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How do we see the world of recruiting and human resources evolving over the next few years? What are some things you should prepare for now? Let's do some "futurecasting."

What is futurecasting? It's the practice of trying to envision your company's future. Companies are always predicting the future of sales and financials. But strategic futurecasting is not just about monetary success; looking ahead in terms of workforce and talent trends can play a huge role in driving business results.

Evolving Employee Base

Here's a little secret that's not so little: generations think, act and respond differently. They also want varying things. How is your workforce shifting demographically?

Research shows that Millennials and Gen Z are apt to want to work somewhere where they can add true value. They often value experiences over material goods. Think this through as you build employee programs that you want to last. Before you design that workplace wellness program or revamp your employer brand strategy, think about what will be required for longevity.

When futurecasting, pay attention to the ambitions of your future leaders. According to Deloitte's fourth annual Millennial Survey, which includes 7,800 future leaders from 29 countries, the bottom line is that there's a compelling skills gap: just 28 percent of Millennials feel that their current organization is making full use of their skills. But more than half (53 percent) aspire to become the leader or most senior executive within their current organization.

Keep all of this in mind as you plan ahead. Generational shifts in mindset, attitude and aptitude will drastically impact your future culture.

Increased Use of Social and Mobile

We're expected to have 2.5 billion social media users worldwide by 2018. Statista states that 70 percent of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile, and 92 percent of recruiters use social media to cast a wider net than ever using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and even Snapchat.

According to comScore, in April the smartphone market was approaching 200 million owners in the U.S. People are looking at those social networks on their smartphones and then applying for jobs and that's not going anywhere. Being ready, technology-wise and otherwise, for mobile recruitment isn't an option—it is something to put on your to-do list now.

People Analytics Provides a Snapshot of the Future

According to Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2016, “In 2016, 51 percent of companies are correlating business impact to HR programs, up from 38 percent in 2015."

In HR, we can measure so much to provide a snapshot of today and where we are headed. People-related data can include skills, performance ratings, age, tenure, safety record, sales performance, educational background, prior roles and much more, all of which can be used to better understand the organization's make-up, performance and potential risks.

To get to a single source of business truth, organizations maintain and leverage both micro (such as individual performance) data and macro (such as organizational trends) data together, unifying it from any and all systems so that it is transformed, standardized and reportable.

Only then you'll be able to plot past trajectories, analyze the present and predict the future needs of your talent, which can lead to measurable improvement in overall business performance.

Photo: Twenty20