Korean Banks Studying Millennials

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Banks in Koreatown are making an effort to understand today’s generation of millennials. One Korean-American millennials is submitting a resume at a job fair that was held last spring.
Banks in Koreatown are making an effort to understand today’s generation of millennials. One Korean-American millennials is submitting a resume at a job fair that was held last spring.

Banks in Los Angeles Koreatown are busy finding out more revelations about millennials, who may soon become the integral part of the workforce.

Millennials are more likely to change jobs in middle of their careers than other age groups, while it is also common that they are prone to show aversion to collaborative culture within a workplace. Hence, businesses are eager to understand millennials, who will dominate the workforce sooner rather than later.

Korean banks, in particular, have been sending their higher-ranked employees to various seminars to educate themselves about the changing demographics, while many also conduct their own webinars to cater to the demands of the millennials.

In August, Open Bank has been holding training sessions for mid-ranked officials to learn about the millennial culture, followed by Commonwealth Business Bank, which invited an outside expert to lecture their board of directors about the rapidly changing demographics. Hanmi Bank also plans to hold a similar webinar next month.

Many of those in the business say that banks are taking a hands-on approach to obtain as much information as possible about millennials as they deem the younger population of today’s workforce is experiencing immense difficulties with communicating with the experienced managerial personnel.

Among the problems mentioned, business ethics and personal philosophy were picked as two of the biggest differing factors between the millennials and the more experienced employees. Some have even said that the human resources department has come under significant pressure in recent years due to complaints filed against one another by the younger and more experienced employees.

For banks, especially, the workplace often has rather comprehensive communities of first, second and third generations of Korean-Americans. While one may say such a diversity may be helpful, it also often creates friction as cultural clashes are unavoidable.

“After attending the seminar to learn about millennials, I realized that the way they think is completely different from how people from our generation think,” said Commonwealth Business Bank president Joanne Kim.

Open Bank president Min Kim said, “I’ve come to understand the millennials better after sitting through the presentations and webinars recently, both of which gave an organized overview of the millennials’ behaviors.”

Various studies have shown that the generation of millennials, many of whom were born between 1982 and 2000, seek constant feedback from colleagues, but tend to draw a clear line between constructive communication and invasion of workplace privacy.

They also have a higher likelihood of changing jobs or careers as their sense of loyalty towards employers is not as prominent as that of the baby boomers. In a recent study by the Department of Labor, the average duration of a millennials stay at one workplace was less than two years.

Consulting firm Deloitte also released similar data in a recent survey, which revealed that 44 percent of currently employed millennials have admitted that they plan on leaving their jobs within the next two years. Three main reasons behind their eagerness to change jobs was due to conflict with a superior manager, to contribute to making the world a better place and instilling balance between work and life.

Although many millennials admitted that the level of income and benefits are two of the most important factors in selecting a workplace, the second highest priority was balance between work and life at 16.8 percent. Personal growth and chance to become a leader came in third at 13.4 percent, followed by working from home and flexibility (11 percent), sense of reward (9.3 percent) and training program (8.3 percent).

For millennials, jobs that require working on weekends is a big turnoff, as many of them prioritize quality of life and four workdays per week.

“It’s also important for millennials to make the effort to understand the older generation,” said one veteran bank employee in Koreatown. “It’s obviously important for us to learn their traits as well, but the best solution is to form a relationship in which both sides understand each other.”

By Sung Cheol Jin