The world of work is evolving rapidly, and at the forefront of this transformation is the integration of AI.
In this episode, host David Rice is joined by Amanda Halle—HR Consultant, Founder & CEO of Mindful Growth Partners—to talk about how generative AI is reshaping the corporate landscape, particularly for women and underrepresented groups.
- Meet the Expert: Amanda Halle [00:41]
- Amanda has over 15 years of experience in HR and has worked with companies like Google and Jane Technologies.
- She founded Mindful Growth Partners in 2021 to help individuals, teams, and organizations adapt to constant change.
- Amanda’s background includes finance, data, technology, and HR technology.
- She’s fascinated by AI’s potential to automate and enhance productivity.
- Amanda started the Unraveling AI newsletter to educate and empower underrepresented groups, particularly women, in using AI and Generative AI.
- The newsletter spotlights individuals using AI in their daily lives to make it more relatable and accessible.
- Trust and AI: A Growing Relationship [04:23]
- Amanda believes trust in AI is built through open conversations, learning together, and having an open mind.
- Trust in AI is still in early stages, but as it becomes more mainstream and accessible, trust will likely grow.
Trust comes from the ability to engage in open conversations, learn together, and maintain curiosity and an open mind.Amanda Halle
- AI in the Workplace: Realistic Applications [05:56]
- Amanda mentions Microsoft’s co-pilot product, focusing on tasks that can be automated and large data processing.
- She identifies two main areas for AI application: summarizing/synthesizing information and generating content.
- Examples include summarizing articles, synthesizing HR data, and automating talent acquisition tasks like scheduling and matching.
- AI saves time and improves efficiency in tasks such as analysis, theme extraction, and content generation.
- Adapting to AI: A Guide for Leaders [09:16]
- Amanda emphasizes the importance of a thoughtful approach to AI integration.
- She suggests starting with a human-centered approach to identify challenges and understand AI as a tool, not the solution.
- Amanda recommends analyzing roles and responsibilities using frameworks like the automation potential vs. human touch 2×2.
- Leaders should train employees for automated tasks and consider whether AI aids productivity or creates divisions within the organization.
- AI and Emotions: Changing How We Feel About Work [11:14]
- Amanda believes AI will indeed change both how we work and how we feel about work.
- She emphasizes that engagement at work is tied to various factors like clarity of roles, autonomy, meaning, progress, and social connections.
- Amanda hopes AI will provide more opportunities for engagement by allowing more time for meaningful tasks and facilitating social inclusion.
- AI Policy and Regulation: A Challenge for Employers [13:18]
- Amanda advises employers to consider three pathways: education, experimentation, and establishing guardrails.
- Education involves understanding AI and its variants like Generative AI and machine learning.
- Experimentation entails encouraging teams to explore AI tools and document their findings.
- Establishing guardrails requires developing principles aligned with business challenges to create comfort and alignment within the organization regarding AI usage.
- AI in Personal Life [15:59]
- Amanda enjoys hearing about people using AI to create more time for family and personal interests.
- She finds it heartwarming when families use AI together, like having ChatGPT tell bedtime stories or creating coloring book pages.
- Amanda emphasizes the importance of closing the gender gap in AI usage and believes AI can empower women beyond the workplace, encouraging more women to experiment and use AI technologies.
I love hearing about people using AI more in their personal lives to create additional time for their families and pursue activities they care about and love.Amanda Halle
Meet Our Guest
Amanda Halle has built, operated, consulted, and advised over 50 diverse companies from startups to multinational corporations. Her strategic insights and hands-on approach have helped these organizations navigate the ever-evolving and complex HR landscape and unlock their full potential.
From developing comprehensive performance management systems to leading recruitment efforts, implementing job leveling and career pathing initiatives, and driving impactful manager development programs, Amanda’s multifaceted skill set has brought measurable improvements to organizations at every stage of their growth.
Amanda is deeply committed to enabling individuals and teams while fostering results-oriented cultures.
AI is not the solution; it’s a tool.Amanda Halle
- Join the People Managing People community forum
- Subscribe to the newsletter to get our latest articles and podcasts
- Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn
- Check out Mindful Growth Partners and Unraveling AI newsletter
Related articles and podcasts:
Read The Transcript:
We’re trying out transcribing our podcasts using a software program. Please forgive any typos as the bot isn’t correct 100% of the time.
David Rice: AI is on everyone's mind as we head into 2024. Seemingly, every worker in the knowledge economy is experimenting with how this groundbreaking technology can change their workflow, create space for them to try new things and eliminate mundane tasks from their plates. So how are people feeling about this shift and what do leaders need to do next as AI becomes an increasingly important part of how we work?
Welcome to the People Managing People Podcast. We're on a mission to build a better world of work and help you create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces. I'm your host, David Rice.
My guest today is Amanda Halle. She is an HR consultant and founder and CEO of Mindful Growth Partners. We're going to be talking about one of her newest projects, a weekly newsletter called Unraveling AI and what she sees unfolding around this new revolutionary technology in the workplace.
Amanda, thanks for joining us today.
Amanda Halle: Yeah. Excited to be here. Lots to talk about.
David Rice: Let's talk a little bit about yourself. Tell us a little bit about your background and then what led you to creating the Unraveling AI newsletter.
Amanda Halle: I've been in and around the HR people space for the past 15 plus years. I've also been saying 15 years for a few years now.
So it's probably like 17, 18 years now, but I've really been building, operating, consulting, advising a range of companies, including Google and Jane Technologies, LifeLabs Learning. In 2021, I founded Mindful Growth Partners, which is a people consultancy with really a mission to transform individuals, teams and organizations into future ready systems that can really thrive amidst constant change.
I spent a few years working for a leadership consulting practice focused on change management and just think it's super relevant right now. One of the key threads that's woven through and of my education and experience is numbers. I was a finance major and data and technology. I had a stint working for an HR technology company and strategy and product partnerships.
And I think that this is all of these things, the numbers, the data, the tech, it's really the underpinnings of AI. And so I've just really always been fascinated by technology and AI, really having ways to automate and make us more efficient and productive. And so when Generative AI had its big entrance last year, about a year ago today, I jumped on it and started learning and started to really just open source my learning and share it with folks.
And that has just snowballed into the education and this latest project, the newsletter Unraveling AI. The goal of the newsletter really is to, primarily, it's focused on women and those that are underrepresented in tech, getting those folks more aware and more comfortable using AI and Generative AI specifically.
And so it really focuses on spotlighting one person each week and how they use AI over a 24 hour period to really humanize it and make it accessible. And so that really has been the goal for me with the newsletter.
David Rice: Yeah, I've read a little bit of it. So it's fascinating to see people like what they're learning in real time, and figuring out as they go. I'm curious, what are some of the things that you're finding in the newsletter that maybe surprised you?
Amanda Halle: I've been surprised at how important, and maybe I shouldn't be, but how important the human element is above all else. And it's this, the initial push that has, to start using AI and Generative AI tools almost always comes from a trusted person, someone who recommends and encourages them to use these tools.
It all comes back to really humans and we are the ones that are going to make this a comfortable and safe space to experiment and practice and try. And so I think that that's been the biggest thing for me is realizing that that human element that the newsletter, I hope, gives people that kind of spark to go out there and try things.
David Rice: Yeah, you mentioned something interesting there because like people's comfort level, and I saw this thing, I think it was a couple of weeks ago saying that only half of employees feel like their employer won't judge them negatively if they use AI. I'm curious because there's all this debate going on about AI right now.
Where do you feel people's level of trust is with it? And how do you see that changing?
Amanda Halle: I think that there's a lot of ways to create trust and, how often does your, when you think about trust, do you think about a machine and not probably not super often. And so I think that the trust comes with the ability to have conversations openly and to learn together and to have this curiosity and open mind.
And I do think that there are more conversations happening around AI in the workplace and organizations are doing more to create those conversations. You see like big companies, like I think it was Walmart that is doing this like AI Innovation day. And, I think it was PWC who has made a statement about educating everyone on AI in their workforce.
And so I think that when it's becoming more mainstream and people are more comfortable accessing it, the trust will grow, but it is still in a bit of an early days, right, and that kind of that hype cycle. And so I think people are learning their way into it, including myself.
David Rice: Yeah. We're all learning as we go. Right? We're, it's very much in its infancy and there's, I feel like there's a lot of like AI doom speak out there and then for all of that, there's just as much like AI evangelism. So people get excited, you know, it's this big shiny new thing. It can do everything they hope one day.
Maybe they hope it can only do this or that. But I'm curious, what do you think is the most realistic positive use case or application presently for the workplace?
Amanda Halle: I think that they're, Microsoft is obviously huge in the world of AI. I saw their head of workplace speak about AI and essentially like the co-pilot product, and he said that every time he goes to do something, perform some task, he thinks should I do this or should a machine do this? So I think that's the extreme, right? That's obviously the AI evangelists, the people who are also creating and selling these products. But I think for the more of the mainstream, it's like, what are the tasks that can be automated?
And what are the tasks that involve large amounts of data that are really hard for us to be able to process? I think of it in like two big buckets. The first bucket is around summarizing and synthesizing information. And so thinking about reading articles, or this is the, this is a controversial topic, but listening to podcasts.
Sometimes if you don't have time to listen to a podcast or no time to read a likely article and you say, hey, give me the 5 key points from this, right? Summarizes and pulled that out. I'm not saying you should do that. So that's the summarizing piece, synthesizing from an HR perspective, when you think about things like performance review data or employee engagement surveys, being able to pull out themes or, pull out things that happened over the course of a year, right?
From a performance perspective, it reduces recency bias. Like, there's great things about the using an AI tool for things like analysis and themes, summarization, like that is hugely time consuming task. And so if you're able to put these spreadsheets into a tool and pull out themes, that can save tons and tons of time.
And I would say like the last piece is from a talent acquisition standpoint, I think there are a ton of tools that our recruiters and talent teams are using to make the hiring process more efficient from things like complex scheduling that you can deal with a tool to capturing interview notes and summarizing and synthesizing those to really like doing the sourcing and recruiting automation and matching.
There's a lot of use cases and a lot of examples out there, but I think they boil down to those really that summarizing and synthesizing and then generating content. So, generating like email template or an email for this audience or that audience. So that's a few examples.
David Rice: There's a lot out there that it can do. It's a pretty impressive. I mentioned earlier, the fact that some people, I like half people just don't feel like certain about how their bosses or leaders would view them using it. And I think some of that comes around like leaders themselves, not really being sure what to make of it.
And I've talked to a few that are like adopting it because everyone around them is, but they're not sure if it's creating any better work or helping their people form good habits. And I read this piece in Korn Ferry called, the Idle AI Workday that was talking about leaders not adjusting people of roles for AI and it leading to this idea of a slump in productivity.
I'm curious, what do you think managers and leaders should be doing to adapt expectations and job descriptions in the wake of these new efficiencies that come from AI?
Amanda Halle: Yeah, there's such a tremendous potential for this leading to even greater productivity. There's also huge potential for this leading to even greater productivity divide.
So those who have and use AI and those who don't. So I think to your point, it's really important to have a thoughtful approach to how AI is going to impact you, your teams, your organization. And so I think it starts with this like human centered approach of what's the problem? What's the challenge that we're trying to solve, as like an organization and AI is not the solution, it's a tool. Right?
And so having a deep understanding of roles and responsibilities that and workflows that align to that challenge that you're solving and then breaking that down into the components. And then, I think, thinking about those components, and there's a great 2 by 2 on that LinkedIn put out.
It was related to AI in recruitment, but I think it is relevant to this as well. And it's, in the two by two, one axis is automation potential and the other is human touch. And so looking at those roles and responsibilities, what falls in the highest automation potential and the least amount of human touch, right?
And then how do you begin to take those and train for those, right? And automate them and then train your employees for those. It's a complex set of exercises, but also really important to do back to the point of do we want this to be an aid for productivity or do I have to this to create more of a divide in our organization's productivity?
David Rice: I saw you recently posted on LinkedIn. It was a study, the researchers and they talk about AI can change the way how we work, but not how we feel about work. And I think that's going to remain true for a while. It's interesting, but I wonder what you think if the tools become much more immersive and interactive and like intuitive.
Could that change, could it engage us in a way that it does change how we feel about, how we feel about work is too closely tied to whether we believe in what we're doing or whether we're doing what we like, the reasons why we're working, is it, could it impact that do you think?
Amanda Halle: I do believe that AI will change not only how we work, but how we feel about work.
So I posted that, but I actually have come around to think about this a little bit more deeply and there are clearly so many factors that contribute to how we feel about work. And I think one of those is how we do that work. So I think that it has to, like, AI has to impact both of those things.
It's a factor, right? I think there's the way when you think about engagement, right? I think of the way we feel about work is how engaged we are at work. We're kind of interchangeable the same things, right? And so the things that impact that engagement or how clear we feel about our role and roles and responsibilities, how much autonomy we have, the meaning that we get from our work, the ability to make progress at work, how connected to others we feel at work.
And so I think when you think about AI, it's like, how is it going to pull the lever on each of these different things? So maybe AI is going to give us more opportunity to make connections with people at our company. So it's going to increase our engagement, our ability to have that social inclusion aspect.
So I do think that it can able to take away, like it's going to give us more time to do more of the things that will make us feel more engaged, I hope. So I think that's my greatest hope for it.
David Rice: There's another interesting set. So I saw it said, only 54% of people are being encouraged to use AI work and 35% of people are secretly using it.
So I'm curious, I wonder how much of this is due to organizations not knowing how to regulate or guide its use and create policy around it. What advice do you have for employers who have an interest in employees using AI, but they're not quite comfortable with what might be done with it yet.
Amanda Halle: I completely agree. I think organizations are intrigued. Their leadership teams are using it. Boards have a perspective on it, are asking their leadership team how they're using it. But I definitely think that there is like a lack of guardrails and guidelines that companies are putting in place as to like how to use it.
And so it becomes a bit of the Wild West and with that, like that lack of clarity creates like fear and like lack of comfort and lack of internal alignment and all of those things. Yeah, I often tell people and advise folks to think of 3 different pathways as they're approaching like AI in their organizations.
And the first is education because it has to start with that foundation. What is AI? Right? What is Generative AI? What's machine learning? Right? Having a basis at the understanding around all of this is going to be is key to that, moving forward and leveraging these tools. And the second is experimentation.
And so I think encouraging folks is not only experimenting, but it's encouraging experimentation with your teams and your organization. And I think it could be as little as like 15 minutes a day. Play around with ChatGPT. Test it out. Set up demos with AI vendors. There's so many out there and free way just to get a little bit more access to what's going on and what tools are being created and how they are leveraging Generative AI in their platforms.
And I think documenting and sharing learnings also is a huge one. And then the kind of the third pathway is thinking about those guardrails and principles and point of view because you have to have a point of view and all that should be shaped by what this technology means for you and your business.
So it, again, starts with that, like what is the business challenge and how is AI as a tool gonna help you to achieve that? But I think that creating that point of view is gonna be critical for organizations to begin to have some alignment and create less fear for individuals to be using it.
David Rice: I was just curious, I would just thought of this, what's been your favorite story that you've heard through the newsletter so far?
Amanda Halle: For me, I love when I hear about people using AI actually more in their personal lives to help give them more time for their families and more time to do things that they care about and love. And so I think when people are able to use the tool to like craft recipes or do consumer research and even, secondarily to that, when people start to use it with their families, right? It becomes let's like, have ChatGPT tell us a bedtime story, and it should be about this.
Right, so I know people that use it with their kids, and their kids create coloring book pages from it. There's a lot of different ways that I think it creates more humanity and more connection. And I'd love to see that as well. And I think like from the gender gap, and there's a clear gender gap in AI.
And I think from who's talking about it to who's using it, and women are using it less than men. And so I think that when it can help people, specifically women, like beyond the workplace, that has a huge dividends and can be incredibly important and can get more women using and experimenting.
David Rice: Before we go, there's two things we'll need to do. First is I want to give you a chance to tell people where they can connect with you, find out more about what you're doing, follow along with the newsletter, all of that.
Amanda Halle: Please connect with me on LinkedIn, Amanda Halle, you can find me. And, you can also find my newsletter on LinkedIn, Unraveling AI, and feel free to reach out to me if you'd be interested in being featured.
I'm always looking for fresh perspectives and users of AI to spread their learnings.
David Rice: And so the other thing is, we've started a little tradition here on the podcast where you get to ask me a question, so I want to turn it over to you and go ahead and let you ask me something, anything you want.
Amanda Halle: What was the last way that you used Generative AI or AI?
David Rice: I've used it for several things with work. I've used ChatGPT to do actually my favorite use of it is email subject lines. I have tested this thing like 20 different ways to try to like basically enter in any adjective to describe a tone.
So like witty, sarcastic. It's so funny how like you'll tell it to write me 10 sarcastic email subject lines about this and it'll say, it'll give you all these things and at the end it'll say, but you should be careful using sarcasm because not everyone understands it. At one point I told it, I just wanted to see what it would do.
So I told it to be mean to me as the reader. And it gave me a lecture about the importance of empathy and compassion, which I thought was great. I got a big kick out of that, but, I think I use it a lot for like email copy and stuff like that, because it's one of those things that like, after you do all this work and you create all this content, you get into this point where you're like, I got to write this email.
And your brain is just done sometimes, you know, your brain's like, I just put it into the thing and then it will take what's good from it, will delete the parts that are bad and replace it with something else, but it'll give us a good starting point. It's a great form of inspiration in that sense.
All right. Well, Amanda, thank you for joining us. We really appreciate you coming on and telling us about the newsletter and sharing your perspective.
Amanda Halle: Thank you. It was great. It was a blast.
David Rice: All right. Listeners, if you want to keep following along with all this stuff that's developing around AI, HR technology, be sure to head on over to peoplemanagingpeople.com/subscribe, sign up for the newsletter.
And until next time, call your mom, enjoy a cupcake. Have a good one!