Gen Z employees say ChatGPT is giving better career advice than bosses

When it comes to career guidance and development, many employees feel that their managers have dropped the ball. Gen Z employees are feeling especially frustrated: 47% say they get better career advice from ChatGPT than from their human bosses, and 44% expect to quit within six months, according to a recent survey from INTOO and the Workplace Intelligence research firm.

“Employee satisfaction and loyalty is tied to the support and investment that companies offer to their employees, and even a competitive salary can’t overcome that hurdle,” said Mira Greenland, chief revenue officer at INTOO, a career development and outplacement company.

Career development does not always have to be a major undertaking, Greenland said. Something as simple as a manager recommending a favorite podcast or Slack channel with relevant content for employee growth can make a favorable impression.  

Before they can help their team members, Greenland said that companies must first ensure that managers possess their own developed skills. Investing in workshops or training sessions to polish their communication skills, accessing courses through online education platforms including Coursera, Udemy and edX, or bringing in external coaches can make a big difference.

Managers should schedule regular one-on-one career development sessions with employees at least every quarter. “The employee feels seen and cared for, and the leader builds a deeper connection with their employee,” Greenland said.

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Greenland recommends being transparent with workers when discussing career opportunities. Once an employee identifies what they want for their career, managers can try to find the best way to help them along the path. It might be a lateral move, a promotion or attendance at a workshop to refine their skills.

Equally important is to be upfront if a desired opportunity does not exist at the moment. The news might not be what an employee hopes for, but they’ll feel respected because their wishes were heard and seriously considered. It also lets them make an informed decision about their next move. “Having those career development conversations and speaking very specifically to the opportunities is really powerful, both for the employer and the employee,” Greenland said.

Mentorship programs for Gen Z workers

“When new employees enter the company, there should be a conversation with them about what their aspirations may be, what their long-term goals are. It should be built into their onboarding,” said Stacie Haller, chief career advisor at Resume Builder, an online resource for job seekers.

Hiring managers have complained to Haller that they are reluctant to hire Gen Z workers because they are not familiar with things like office etiquette, how to handle feedback, and even how to dress. To address the problem, Haller recommends that companies have mentorship programs in place to guide workers in their career development.

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Managers should keep careful track of their progress, recommending additional training if necessary to close gaps in an employee’s skill set or to alert them to other opportunities in the company that more closely align with their career goals.

Managers should remember that workers have different needs, Haller said. For example, the career goals of a millennial worker will likely differ from a Baby Boom or Gen Z worker. It is imperative for managers to take the lead in communicating with each employee. “It has to be an employee-centric culture where employees feel that they’re supported and there’s room to grow and learn,” Haller said.

Training the next generation of leaders

“If a company has some type of succession plan, they can be more proactive with training up-and-coming leaders. It’s more effective to have trained managers in place rather than promote someone into a management role and then not train them for six months or longer,” said Amanda Haddaway, managing director of HR Answerbox, an HR consulting and training firm.

Companies should certainly make sure that their managers can communicate, listen and handle feedback. But just as important, Haddaway said, is training managers in how to have difficult conversations with employees and how to discuss performance issues. Whether an outside coach is brought in or the company has an on-staff trainer experienced in these areas, knowing how to deal effectively with sensitive issues is just as critical as talking about an employee’s job skills.

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Surveying employees periodically is an excellent way for managers to take the pulse of their workers and identify what’s working in their department and what may need to be improved. Similarly, solving problems might be an HR manager’s first inclination, but Haddaway said there might be more long-term value in teaching the manager how to deal with the situation on their own — a capability artificial intelligence can’t provide.

“AI can’t deal with nuances in human behavior. That’s an important thing to keep in mind, rather than everybody jumping on the AI bandwagon,” Haddaway said. 

By Robert Lerose, special to

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