How to Attract and Retain Future Workforce

| 7 min read
How to Attract and Retain Future Workforce

Effective Ways to Attract and Retain Talent For the Future

Previously, all you needed to attract the best talent to your organisation was a healthy remuneration package and job security. Fast forward to modern times and things have changed. The way employees work as well as the things that they consider important when sizing up a potential employer have also changed a great deal.

The pace of this change is as frightening as it is exciting and the competition for the right talent has become much fiercer than it once was. As an employer, you need to start figuring out how to hire for the future. Research shows that millennials will form 50% of the global workforce by the year 2020. This article will help you identify, hire and retain the workforce for the future.

Which Employees Are Your Future Workforce?

The millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, are finding their way into the workplace in large numbers and changing the dynamics of the workplace. For instance, 20 years ago, Nigerian employers would not allow an employee work from home. Today, we have full-time employees who spend half of the week working from their homes despite having an office space.

Millennials are expected to shape the future of work for many years to come. As a business owner or employer, your ability to attract the best of these millennial employees is very crucial to the future of your business. It is prudent to remember that their career plans, their attitude to work and knowledge of new technologies will redefine the culture of the 21st-century workplace.

What Differentiates the Future Workforce From Past Generations?

One of the biggest differences between the future workforce and past generations is their affinity with the digital space. Their use of use of technology largely sets them on a different pedestal. This is a generation raised with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and are further buoyed by easy access to information.

The future workforce also behaves differently. Millennials place far more emphasis on their personal needs than those of the company that they work for. Below are some other characteristics of the future workforce:

  • They tend to become uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures
  • They anticipate rapid progression
  • They value feedback from the organisation they work for
  • They appreciate management styles that meet their needs
  • They have the ambition to learn and rise quickly in their chosen career
  • They are eager to switch jobs if their expectations are not being met


The beautiful thing about the future workforce is how much they currently pervade the workplace. Some of the top brands in Nigeria that have been extremely successful at attracting the future workforce are those that are naturally innovative.

Google and Apple rank highly among organisations that have been able to attract and retain the future workforce. Ironically, these companies do not focus entirely on targeting millennials. Rather, what happens is that their management style, culture, recruitment and retention strategies naturally appeal to the millennial generation. As a result, they easily absorb a large portion of the best talent available.

So How Do You Attract the Future Workforce?

Attracting millennials requires a very strategic approach. There are more things that appeal to them in life than just having a job that offers them steady promotion. Below are some of the ways to attract and retain them:

Workspace: Millennials care greatly about where they work as much as they care about the work itself. The future workforce is not people you can confine into a cubicle space at work from 9 to 5. They relish open space and interaction. You need to start identifying ways to ensure your current workspace encourages creativity, interactions and collaboration.

Opportunities for career progression: In the past, you could hire a Banner Ads Executive and two years after, he/she is still within your organisation with the same job title. This is not something you can achieve with the future workforce. Steady growth is a fundamental part of a job for millennials. You need to ensure opportunities for growth, else they will seek it somewhere else.  Merely having a job will not cut it for this category of employees.

Continuous Training: Skill acquisition and development is something the future workforce look out for. Regardless of what their specialisations are, you should consider training an integral part of your culture. For instance, a millennial who has to choose between an organisation paying N300,000 with poor training culture and one paying N200,000 with annual training in foreign countries will opt for the latter.

Benefits and Packages: For the millennial, the salary alone is not enough. There should be benefits that he/she finds good enough to be interested in working with your company instead of others. The situation becomes even more sensitive when dealing with qualified candidates who know that they will always get the kind of job they want. There are several benefits you can incorporate into your company culture and some of them include performance bonus, vacation, paid sick days, health care insurance and paid time off. For instance, General Electric, which ranked number one in the 2016 list of Best 100 Companies to Work For in Nigeria provides financial and intellectual support and guidance to individuals with innovative ideas. Twitter is also known to provide its employees with 3 meals a day

Flexible working arrangement: The future of work is not one where employees sit behind their laptops from 9-5. Rather, Millennials gravitate towards companies that offer them a flexible working arrangement. For instance, they want to be able to work remotely. They want to be able to work from home on some days of the week. The more flexible your working arrangement is, the more attractive your organisation will be to the future workforce.

Opportunities to work in other countries: Does your company have an exchange programme where your employees are encouraged to travel and work with other teams in countries where the business is also domiciled? These are the types of opportunities Millennials look out for.

Positive employer reputation: Millennials are particularly interested in the reputation of your business and brand. According to a survey on recruitment, 69% of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation even if they were unemployed. On the other hand, if your company has a good reputation, for instance, if you are known for hiring the smartest people, there is a very high chance that a lot of millennials would be excited about the prospect of working with your company.

Creativity: The more creatively inclined your organisation is, the more attractive you will be in the estimation of the future workforce. The digital space thrives on creativity and possibility and since this is where the future of work is, your company culture would need to tilt strongly in this direction.

Leadership: The future workforce is keen on the brand of leadership you are bringing to the table. They need to know that you have integrity in and out of the workplace and once this is established, their loyalty to you has the potential to move a few notches higher.

A Sense of Fulfilment: If a millennial ever gets to that point where he/she does not get the sense of fulfilment he/she craves, such employees waste no time in moving on and seeking this elsewhere.

You should remember that the best talent is bound to have options when it comes to considering an organisation as a place they want to work. Throwing more money at them isn’t going to get you to that point where you are considered one of the best companies to work for. Recruitment experts also make it easier to hire the future workforce regardless of the ever evolving nature of market trends.

The Jobberman CEO will be hosting a webinar to discuss practical ways of identifying, hiring and the future workforce in as little as four days.

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Samod Biobaku
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch,, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.