Are you prepared for the workforce of tomorrow?

Do you realize that in five years the next generation (ages 18 to 31) is expected to make up more the 50 percent of the workforce?

Fasten your seat belts. This next generation will be more tech savvy for sure, collaborative problem solvers and inclined to work in open environments.

They are going to be more selective about the jobs that they chose, not just basing their decision on compensation alone. Benefits, work/life balance, values, professional development and culture of the organization will play a huge role.

So what are some things that businesses can do to keep up with the emerging workforce?

Have a flexible work environment

We are moving into a digital world and digital workforce; being mobile is a great way to get things done from multiple places.

Create a work environment that is creative, flexible and mobile to attract and retain creative talent. You also become more competitive in the market. A recent study showed that 70 percent of employees would be willing to switch jobs if it gave them more flexibility.

Add personal, leadership development

Attracting employees is good for business but retaining valuable workers is key. The manager of tomorrow will be one who is an expeditor of good thinking and is a team manager.

A good investment is to take the emerging talent and invest in leadership development for employees. It will enhance your bottom line and the value of your benefit package. Promoting development and career growth sends a message of value and respect.

Build a mentoring program

Your workforce will be one that mixes many “generations” at one time. Creating a mentorship program is a way to help build relationships among staff at all levels within your organization. Thus, encouraging open lines of communication, trust and dialog with someone who may not have a conversation in passing down the hallway.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a successful mentorship program allows employees to create a long-lasting professional relationship and helps them to understand the value of networking.

Provide advancement, intrapreneurship opportunities

When workers feel there is nowhere to go within an organization, you see a spike in turnover. This generation will look for the next best opportunity for them to grow. Create opportunities for advancement and ownership of projects within the organization.

Thinking “outside the box,” risk-taking and ownership of projects are some traits of successful entrepreneurs. Embracing these traits and finding ways to promote them are important factors to retaining engaged and successful employees.

Be creative in exploring career advancement opportunities. Nothing inside that will do the trick? Think about allowing a discrete amount of time for employees to serve on nonprofit boards and task forces.


A new world is upon us. Embrace it and watch the magic happen.


Charmelle Jackson is a Human Resources Generalist at The Pittsburgh Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest community foundations, is the 13th largest of more than 750 community foundations across the U.S.