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'Thoughtful Pacing': Embrace the AI Revolution Slowly, with Transparency and Training

PODCAST PERSPECTIVE: In the latest People + Strategy podcast, Andrea Gill, CHRO of global financial firm Capital Group, shares her views on taking a measured approach to AI and more.

Every organization is making decisions this year on how to take advantage of the productivity gains available through generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). While some companies are sprinting off the GenAI starting line, others are implementing this groundbreaking technology at a slower, more cautious pace.

“I have learned that no good comes from moving too quickly,” said Andrea Gill, the CHRO of global financial firm Capital Group, during a recent edition of the SHRM Executive Network’s People + Strategy Podcast. “When I talk about GenAI internally, the headline is ‘thoughtful pacing.’ We’re not going to move too fast here. It’s too nascent. There’s too much risk in moving too quickly. I’m confident we’ll pace it appropriately and weave it into our organization.”

Capital Group is far from ignoring AI. The company, with almost 10,000 employees in 31 locations worldwide, has a large cross-functional team that is piloting about 80 AI test projects in HR, marketing and investments. Gill is particularly excited about productivity gains that will come to the HR department.  

“It’s exciting from an HR perspective to think about a technology that really helps us take voluminous amounts of data and analyze it quickly so we can help all our leaders and associates make more effective, better decisions. That’s a game changer,” Gill says. “In HR, productivity is the magic word. Once we get comfortable with this new technology, it will be able to take over some transactional tasks and free up capacity and let us focus on higher strategic work.”

Rather than harnessing AI’s power for a chosen few or establishing strict usage rules, Capital Group is one of many organizations encouraging all employees to experiment with ChatGPT and its various GenAI cousins to identify the best advancements in their own roles.

“With all technology, the most important thing is don’t be afraid of it,” Gill says. “Think about this as a way to make our lives more productive, more strategic, more effective. What I tell everyone is, ‘Play with GenAI every day.’ I use our internal ChatGPT. I forced myself, and now it’s fun. I go in and try something different every week so I’m comfortable. And that’s what I would tell everybody to do.”

While some Capital Group employees are jumping in with both feet, others are wary—and worried that the technology could affect their future.

“There are pockets of employees who are scared of it and scared about what it means for the long-term work that they do,” Gill notes. “Will they need to learn completely new skills? Will their jobs change? So right now, we listen. My job is to help employees embrace it in a way that feels healthy and doesn’t introduce angst into the environment.”

To smooth the transition and ease employees’ minds, Capital Group hosts many AI open forums where they highlight the various AI pilot projects and answer employees’ questions. The goal: help workers understand how to take advantage of those productivity gains, rather than resist them.

“I don’t ignore employees’ concerns,” Gill says. “I get it. I want people to tell me why they’re concerned, and let’s talk about it and think about what the next step is.”

Other Insights from Andrea Gill on the People + Strategy Podcast

  • Ignore the Noise Around Workplace Diversity. “Advancing DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) is a journey, and we’re never going to get there. It’s never going to be perfect. But is it alive? Yes. And the media focus that ‘DE&I is dead or under attack,’ I really put that in the bucket of noise and I tell everyone, ‘Do not get distracted about that.’ ”
  • Be a ‘Long-Term Focused’ Employer. In 1998, when Gill was recruited to be the senior vice president for HR at Capital Group, she told the company she was pregnant with twins. No problem, executives said, “we’re a long-term focused company.” She went on maternity leave just four days into her new position. Now, more than 25 years later and having risen to become the CHRO, Gill says, “I’ve always tried to pay that forward.”
         “We are an organization focused on the long term. And that means we’re not running a sprint, we’re running marathons. There are going to be moments in your career where the career gets the most of you. And then there’s going to be other moments that it’s your kids, your parents, your partner or your community that you’re going to need to over-index on. That’s okay. It’s important to support the whole person.”
  • Applicants Want Purpose and Progress. “The top two things I hear from candidates all the time is, No. 1: ‘I want to make an impact.’ No. 2: ‘I want to be developed.’ And that comes from early-career candidates, long-term and senior hires."
  • Reinforce the ‘Why’ of Your Hybrid Plan. Like many companies, Capital Group went remote during the pandemic. But the company has since established a hybrid plan of three days in the office and two days working at home. “What I learned in this moment of transitioning to this hybrid model is listen, listen, listen to your employees. Give them so many forums to discuss what’s top of mind, and keep reinforcing the ‘why’ of the plan. Keep reinforcing why we owe it to our clients to deliver the very best outcomes. And that means we need time together [in the office].”



​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.