Employers in finance seek to resonate with millennials

Go where they are and give them a purpose.

That’s the recruiting mantra that area financial institutions have discovered in sourcing the next crop of banking professionals – millennials.

“Millennials are quickly becoming the largest segment of our population, so we – and our members – are working to find engaging ways to appeal to them,” said Duncan Campbell, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association in Harrisburg.

Social media, job boards like Indeed.com and old-fashioned word-of-mouth referrals lead the way for recruiting. Top places employers congregate include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as they prospect the millennial workforce, those born between roughly 1981 and 1997.

“That’s where they live and it’s how they grew up, on social media,” said Suzanne Weisberg, senior vice president of human resources for QNB in Quakertown.

Weisberg said in addition to recruiting with social media platforms and tools, word of mouth remains an important method for finding employees, especially entry-level ones.

Employee referrals are rewarded at Fulton Financial Corp., the Lancaster-based parent of Lafayette Ambassador Bank.

Fulton’s Employee Referral Reward Program rewards current employees and expands the talent pool when a referral directly results in a new hire, said Lisa Johanning, Fulton’s director of talent acquisition.

“Millennials enjoy networking and reading online reviews, and they pay attention to other’s views,” so making personal recommendations is a valuable way to reach them, Johanning said.

Weisberg said attracting talent through social media channels is only one of the changes banks have made in finding and retaining talent.

Additional recruiting incentives are promoting employee benefits such as professional development and promotion tracks, and in-house training opportunities. Tuition reimbursement is another incentive for a generation that “wants to keep learning,” Weisburg said.



Highlighting community involvement opportunities – or giving back – and giving employees a chance to be part of a larger service mission are important factors at QNB and Fulton.

“We’re not offering anything different in terms of product than anyone else but we do offer community investment,” and a sense of meaning, Weisberg said.

Community service could involve contributing to an established company initiative, like homelessness or poverty relief, food or clothing drives, or a cause such as cancer or pediatric illness research, or by organizing and starting a passion project.

Service opportunities are a mainstay – and enticement – at Community First Fund, a nonprofit lending institution in Lancaster County.

A sense of fulfillment, job flexibility and being part of a mission are among the most important factors driving millennial workers, said Cindy Steward, human resources manager for Community First Fund.

Steward said the Lancaster-based nonprofit is a mission-driven lender, whose aim is to impact the community by making loans available to entrepreneurs and socially conscious developers.

Steward said Community First’s core mission is by nature attractive to millennials seeking to make a contribution to the greater good in their work lives.

“We look to serve areas of low or medium income, people of color and those who may face roadblocks in finding traditional bank financing,” Steward said.

She said regardless of experience, from entry level to seasoned professionals, those under 30 are looking for meaning in their work. “They want to do something that impacts the community,” Steward said.



David W. Patti said technology plays a big part in the employment needs at Customers Bank in Wyomissing, and millennials are a tech-savvy fit.

“Two of three divisions are entirely digital enterprises,” said Patti, a special assistant to the president of Customers Bank in Wyomissing.

He said tech staff needs to be quick on the internet, be naturals at social media and have related analytical skills – many skills native to millennials. “Those people are in very high demand,” Patti said.

Patti said a modern bank is a tech company. As such, banks are competing with other industries for talent, including giants like Google, Amazon, Deloitte, Lockheed Martin and emerging fintechs. Fintech refers to digital and software companies that support various aspects of the banking industry, or even compete with it.

“Younger generations are driving day-to-day banking capabilities to devices, such as smart phones, tablets, automobiles and [voice recognition] such as Alexa or Google,” Campbell said. He said tech-savvy professionals are essential for app development, big data management, cybersecurity and fraud detection – all growth areas for many industries, and banking in particular.

Johanning said today’s banks are no longer a place, but “a financial transaction” that’s as likely to occur in a building, during a conversation, through the use of an online portal or on a smartphone app.

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