more than managers


The employees have more trust in robots than their managers, according to a study “AI at Work,” conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace among 8,370 employees, managers, and HR leaders across ten countries. Future Workplace is a research firm preparing leaders for disruptions in recruiting, development, and employee engagement.

The study shows that AI has changed the relationship between people and technology in the workplace, reshaping, and shifting the traditional role of human resources teams and managers in attracting, retaining, and developing talent.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • 64% of workers trust robots more than managers, while half turned to robots instead of their manager for advice.
  • Employees in India (89%) and China (88%) are more trusting of robots over their managers, followed by Singapore (83%), Brazil (78%), Japan (76%), UAE (74%), Australia/New Zealand (58%), US (57%), UK (54%) and France (56%).
  • More male workers (56%) than female workers (44%) have turned to AI over their managers.
  • 82% of employees think robots can do things better than their managers.
  • When asked what robots do better than their managers, survey respondents suggested that robots are better at giving unbiased information (26%), maintaining work schedules (34%), problem-solving (29%), and managing a budget (26%).
  • When further asked what managers need to do better than robots, workers pointed three main areas: understanding their feelings (45%), coaching them (33%), and creating a better work culture (29%).

AI redefines people-technology relationships at the workplace

Contrary to common fears over the impact of AI on jobs, HR leaders and managers across the globe witnessed increased adoption of AI at the workplace, and more and more people are welcoming AI with great optimism.

  • AI is becoming more prominent, with 50% of employees currently using AI in some form at work, compared to only 32% last year. Workers in China (77%) and India (78%) have adopted AI over 2X more than those in France (32%) and Japan (29%).
  • The majority (65%) of workers are optimistic, excited, and grateful about having robot co-workers and nearly a quarter report having a loving and gratifying relationship with AI at work.
  • Workers in India (60%) and China (56%) are the most excited about AI, followed by the UAE (44%), Singapore (41%), Brazil (32%), Australia/New Zealand (26%), Japan (25%), US (22%), UK (20%) and France (8%).
  • Male workers have a more optimistic view of AI at work than female workers, with 32% of men being positive than 23% of women.

“The new advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are entering the mainstream rapidly, resulting in a massive change in how people around the world communicate with technology and their teams. As this study shows, there is a redefinition of the relationship between humans and machines at work, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to handle this transition effectively. Alternatively, companies need to collaborate with their HR department to tailor the approach to integrating AI at work to fulfill their employees ‘ raising standards around the world,” said Emily He, SVP, Human Capital Management Cloud Business Group, Oracle.

Organizations need AI to stay competitive

The impact of AI at the workplace is only just beginning. For organizations to take advantage of the latest advancements in AI, they need to focus on implement AI at the workplace or risk being left behind.

  • 76% of workers (and 81% of HR leaders) find it challenging to keep up with the pace of technological changes in the workplace.
  • Workers want a simplified experience with AI at work, asking for a better user interface (34%), best practice training (30%), and an experience that is personalized to their behavior (30%).
  • Security (31%) and privacy (30%) are the main concerns preventing workers from using AI at work.
  • Digital natives Gen Z (43%) and Millennials (45%) are more concerned about privacy and security at work than Gen X (29%) and Baby Boomers (23%).

“We have found over the past two years that workers have become more optimistic as they have taken AI in the workplace, and HR is leading the way. The 2019 study shows that AI redefines not only the worker-manager relationship but also a manager’s role in an AI-driven workplace. Managers can stay relevant in the future based on the findings when they concentrate on being individual and using their soft skills while leaving machines with the technical skills and repetitive activities,” said Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace.

Learn more about this global study here.