Case Study

How GenAI is empowering talent at a PE-backed consumer brand

By using GenAI to remove routine tasks, a global consumer brand is harnessing the creativity of its employees and utilizing their time better.Learn more

The better the question

How can GenAI improve employee productivity?

A PE-backed consumer brand is using GenAI to help employees focus their time on the most meaningful and valuable work activities.


Finding smart and effective ways of using generative AI (GenAI) to support people in their work is a strategic priority for every business. This rapidly evolving technology has the potential to transform the employee experience and thereby drive business growth. Yet this potential can be hard to achieve.

What matters is to find and implement the specific use cases that deliver tangible return on investment. This was the challenge facing our client, the chief digital officer (CDO) at a global consumer brand. He felt GenAI had significant potential to support employees, make their work more satisfying, and help the business harness their full talents, but he needed advice to achieve this.

The private equity-backed business has been through multiple changes of ownership and several acquisitions. The CDO was concerned this had created a complicated work environment, in terms of both legacy IT systems and working practices. He wanted to show his board that a GenAI investment could deliver quick wins, with an ROI that would make a meaningful contribution to the company’s ambitious growth targets.

He felt that if he could use GenAI to remove unnecessary friction for employees and empower them to do more meaningful and valuable work, that would drive productivity and employee retention. It would also drive long-term growth, lead to better customer experiences and position the business as an innovative place to work, which would differentiate it in the market. But the question was where and how should he invest?

how will robots make buildings more human

The better the answer

To capture the value of GenAI, listen to the people who will use it

EY combined human research, technology know-how, and business insights to find and quantify the right GenAI investments in a nine-week sprint.


The client needed to see and prioritize what could be done now, and what quantified return GenAI would deliver. It also wanted that picture within nine weeks.

An EY team was deployed that combined the broad range of professional disciplines this project needed - customer behavior researchers, service designers, experience designers, business strategists, business designers and emerging technology and AI specialists. This included people from the EY organization, including EY Parthenon, EY Digital & Emerging Tech and EY Seren.

We had a flexible team to meet the evolving needs of the client. This gave us the agility needed to make rapid progress and deliver value. The project included different phases - research, service design, employee experience, technology, and business case.

The first task was to understand and articulate the current employee experience. How do people feel across different parts of the business? How do they talk about the highs and lows of their everyday experience? How does technology enable or hinder what they need to do?

With this kind of research, the closer one gets to the human lived experience of the people involved, the more valuable the findings become. The EY team’s work included executive interviews, employee focus groups, and a robust quantitative survey. In total, we heard from over 240 different people in the organization – an impressive research population, especially given the speed at which the project was moving.

The research revealed that employees were spending an average of three days every week on manual, administrative, routine tasks. That was a significant amount of time and money consumed by work that didn’t add value to the business or benefit the employees.

The discovery of this simple fact, and the clarity it gave the client, helped to galvanize support for the next phase of the project: How could the business use technology better, specifically GenAI?

The depth of the research findings enable the EY team to map out multiple different ways GenAI could improve the situation and to identify clearly which would have the biggest impact.

EY professionals identified over 20 different use cases, evaluated each one and prioritized them against a three-point scoring mechanism. The team created a compelling business case and a pragmatic development plan to help implement two of the projects as pilots. One of them deployed GenAI in a specific part of the business and the other involved enterprise-wide adoption.

Each business case covered how each investment would change the business, the technical difficulty, the timescale to launch, the financial ROI, and the impact on qualitative scores, such as employee happiness and retention. The enterprise-wide business case suggested an average ROI of over 150%, with up to 3 hours a week saved from reduction of routine tasks, 15% to 20% lower employee turnover and up to 40% increase in the quality of the work.

This gave the client the confidence it needed to invest. The EY team continues to work with the client on their ongoing business transformation, bringing technical, business, and design advice around their use of GenAI.

Group of creative entrepreneurs and business people working together in modern eco-friendly office with plants and recycled materials

The better the world works

This is technology for employees, by employees

By keeping people at the center, the client is deploying GenAI in ways its employees will embrace, helping it to inspire and attract talent.


This project wasn’t about using technology to replace people, it was about finding people needs that technology investment could satisfy. The EY research showed the client’s leadership that employees weren’t worried about GenAI taking away their jobs; rather, they saw opportunities for innovation that they didn’t want the business to miss out on.

As the project moved forward, the EY team invited employees to participate in a “curriculum of excellence”. This involved curating — with the client — a series of EY thought-leaders from around the world who gave weekly presentations to employees about the wider possibilities of Gen AI — from its potential to drive top-line revenue to the evolving regulatory agenda. These sessions were extremely well attended, resulting in a huge upswing in skills and awareness.

One result of working with the EY team is that the client became a pioneering user of GenAI at a time when the technology was in its earliest stages of development. Not only did this give the business a competitive edge on its rivals, it showed its employees and investors that the company was serious about meeting ambitious goals and that it was adept at innovating quickly.

By adopting GenAI as a technology by humans, for humans, the global consumer brand positioned itself to achieve the full potential of this transformative technology as it further evolves.

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