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Skill-Based Hiring Stalls, AI and the Middle Class, and Gen Z Turning to ChatGPT for Career Advice

Published 2 months ago • 4 min read

News Spotlight

No progress on skills-based hiring: A new report finds that while companies have started dropping degree requirements for certain jobs, they still aren't hiring people without college degrees (Forbes).

AI could restore the middle-class: AI could enable more workers to perform higher-stakes, decision-making tasks that are currently relegated to highly-educated workers such as doctors and lawyers (Quartz).

Enforcing the "right to disconnect": Australia will allow workers to ignore unreasonable after-hours calls and messages from bosses, with potential fines for employers that breach the rule (Reuters).

Stat of the Week

74% of employees feel it's appropriate to discuss mental health concerns at work, but only 58% would personally feel comfortable doing so, according to a new poll.

It's clear there's still a stigma associated with discussing mental health at work. In the study, employees said their managers, HR, and senior leaders are responsible for helping them feel more comfortable discussing this sensitive topic.

Deep Dive Article

Gen Z Workers Get Better Career Advice From ChatGPT Than Their Manager

Employee career development has emerged as a critical factor in organizational success as businesses strive to attract and retain top talent. Managers must play a pivotal role in fostering an environment where employees can thrive and grow professionally.

Younger workers are particularly in need of career support — yet nearly half (47%) of Gen Z says they get better advice from ChatGPT than their manager. That’s according to a new study from my company, Workplace Intelligence, and INTOO, a career development and outplacement company. We surveyed 800 HR leaders and 800 full-time employees to understand what’s missing for today’s workers — and it turns out that career development support is at the top of the list.

Our research uncovered that employees of all ages are struggling to get the career advice and support they need. Nearly two-thirds (63%) feel their employer cares more about their productivity than their career development. Over 3 out of 4 workers report that they’ve received bad career advice, with many noting that this advice has come from their own manager.

Other eye-opening findings include:

  • Around 1 out of 5 employees say they never have career conversations with their manager.
  • 54% feel completely on their own at their organization when it comes to their career development.
  • 25% of employees — and an alarming 44% of Gen Z — say it’s likely they’ll quit within the next 6 months because their company doesn’t support their career development.

The survey also revealed that there are clear benefits to having a manager who cares about your career. Workers who feel at least “somewhat” supported by their manager were nearly 7x more likely to say they made a lot of career progress last year compared to those who say they get little or no support from their manager.

With so much to gain, what’s stopping managers from taking more ownership around their employees’ career growth? For one, managers may be stretched too thin in their own roles. Over half (53%) of the workers we surveyed say their manager is just too busy to talk to them about their career.

However, employees report additional issues that managers can and should work to address. Nearly half (47%) say their manager is more focused on their own career, and 46% feel their manager doesn’t know how to help them with their career development. This makes sense, given that just 51% of HR leaders say managers at their company receive training when hired on how to provide career development guidance for their team members.

It’s true that managers have a lot on their plates, but they should still take steps to improve their ability to support their team members. That’s why in today’s article, I’ll explore 6 ways managers can facilitate the career development of their team members. Let’s take a look.

1. Initiate regular communication

Effective communication lays the foundation for successful career development initiatives. Managers should initiate regular one-on-one discussions with employees to understand their career aspirations, goals, and challenges. These conversations provide valuable insights into individual career paths and enable managers to tailor their support accordingly. By actively listening to employees' concerns and aspirations, managers can offer personalized guidance and create development plans that align with their professional ambitions.

INTOO’s report offers a few suggestions for conversation starters with employees:

  • What specific skills or areas of your role do you want to develop?
  • Are there any particular projects or assignments that you’re interested in taking on to expand your experience?
  • What support or resources do you need to excel in your career growth?
  • How can I be a better support to you?

2. Provide constructive feedback

Providing constructive feedback is essential for employee growth and development. Managers should offer timely and specific feedback on performance, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. Constructive feedback serves as a roadmap for employees to enhance their skills and competencies, ultimately contributing to their long-term career success. Additionally, recognizing and celebrating employee achievements reinforces positive behavior and encourages continuous improvement.

3. Facilitate access to learning & development opportunities

Beyond feedback, managers play a crucial role in providing access to learning and development opportunities. This includes offering training programs, workshops, and seminars that enhance employees' skills and knowledge. Managers can also facilitate job rotations, cross-functional projects, and stretch assignments to expose employees to new challenges and experiences. By investing in employee development, managers not only enhance individual capabilities but also strengthen the overall talent pool within the organization.

4. Offer mentorship and coaching

Mentorship and coaching are powerful tools for supporting employee career development. Managers can serve as mentors, offering guidance, advice, and support based on their own experiences and expertise. Additionally, managers can facilitate mentorship or coaching relationships between employees and more seasoned professionals within (or outside of) the organization. Mentorship not only provides valuable career insights but also fosters a sense of belonging and community within the workplace.

5. Advocate for your team members

In addition to individualized support, managers can advocate for career advancement opportunities on behalf of their employees. This may involve recommending employees for promotions, leadership roles, or special projects that align with their career aspirations. By actively championing their team members' career progression, managers demonstrate a commitment to their employees' success and professional growth.

6. Create a culture of learning and growth

Finally, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation is essential for supporting employee career development. Managers should encourage a growth mindset among their team members, emphasizing the importance of embracing challenges and seeking new opportunities for development. By promoting a culture of learning and experimentation, managers create an environment where employees feel empowered to take ownership of their career paths and pursue their aspirations.

Empowering managers: a strategic imperative

Managers play a central role in supporting employee career development. By prioritizing this aspect of their role, managers will not only empower their team members to reach their full potential but also contribute to the overall success and competitiveness of the organization. Investing in employee career development is not just a managerial responsibility but a strategic imperative for organizations committed to cultivating a talented and engaged workforce.

Thanks for reading — be sure to join the conversation on LinkedIn and let me know your thoughts on this topic. And to learn more about the survey findings, download the full report.

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