During the first two months of 2016, the ECCK President Jean-Christophe Darbes will be making weekly contributions to Maekyung Business News opinion column. Each week, the Chamber will share the published article as well as its English translation. Please click here to access President Darbes’ 4th article and read below for the English version: When Staff Relationship Management Converges to Customer Relationship Management It comes as no surprise that Koreans work the longest hours among the OECD countries but show low productivity. They often express envy and disbelief upon learning that the French enjoy an average of 30 days of paid leave a year. However, the French are one of the most productive workers in the world. According to OECD data in 2014, France ranked #2 in worker’s productivity, trailing just behind Germany. The French worker output per hour in US dollar terms reached $49.13. It is nearly twice as high as that of Korean workers – which was $26.22. Long work hours and low productivity have already been criticized by many; and the work-life balance has been gaining more attention now. Yet current discussions stop short of delving into the systemic features and a changing business environment. To begin with, it is necessary to properly delegate decision authority for a higher productivity. In particular, the larger an organization becomes, the less effective a strict top-down management will be as it causes unnecessary delays in approval and leads to bureaucratic inefficiencies. What’s more important is the leader’s mindset in which he/she fundamentally considers staff management as the same as customer relations management. In Europe and America, one of the most debated business subjects is how Millennials (the demographic cohort born from early 1980s to the early 2000s), via their consumption patterns and different value systems, are reshaping marketing and management. The new generation values the meaning of products or companies, and shows less materialistic tendencies compared to the previous generations. Such attitudes are clearly reflected in their job search patterns as well. They are more interested in recognition, autonomy, flexibility, and most noticeably the meaning of their work over a high salary band or promotion. BNP Paribas Cardif Life Insurance for which I work, is also making a great deal of effort to institutionalize a new work environment. For instance, we have developed the work-life balance index to gauge our employees’ satisfaction with their work. Moreover, we are on the way to support out staff by providing tailored career development advice. In this regard, we prefer the concept of “career journey” support over the common term of “career path” management; each employee has a different career objective and developmental paths. A decade ago, such efforts could have been brushed off as a luxury. However, the big data and behavioral data technologies make it possible to provide customized career support for our staff. Creative and loyal employees are the essential part of business development and growth, and therefore, our effort is worth it. The first step to address the issue of long work hours and low productivity is to understand the inevitability of change in demography, social values, and staff management. I believe it is time to think about the management system and the rationales behind it.