Employers can leverage artificial intelligence to enhance the employee experience, including improvements to defined contribution pension communication, said John Bradley, director of emerging technologies at Fidelity Investments, during a session at Benefits Canada’s 2024 DC Plan Summit in February.

“For a good employee experience to take place, an employee has to feel like the majority of these interactions are positive. And if these interactions are positive, there are multiple benefits, [including] better performance, improved productivity and innovation, as well as reduced costs by reducing employee churn.”

Read: AI holds uncapped potential for pension plan sponsors’ administration, communications: expert

Generative AI is the most prominent form of the technology, exemplified by platforms like ChatGPT, he said, noting it’s the most broadly applicable form of AI in supporting improved employee experience. “It’s a flexible technology. It can help solve a lot of challenges that are coming up in organizations. The other main reason why we’re talking about generative AI as opposed to some of the other technologies is that the barriers to adoption have come down dramatically in the last year or two.”

Chatbots can be programed to respond to any number of employee questions, including those about their DC pension plans.

“You could apply this type of tool to help employees identify information about what types of investments are available within that plan [and] where they can find particular documents about say, year-end tax forms. These types of tools can be used to help provide information in a kind of low-stress environment [and] help improve overall outcomes for something like signing up for a pension plan.”

Read: How Texas’ Teacher Retirement System is incorporating AI into pension governance

The technology also allows plan sponsors to convey information to employees in all languages, said Bradley, demonstrating a series of videos that depicted him speaking in German, French and Mandarin. “Being able to provide your message in multiple languages represents value if you’re in a multi-national organization. Employees have the ability to choose the language with which they engage with your organization, so there’s a lot of benefits there, in feeling like they’re being appreciated in terms of giving them options.”

For employers considering implementing AI in their workplace, he said it’s important to first understand the technology and its limitations, followed by a testing phase to determine whether it’s a good fit for the organization.

After the technology has been adopted, it’s important to continue to monitor to ensure that technology is delivering the expected value. “Often times, especially with new technology, updates will take place [and] changes to the underlying technology will happen. . . . If that does happen, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just worth reassessing whether this technology is still doing what you want it to.”

Read more coverage of the 2024 DC Plan Summit.