Can Banks Capture the Gen-Z Workforce?

February 06, 2020by Shaun Hurst

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Generation Z will expect to collaborate with their colleagues across multiple channels, in multiple formats. Financial services institutions need to invest if they hope to attract talent from this digital-native generation.

Like it or not, millennials have changed the way we work. They have been the driving force behind the rise of co-working. They have pushed businesses to put their values and environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) credentials at the centre of their brand identity and remove anarchic stigmas around work-place issues like mental health, wellbeing, and diversity & inclusion. Their influence can be seen in any modern office, from the bean bags to the full-time baristas.

But just as companies are coming to terms with the needs and wants of their millennial workforce, a new cohort is coming to shake things up once again: Generation Z. Gen-Z, as they are more commonly known, were born between 1997 and 2012. Usually characterised as entrepreneurial digital-natives, this group are just now coming to working age. And as they will account for 32% of the global population by the end of this year, attracting the most talented people from this generation should be at the forefront of any business leader’s mind.

This is especially true for leaders in the banking and finance sectors. Over the past decade, they have found it notoriously difficult to attract millennial talent. The Financial Times reported that between 2008 and 2018, the number of young people looking for jobs in the finance industry fell by 22%. In its place, talented graduates have been enticed by tech companies promising high salaries and ambitions of creating a better, more connected world. According to a survey by Kronos, many millennials who started their careers in the finance sector were later drawn to tech companies for their purpose-driven work, as well as their more innovative and flexible ways of working.

Banks have worked hard to regain the favour of the millennial generation, adopting more flexible work policies and committing to a more sustainable business practices. But what can they do to make sure they attract and retain the coming wave of Gen-Z talent?

Modernise workplace communication and collaboration

First and foremost, these companies need to quickly invest in modernising the way their employees communicate and collaborate. Gen-Z are the first truly digitally-native generation, with all members being born after the internet became omnipresent. Over 92% have a digital-footprint, and when you look at the most popular apps amongst young people, you see that communicating across multiple platforms comes as second nature. Whether it's Slack, Teams, WhatsApp, Instagram or TikTok, Gen-Z interact with each other through instant, multi-channel multi-format communication. This will be what they demand from their working environment as well.

We have already seen significant innovation in this area. Driven by Slack, collaboration tools have popularised a more dynamic way of working. From Microsoft Teams to Zoom, employees have access to a wide range of productivity-enhancing tools. These allow them to work together in a way that suits the demands of the modern workplace and the way that younger people naturally communicate with one another. But banks and companies in heavily regulated industries have failed to take full advantage of these tools.

For most, this is due to concerns of compliance risk. Say a regulator were to open an investigation that required a bank to recall all communications between a group of employees over a six-month period. Doing this with email alone can prove challenging. But if that bank allowed its employees to also communicate across Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Slack, and mobile phone, this could seem to be an impossible task. Companies need to capture all this information as well as ensuring that emojis, GIFs, pictures, voice notes, and videos were all captured in a way that could provide sufficient context for the regulators carrying out the investigation.

As a result, in an effort to minimise risk, banks have steered clear of fully utilising productivity-enhancing collaboration tools and other new forms of communication. Email still reigns supreme in the worlds’ largest financial institutions. Despite some aspects of these tools being accepted, unfettered access to instant, multi-format and multi-channel communication is still a distant dream for many in the sector.

Implement solution to capture and archive modern communications

The issue here is that financial services institutions are allowing themselves to fall behind less-regulated sectors. By failing to find a solution, these companies are missing out on the significant benefits that the next generation of communication and collaboration technology can offer. They are also limiting their appeal to Gen-Z.

This doesn’t need to be the case. The Smarsh Connected Suite gives companies the ability to not only capture data from more than 80 communications channels that are in wide use across the business world, but also store it in its native form. This enables them to have a single pane of glass view into their information with sufficient context to quickly and comprehensively meet the requirements of regulatory reporting standards. And it gives companies the confidence that their employees are fully realising the productivity benefits of these tools in a compliant manner.

Smarsh ensures that banks, financial services institutions, and companies working in a heavily-regulated industry can benefit from the most innovative productivity-enhancing communications and collaboration tools, while minimising the compliance risk involved. Most importantly, it will allow these companies to create a working environment that will attract the next generation of talented employees. A generation that will undoubtedly bring a fresh bout of innovation and increased productivity with them.

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Shaun Hurst
Smarsh Blog

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