Personnel are the foundation of the financial sector. The lifestyles and values of Gen Z employees diverge from previous generations. As a result, banks are launching a variety of new talent recruitment, retention, and education measures to actively target Gen Z, in order to maintain the industry’s strong growth and embed it in the lives of this burgeoning community.

Taishin Bank: Gen Z accounts for 15% of the total workforce

As this new generation grows, Gen Z employees will increasingly become the future pillars of financial institutions. Gen Z accounts for around 15% of Taishin Bank’s total workforce. Through internal satisfaction surveys, Taishin has realized that these employees expect to understand an organization’s vision and the significance of their work, and to enjoy a work-life balance. At the same time, they hope to complete challenging tasks in order to display their own abilities.

Gen Z employees also have a number of expectations for their immediate superiors, who they hope can provide sufficient work guidance, support innovative thinking, and be willing to accept them challenging the system and making workflow recommendations. In other words, they are the new blood of these organizations, and can bring many new ideas and advocate for organizational change.

Taishin has also learned that Gen Z employees are adept at rapidly collecting information. As digital natives, they study new skills and information more actively and immediately, and possess creative thinking and rapid study abilities. Their strength lies in the ability to quickly adapt to an environment, although they may lack patience and desire immediate results or feedback. Additionally, they regard personal growth as superior to team development and have less loyalty to the organization.

Three methods to retain Gen Z professionals

Taishin’s recruitment plan contains adaptive methods and mechanisms when it comes to Gen Z’s topics of interest and characteristics.

The first is emphasizing the company’s vision. As Gen Z values a company’s vision and broader significance of its work, Taishin has begun engaging on campuses. By attending professional courses and career lectures, and through fieldtrips to the bank, students have more opportunities to get to know Taishin’s vision and core values.

Second is technology. Taishin’s recruitment plan makes good use of Gen Z’s habit of communicating using technology. A majority of recruitment programs utilize online interview scheduling and remote video interviews, while accepted candidates can read onboarding information through the online iTaishin platform.

Finally, Taishin is implementing agile work scheduling, digitalizing workflows, and diversifying its benefits systems, providing a better work environment and quality of life, all in accordance with its focus on Gen Z demands. At the same time, it has also refined its promotion and rotation system, provided all sorts of learning resources, and given employees more freedom in their professional development, fulfilling the needs of Gen Z employees who enjoy challenging themselves.

In Taishin’s analysis, Gen Z employees have different characteristics from the several generations preceding them. They place greater value on the value and significance of their work, and personal independence, as well as development opportunities, while paying particular attention to diversity and equality and maintaining close familiarity with technology. As a result, their needs need to be valued more when it comes to talent retention. For example, when managers are assigning tasks, they could inform employees of the impact on personal career development and importance to the organization. Thus, employees will feel that they are engaging in meaningful work, and will be more willing to throw themselves into its completion.

Moreover, Gen Z employees have many expectations for independence and diversity and equality in the work environment. Accordingly, when managing employees, supervisors should communicate and listen more, while encouraging independent work. By regularly tracking work progress, managers can provide assistance and support when employees encounter difficulties. As digital natives, Gen Z employees are adept at leveraging technology to solve problems, and can provide different ways of thinking to promote creativity. Additionally, they can assist teams in applying digital technologies to accomplish organizational assignments. Those who work with Gen Z employees should also express both respect and gratitude for their recommendations and contributions, thereby strengthening their sense of identity with the organization, and increasing the rate of retention.

Strengthening interdisciplinary capabilities

When training Gen Z employees, Taishin provides not only professional financial knowledge, but also diverse learning channels, fostering self-motivation, and allowing visible results. For example, in order to promote digital transformation, it has introduced agile concepts and work methods, established the agile seeds training program, designed certification systems, set up the “digital factory” program, applied what it has learned, and better met user requirements through product design, workflows, and service. Approximately 1,500 employees have already been certified, with Gen Z accounting for around 10% of participants. Promoting areas such as agile culture, team creativity, digital marketing, data analytics, and governance has allowed Taishin to strengthen this generation’s interdisciplinary abilities.

Taishin’s internal training is also making greater use of hybrid, experiential learning and gamification, and also redesigning courses. Additionally, it has begun producing short training videos for area knowledge, using the iTaishin app’s audio-visual library, and a fragmented learning approach. This has allowed employees to more quickly acquire knowledge, and Taishin to progressively build a stage for employees to show off their talent, and elevating every aspect of learning.

E.SUN: 20% of domestic employees are Gen Z

It has been said that E.SUN is the youngest domestic financial holding company. As HR manager Wang Chih-cheng puts it, “youth can change the world.” E.SUN has looked to actively attract outstanding, fresh talent; the average age of its employees is only thirty-four, and Gen Z makes up 20% of the bank’s workforce. Guidance, engagement, education, and growth for this generation have become important topics for E.SUN’s talent development. The bank has also worked to create a diverse and inclusive team culture, allowing its long-term turnover rate to remain below 10%, enhancing the depth of its talent pool, and creating long-term competitiveness.

Gen Z is also referred to as Generation P, for “purpose” or “playlist.” Gen Z cares more than Gen X or Y about the mission, objectives, and significance of their work. Moreover, they expect to be able to express their own passion, and shine in the limelight. Their special qualities and digital native background fills them with the skills to challenge their circumstances and elevate organizational resilience.

Wang has also observed that Gen Z has three major qualities. First, they emphasize mission and value: a job’s value lies not only in its salary, but in employee growth and significance to society. Second, they appreciate sincere and direct communication: they speak truly and express themselves, and are less afraid of conflict. Finally, they value work flexibility and their personal lives. They hope to imbue their job with some of their freedom, while also seeking work-life balance.

A disruptive spirit and tolerance of mistakes

Gen Z still considers the financial sector to offer relatively stable salary and career development opportunities, although they also believe that it values risk discipline. Moreover, internal workflows are strict, and the entire industry is stable and conservative. Following the growth of digital finance, the application of FinTech and the digitization are more likely. Through recruitment of diverse talent, an experimental spirit and a culture tolerant of mistakes, E.SUN has reexamined its workflows. Using trial and error, it has also hastened its search for paths and commitment of resources, and completed projects like credit card fraud detection and customer service voice systems. Through the establishment of a diverse, inclusive, and experimental spirit, and a culture tolerant of mistakes, it has been able to balance risks and regulations, search for new possibilities, and give finance a livelier, more interesting environment.

“The brainstorming of three generations condenses down into consensus,” said Wang. E.SUN particularly values its cooperative team culture; different departments, specializations, and generations of employees are all invited to jointly participate in important policy decision meetings, and all opinions are listened to attentively and distilled into the team consensus. The bank also allows younger employees the opportunity to help determine important policies and study operational teams’ strategies and thinking.

Accessing campuses is important. Thus, while continuing to expand internship channels, E.SUN will also establish AI centers at National Taiwan University, Yanming Chiaotung University, and Academia Sinica, and will hold open AI and business competitions. This way, scholars can understand both financial practices in Taiwan and E.SUN’s development, and E.SUN can create a name for itself among on-campus talent. In addition, it is targeting the social networks used by Gen Z and adjusting the focus of its outreach to plan different training methods for different groups. This allows fresh talent to more clearly understand their own growth and career development to consider paths similar to those in executive training programs, business analysts, RM, and wealth management professionals. E.SUN also shares how it links its core business with ESG through lectures and company visits.

E.SUN has continued to design friendly and convenient systems through creativity and innovation, allowing customers to complete certain functions online. For example, 99% of its foreign exchange transactions were completed online in 2022. Internally, it has continued to reduce repetitive and duplicate tasks through digital methods like RPA, allowing employees to focus on more valuable areas of work. Over the past several years, E.SUN has also granted flexible work schedules and dress codes, and has created a sound organizational environment which encourages employees to take on responsibilities outside of their work. Through teams’ tempering of one another, it has created an environment of psychological safety.

Wang also emphasized that while the demands of finance will not change, future methods for fulfilling clients’ needs may change. The future is full of uncertainty. It is essential for Gen Z to not only improve their financial skills and apply technology, but also maintain a mentality of continued learning and openness. Only then will they be able to maintain long-term competitiveness.

A feeling of psychological safety is key for long-term development and identity. Gen Z cares about equality, transparency, and purpose, and needs more communication and empathy when being managed. This in turn requires a high degree of mutual trust and teams that are willing to speak honestly. E.SUN listens attentively to employees’ voices to create an environment conducive to speaking openly. Beyond inviting three generations of employees to attend important meetings, it also requires managers to incorporate differing opinions, actively embrace change, and encourage innovation.

First Bank: Gen Z employees make up 10.65% of the total workforce

Among the government-owned banks, First Bank has actively recruited all kinds of talent in recent years, with 10.65% of its workforce comprised of Gen Z. It has actively built a friendly and safe workplace, and promotes employee benefits and training programs. Apart from leading its government-owned peers in granting employee shareholding and savings trust programs and substantially increasing its educational subsidies, it has also arranged preferential deposit, lending and credit programs for some staff, as well as allowances for vacation and travel, sports activities, and language and higher education. These programs have allowed First Bank to receive recognition as a first-rate company by New Taipei’s “Family-Friendly and Work Balance Measures.”

In order to hasten new employees’ inclusion into company culture and familiarization with the company’s business, First Bank has pushed its “First Good Buddy” employee guidance system, under which a senior employee acts as the Buddy to guide new employees. In addition to arranging for necessary training, the system also provides meals to close the distance between fresh and veteran employees, thereby establishing a sense of trust and belonging.

According to a manager, following the recent development of digital finance, elevating employees’ skills in new technologies and linking their own work with interdisciplinary digital skills have been top priorities. In order to cultivate these skills, First Bank holds yearly courses and lectures on digital systems, digital channels, and digital development. Moreover, it provides classes such as planning management and fintech for business units and digital development teams, which emphasize design thinking, agile development, and data analysis, guiding digital technology into business applications. All these courses contain case studies, assisting interdisciplinary thought, and establishing a creative mindset.

Meanwhile, English is already an essential skill for the youth. In conformance with the Bilingual Nation policy, for two years, First Bank has conducted a variety of English proficiency improvement plans, including competitions, rewards, and educational subsidies. It has also increased the number of bonus points for oral proficiency in promotion assessments. Furthermore, it has compiled English language teaching materials and recordings into a Common English Conversations in Banking video, emphasizing practical phrases and sample dialogue.

In order to promote both the mental and physical health of young employees, First Bank has set up its Online Recreational Learning Platform. These online courses provide employees with digital resources on the workplace, language, arts & music, fashion, and lifestyle. The bank also hosts a variety of recreational courses to help ease work-related stress, and in 2023 it established an allowance to encourage employees to take up disciplined exercise habits, creating a work environment and company culture that promote health.