Did you know that as of 2019, 40% of the Korean population are Millennials and Gen Z? There’s a good chance that the majority of employees are millennials in your company.


5 Things Korean Millennials Hate at Work


With that many Millenial and (soon to be Gen Z) the Good news is Millennials and Gen Z are considered the most educated generation in the history of Korea.

The bad news? Recent research from Chosun Ilbo showed that almost 80% of Koreans agree there is a generational issue at their workplace and 65% of them are stressed out by it.

Stress can come from any sources but here is a countdown to the top 5 things that Korean Millennials hate to encounter at work:


5. Pointless Team Building Dinner

5. Pointless Team Building Dinner

Weekday Team building dinner: Massive amount of alcohol, meat, dinner that lasted way too long, Millennials are concerned the long term impact to their health and

above all make work very difficult the next day.

Furthermore, a survey done by Job Korea showed that over 70% of Millennials identify themselves as “Home Ludens” (홈루덴스족) a pun came from the phrase “Homo Ludens” – Meaning they much prefer to stay and home and find entertainment from within.

So if you are planning on a Team Building event, best make sure it is purpose-driven, add values to the team and something that they would enjoy.


4. Unsolicited advice on their finance, hobbies, personal life

4. Unsolicited advice on their finance, hobbies, personal life

“Why do you care so much about other people on Instagram?”

“If you spend less money on expensive coffee, you could have brought an apartment by now”

“New “_____” (insert bag, shoes, phone case, etc)? Are you planning to be a model? Haha”

For a lot of Millennials, their online lives are just as (if not more) important as their offline lives.

The term Instagrammable meaning ‘ Lending itself to being photographed and posted on social media; photogenic; attractively wholesome’ is fast becoming an important factor in Millennial’s purchasing decision, furthermore, a research done by Ypulse showed over 50% of Millennials said they would buy a product endorsed by online influencers on social media.

How many of your team members would buy what YOU endorsed?


3. When communication breakdown due to the misunderstanding of new slangs 

Every day new words are being created on the internet: forums, in-game chats, comment sections of social media. Not understanding them is one thing, MIS-understanding can cause a whole lot of trouble.

Here’s an example of how “YES” in Korean can have many interpretations

When communication breakdown due to the misunderstanding of new slangs

2. Enforcing outdated and reasonable office hours, greeting etiquette 

Enforcing outdated and reasonable office hours, greeting etiquette

When should you show up for work? On-time as per your contract? 15 minutes before your official start time? 30 minutes in advance? Do you need to report to your team leader that “you are here”?

Research has shown there a big difference in expectations across the generations, but remember the amount of time spent doesn’t not equal quality nor quantity of productivity! And anyways of working should be about adding value to the team’s performance, not for the sake of traditions nor the leader’s ego.


1.When they hear the phrase “When I was your age, I….”

Can substitute “age” with “their job rank” to the same effect 

No alt text provided for this image


The number one thing Korean Millennials hate the most at work : When their managers direct the phrase “When I was at your age, I was…” at them.
Perhaps the intention of the manager maybe is to offer advice?

However one must remember that while the intention may mean well, it the leader’s duty to pay heed to the impact on the recipients!

It is not hard to see that life, education, work, technology, culture, expectations and many more things are drastically different from when “you” were at their age.

Such statements can come across as insensitive, out of touch with the reality Millennial and Gen Z is facing on a daily basis and definitely comes across as very condescending.

Our advice to leaders and managers to use the Coaching approach of “Ask More than tell” Coaching not only facilitate the organic development of talents but also help build a strong working relationship between managers and their team.

Do you agree/disagree with the list?

How do you deal with the generational challenge in the workplace?

We would love to hear from you in the comment section!

Watch this space for more content related to Korean Millennials and Gen Z at the workplace

#KoreanMillennials #GenZ #workplace #work


Follow Us On:

RDI LinkedIn RDI Naver Blog