July 19, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

Managers are competing with AI for the hearts of Gen Z

Gen Z is highly ambitious, and when employers don’t foster those ambitions, young workers will find other ways to pursue growth—including turning to AI. 

Around 54% of all employees feel entirely on their own when it comes to figuring out how to advance in their professions, according to a new survey of more than 1,600 full-time U.S. workers from outplacement and career coaching firm INTOO and Workplace Intelligence, a research agency. And around 46% of all workers say their manager doesn’t know how to help them with their career development. That number climbs to 62% for Gen Z employees, who say they want to talk to their manager more about their career, but their manager is too busy for such conversations. 

But the consequences to ignoring workers’ desires for growth are stark. Around 25% of all employees, as well as 44% of Gen Z workers, say they plan to quit within the next six months because their company lacks career development support.  

Instead of turning to their managers, around 47% of Gen Z workers say that they get better advice from generative AI tools like ChatGPT than from their boss. But why choose a robot over a human? Gen Zers are used to getting constant personalized feedback for everything in their life, from their social media feeds to smartwatches, and they expect the same experience at work, says Mira Greenland, chief revenue officer at INTOO. When their employer fails to meet that expectation, they naturally turn to other resources.

“They’re having these personalized curated experiences in all these other areas of their life. And they’re looking for that at work, too,” she says.

Part of the problem may also be that many managers get promoted because they were high-performing employees, and often don’t get the training they need to lead a team—that includes failing to hold frequent conversations about professional growth.

“If I was in HR, I’d be pointing at this and saying: ‘With the lack of training that we have, we will lose people because we’re not having these career development conversations,’” says Greenland. 

More advancement programs could also help with retention. Around 80% of employees and 97% of Gen Zers say having best-in-class L&D opportunities would improve their engagement, job satisfaction, workplace motivation, and likelihood of staying at their company. But, only 22% of employees and 41% of HR leaders believe their company’s L&D programs are “excellent.”

Some employers may worry about the costs of investing in a new L&D program. But given that replacing an employee costs anywhere from one-half to two times a worker’s annual salary, HR leaders could make the business case to their CEO to invest in some costlier L&D options.

“If you have the numbers show that it’s better for retention if you invest in these things, it can be pretty quick that you can carve out 10 or 20 grand a year for [an L&D] budget,” says Greenland.

Paige McGlauflin
[email protected]

Today’s edition was curated by Emma Burleigh.

Around the Table

A round-up of the most important HR headlines.

As companies try to trim costs while working at full capacity, performance reviews may be brutal this year as employees are held to increasingly higher standards. —Wall Street Journal

Employers are increasingly turning to “quiet hiring”—recruiting workers internally—because it’s easier than finding external candidates. —Financial Times

The longevity of work from home culture has upended the U.S. office property market—prices have already dropped 20% from their peak, and may fall further. —Business Insider


Everything you need to know from Fortune.

Harsh jokes. Minneapolis’ mayor criticized those who work from home as “sitting on their couch, with their nasty cat blanket, diddling on their laptop.” His office says it was a joke. —Sasha Rogelberg

Been there done that. Gen Z hires are more concerned about AI stealing their jobs than their older coworkers—likely because senior employees have already endured technological shifts. —Orianna Rosa Royle

Jaded golden children. Once the exemplars of “hustle culture,” millennial workers are now middle managers marred by intense burnout and economic fatigue. —Chloe Berger

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