Why a Good Corporate AI Policy is Necessary

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In the early days of social media, some companies rushed to create social media policies without understanding the platforms or how people used them. These policies often included vague restrictions like “don’t do this or that” without specifying what “this or that” actually meant. By the time the policy was released, whatever social media behaviors they were trying to restrict were already outdated.

The same risk exists today as companies scramble to create AI policies. If done poorly, these policies won’t actually guide employee behavior and could quickly become irrelevant as AI capabilities advance rapidly. That’s why organizations need thoughtful AI policies that provide clear direction without being overly restrictive.

Article sections:

What is a Corporate AI Policy?

A corporate AI policy outlines acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI within an organization. It serves as a framework for employees on when and how they can leverage AI tools to do their jobs. The policy should cover areas like:

Data privacy – Rules around using customer data, protecting sensitive information, anonymizing data sets, etc.

Levels of Transparency – Requiring disclosures when AI is used to generate content, imagery, recommendations, etc.

Risk management – Assessing and mitigating risks ranging from bias in data sets to potential legal issues

Access/approvals – Clarifying which employees can access certain AI tools and what approvals are needed for higher-risk applications.

Oversight – Instituting auditing procedures to ensure AI policies are being followed.

The goal is to encourage innovation and efficiency gains from AI while protecting the business and customers from harm.

According to digital strategist Shawn Goodin on “The Business Storytelling Show,” about 30 percent of organizations lack AI policies. This creates uncertainty for employees about what tools are allowed and how they can use them appropriately. In addition, he estimated that 80 percent of marketing workflows will be impacted by AI.

Some key elements to include:


Prioritize ethics, fairness, and transparency. Don’t just focus on efficiency; establish principles that consider human impact. Focus on education. Don’t assume employees understand AI or its risks. Training is crucial.


Provide specific apps employees can use rather than blanket AI prohibitions. Clarify which tools can be used for what. Outline how new AI tools/uses will be evaluated for approval.

Involving Internal Stakeholders

When creating an AI policy, it’s important to gather input from the employees and teams who will actually be using AI tools day-to-day. Getting their perspectives allows you to shape pragmatic policies tailored to your organization’s specific needs and challenges. Areas to discuss include:

  • What excites and concerns internal stakeholders about deploying AI? This frames where policy guardrails are most needed.
  • Should responsibilities and decision rights be codified around using AI outputs? This empowers sound judgment.
  • What safeguards would help address reproducibility, bias, and safety concerns around data sets? This mitigates risks proactively.

Regularly incorporating user feedback also builds broader buy-in, giving policies credibility on the frontlines. Employees help fine-tune policies over time, keeping them practical as AI progresses.

Educating Leadership and Staff

Before finalizing any policies, extensive education on AI for both leadership and staff is vital. Everyone impacted by AI guidelines should possess foundational knowledge of relevant concepts like:

  • Algorithmic bias – How bias enters and propagates through AI systems
  • Privacy risks – What types of data are most sensitive and require protection
  • Transparency needs – The importance of explainability and audits
  • Advantages – How AI can help us do our jobs better

Leadership needs particularly in-depth fluency with ethical AI principles to inform policy trade-offs and oversight. But staff also requires literacy to make daily decisions aligning with overarching guidelines.

Education furnishes a shared language and mental model, empowering policies to meaningfully direct activities. It also builds recognition that policies exist to empower, not restrict – unlocking AI’s potential safely. Fostering learning is thus an ongoing imperative as policies evolve with AI.

Read next: AI Content Creation: What is AI Content and the Stages to Use it

Appointing AI Owners

To oversee policy implementation, organizations should designate clear owners and governance processes for AI oversight. Depending on scale, this may involve:

  • Assigning executive-level AI safety officers to maintain policies enterprise-wide
  • Embedding AI review boards within each business unit to assess new use cases

Creating working groups of ethics, compliance, security, and engineering leaders to update guidelines

Central AI ownership streamlines enforcing policies, responding to incidents, and adapting approaches as AI progresses. Distributed governance through working groups and unit oversight tailors safeguards to nuanced needs across the organization.

Combined, this bridges policy intentions with on-the-ground realities – sustaining AI safety as innovative applications develop over time.

The process to establish a corporate AI policy

Consider using a development process like this:

Corporate AI Policy Creation Flowchart

1. Understanding the need for AI Policy

  • Understanding the role of AI in the organization
  • Recognizing the potential risks and benefits of AI
  • Identifying key areas that require policy guidelines

2. Defining AI Policy Principles

  • Ethical considerations
  • Data privacy rules
  • Transparency requirements
  • Risk management strategies

3. Drafting AI Policy Guidelines

  • Defining acceptable AI applications
  • Setting restrictions on AI usage
  • Outlining the approval process for new AI tools and uses

4. Involving Internal Stakeholders

  • Gathering input from employees and teams who will be using AI tools
  • Understanding their concerns and needs
  • Incorporating their feedback into the policy

5. Educating Leadership and Staff

  1. Algorithmic bias
  2. Privacy risks
  3. Transparency needs

6. Appointing AI Policy Owners

  • Assigning executive-level AI safety officers
  • Embedding AI review boards within each business unit
  • Creating working groups of ethics, compliance, security, and engineering leaders

7. Implementing the AI Policy

  • Communicating the policy across the organization
  • Providing ongoing training and education
  • Auditing adherence to the policy

8. Regularly Reviewing and Updating the AI Policy

  • Monitoring the effectiveness of the policy
  • Adapting the policy to technological advancements and changes in the organization
  • Incorporating feedback from employees to fine-tune the policy

You can use an AI tool like Taskade to create and update a workflow like this, which is what I did. It also offers writing first drafts.

How Good Policy Helps Marketing Teams

Marketing, in particular, stands to benefit enormously from AI tools in areas like content creation, personalization, data analytics, and more. But missteps could significantly damage brands.

AI policies empower marketing teams to navigate AI safely and effectively through:

Clarity: Knowing specifically which AI tools are approved, what types of data can be used, and what processes to follow enables confident adoption of helpful AI.

Creativity Within Guardrails: Guidance provides the freedom to apply AI capabilities creatively.

Risk Avoidance: By flagging common pitfalls and establishing auditing procedures, policies help marketers avoid basic mistakes like putting sensitive data into public AI platforms.

Trust Building: Following established ethical principles and transparency guidelines reassures customers that AI is being used carefully to improve their experience.

Read next: Can AI edit videos?

The Challenges of Implementation

While sound AI policies are essential, effectively implementing them presents difficulties. As AI progresses exceedingly swiftly, policies struggle to keep up. What constitutes “acceptable” and “unacceptable” uses continues shifting.

This requires flexible policy governance processes focused more on core principles than detailed prescriptions. Using centralized oversight groups rather than static policy documents enables adapting to new AI innovations. As unprecedented tools emerge, these groups can provide guidance tailored to specific use cases.

Similarly, organizations must continually update employee education on the latest AI advances and risks. Relying on one-time training produces knowledge gaps as technology changes. Instead, organizations should provide AI literacy as an ongoing learning stream.

Grab your free, ungated! AI policy template

The Bottom Line

AI delivers game-changing opportunities but also risks if mishandled. This necessitates clear policies guiding acceptable usage. While complex to formulate and maintain, setting baseline expectations around safe, ethical application fosters innovation by providing guardrails tailored to an organization’s needs and culture.

With the right principles and processes guiding usage, companies can empower employees to harness AI’s full potential while building critical trust with stakeholders. But outdated policies hamper progress. By taking an adaptable, educational approach to governance, policies can evolve apace with AI itself.

Grab your free, ungated! AI policy template

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