AI in the enterprise

– 11 min read

Every company needs a corporate AI policy

Here's your guide to creating one

Alaura Weaver

Alaura Weaver

In the late 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution picked up pace, a pressing need arose — the need for policies to regulate working conditions and safeguard workers’ rights.

Fast forward to today. We’ve swapped typewriters for MacBooks and steam engines for AI algorithms, but as digital innovations dramatically change the way we work, we face a similar need. We need policies with rules and guidelines to ensure that the power of AI is harnessed ethically, responsibly, and to the benefit of all. And that’s where the corporate AI policy comes into play.

In this article, we’ll explain what a corporate AI policy is and why your company needs one. We’ll also walk you through the process of creating one, ensuring your business isn’t just keeping up with the AI revolution, but leading the charge.

Summarized by Writer

  • A corporate AI policy is a set of guidelines and regulations to ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI technologies.
  • It helps follow legal and regulatory standards, protect data privacy, and prevent data bias and discrimination.
  • Steps to creating a solid corporate AI policy include: assessing AI needs and goals, creating a governance framework, educating employees, monitoring AI performance, and instituting regular reviews and updates.
  • A corporate AI policy is essential to join the ranks of forward-thinking organizations leading the AI revolution.

What is a corporate AI policy?

What is a corporate AI policy?

A corporate AI policy is a set of guidelines and regulations that a company puts in place to ensure the ethical and responsible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Think of it as a compass that guides your company through its AI adoption journey while ensuring alignment with ethics, laws, and core values. This policy not only illuminates the potential risks and pitfalls in the AI landscape, but also sets up an ethical decision-making framework to tackle them head-on.

Why your company needs a corporate AI policy

Why your company needs a corporate AI policy

The Industrial Revolution transformed the way people saw the goods and products that were part of their daily lives. Companies could produce more goods, and consumers had more choice than ever before. AI is driving a similar proliferation, as companies use it for everything from turning call recordings into meeting notes to writing sales emails or generating first drafts of blog posts (like this one).

As with any fundamental shift in the way we work, companies need to adapt and ensure their employees are using AI in a secure, responsible way. Which is where a corporate AI policy comes in. Let’s unpack some of the reasons your company needs one.

AI technologies can be subject to specific laws and regulations. This includes laws regarding data privacy, intellectual property rights, and consumer protection. A corporate AI policy ensures that your company’s use of AI adheres to all relevant laws and regulations, minimizing the risk of legal issues or penalties.

To protect data privacy

Generative AI can learn from sensitive and proprietary data, and this data can be exposed to hackers or malicious actors. A corporate AI policy helps mitigate this risk by establishing stringent data protection protocols. It outlines how data will be collected, stored, and used to protect the privacy of your customers and employees.

To prevent data bias and discrimination

AI language models, like sponges, absorb the characteristics of their training data. If the data is biased, it’s likely the AI output will be as well. A corporate AI policy can enforce bias reviews and audits, ensuring AI-generated content doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, age, or other traits.

To ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI technology

Generative AI can unintentionally produce content that’s perceived as unethical, offensive, or harmful to certain groups. This could lead to significant reputational damage or even legal implications for your organization.

Additionally, deploying AI software as a replacement for human employees is an unethical, harmful, and irresponsible use of technology designed to augment jobs — not eliminate them.

A corporate AI policy can help to prevent this from happening by setting out clear principles and rules for the development and deployment of AI-generated content.

5 steps for creating a solid corporate AI policy

5 steps for creating a solid corporate AI policy

Changes in working practices during the Industrial Revolution eventually led to companies introducing policies and restrictions around working hours, ages, and general labor conditions. While we’re a far cry from the sweeping social changes driven by industrialization, it’s clear that AI is having a significant impact on the way people and companies can work. That’s why it’s important to get ahead and create a corporate AI policy now. Let’s dive into the steps for creating one.

Step 1: Assess your organization’s AI needs and goals

Before embarking on any AI projects, it’s key to understand your organization’s needs and goals. This step allows you to identify where AI can add value and helps you choose the most suitable AI technology for your organization. At the same time, it allows you to evaluate potential risks linked to AI implementation.

Begin by examining your current systems and processes to identify where AI can improve operations or resolve issues. This might involve finding repetitive tasks that could be automated, bottlenecks that could be smoothed out with predictive analysis, or large datasets that could benefit from machine learning to uncover insights.

After identifying these potential areas of improvement, you can start comparing different AI technologies to find the most suitable. For example, if your organization wants to scale and streamline the production of written content, a generative AI platform (like Writer) could be useful for grammar and plagiarism checks, sentiment analysis, or generating initial drafts.

Step 2: Create a governance framework for AI

A governance framework for AI is essentially a set of rules for how AI should be used and managed within an organization. This not only includes the day-to-day handling of AI but also the broader strategy for its development, deployment, and maintenance.

In your governance framework, include detailed processes that outline how to use AI ethically and responsibly, with a strong focus on data privacy, security, and transparency. You should also include measures for preventing bias and ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.

Lastly, the framework should address any risks of AI, such as data security issues, biases in AI algorithms, or ethical concerns. This is critical for making sure that your organization’s use of AI is both effective and safe.

Here’s a list of questions to ask as you create your AI governance framework:

  1. What is the purpose of the AI policy?
  2. How will the AI policy be communicated to stakeholders?
  3. What are the ethical considerations for the use of AI?
  4. What are the legal considerations for the use of AI?
  5. What are the risks associated with the use of AI?
  6. How will the AI policy be monitored and enforced?
  7. What data privacy and security measures are required for using AI?
  8. How should AI-driven decisions be validated?
  9. What processes need to be in place for decision-making and accountability?
  10. Who will be responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the AI policy?
Generative AI governance

Check out the Generative AI governance toolkit and get practical insights and actionable steps to implement effective governance for your generative AI program.

Step 3: Educate employees on AI policy

Educate and train employees on the policy, its guidelines, and how to adhere to it. Providing comprehensive knowledge about AI and its ethical implications can foster a culture of responsible AI use.

For example, you can provide online training sessions and workshops for employees on topics such as data privacy, security, and ethical use of AI. This can include case studies to demonstrate the results of responsible and irresponsible AI use, quizzes to assess the effectiveness of the training, and feedback forms for employees to ask questions and seek clarifications. You can also use videos, infographics, and other multimedia content to make the training more interactive and engaging.

Step 4: Monitor AI Performance

Implement a process for regularly monitoring generative AI performance to ensure it’s performing as intended and not inadvertently causing harm or generating undesirable results. Include tracking metrics such as the accuracy and speed of content generated. This will provide valuable insights into the system’s performance and its ability to produce high-quality content in a timely manner. You’ll also better prove the value of your AI technology investment.

For example, you can track the accuracy of content generated by monitoring the percentage of false negatives or positives generated. That’s one thing the SentinelOne team looked at when comparing AI tools before they found Writer.

You can also track the system’s fairness by looking for any biases in the output, or evaluate its accuracy by comparing generated results with ground truth data.

Step 5: Institute regular review and updates

Given the rapid pace of AI evolution, it’s important to regularly review and update your corporate AI policy. This should involve monitoring changes in technology, regulations, and societal norms, and updating your policy accordingly. It’s also important to incorporate feedback from employees and customers into your policy.

For example, if new privacy regulations are introduced, you’ll need to update your policy to ensure compliance. If there’s a groundbreaking AI development that could change the way your company operates, your policy might need to be adjusted to reflect this. Moreover, if employees express concern over a particular AI application’s impact on their work, their feedback should be considered during policy updates.

AI usage policy example: how Intuit and Maximus went about developing their AI policies

Jennifer Johnson, Content Design Leader at Intuit was in charge of developing an AI usage policy for her entire team. Creating these guidelines involved an overall callout to the message that AI should never replace the human mind. She sat down with May Habib to share her process in creating these guidelines, from identifying stakeholders to developing a framework for implementation. Together they discussed the importance of aligning the enterprise on guidelines for responsible usage of AI.

“You’re in control. AI tools require human interaction. When you’re using that tool as a writer, you’re responsible for the output. If you’re not checking the output for bias and you’re not testing for [hallucinations], that’s your responsibility.”

Jared Curtis, senior director of Corporate Communications at Maximus, also stated the importance of a human connection when developing the AI code of conduct and AI adoption principles for the company.

“I wanted to make sure that there were some other elements [in the code of conduct]…that we preserve the human connection and relationships. I wanted to ensure that there is always a human gatekeeper with anything that comes out. They’re making sure there’s no misinformation that goes out. That we’re maintaining privacy and security [with what we put into the tool].”

AI policy template: what we use at Writer

In our efforts to boost AI literacy and safety for everyone, we’ve developed the ultimate AI policy template. This document details the importance of using AI responsibly and serves as a guide for teams who are navigating the world of AI in a variety of business use cases.

Check out this document to get a better understanding of why it’s crucial for businesses to incorporate an AI usage policy for their teams.

AI policy template

Download the template

Be at the forefront of the AI revolution

The Industrial Revolution changed how we lived and worked forever, and those without the foresight to adapt were left behind. Today, we stand on the brink of a similar seismic shift. AI is not just another piece of technology; it’s a game-changer, a new way of thinking and doing business.

Your corporate AI policy will guide your company through the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It’s your ticket to join the ranks of forward-thinking organizations who aren’t just keeping up with the AI revolution, but leading it.

Learn more about the ways that businesses are already using AI to improve productivity, output velocity, and quality.