I was lucky enough to participate in a webinar with Gene Pease and Vestrics on the subject of workforce analytics.

Gene and I talked about the future of human resources (people, data, information), and he took the time to define measurements, metrics and analytics for HR professionals. We both agree that the words are misused.

If you work in HR, Gene wants you to stop being afraid of big data and little data. The data in your HRIS systems — or even in Excel spreadsheets — can help you ask informed questions and make smarter recommendations to your CEO.

Unfortunately, HR tracks a ton of information that only applies to the way we run our departments. And I think many HR departments are bifurcated. Recruiters are focused on recruiting metrics and HR business partners have a different agenda — related to performance management, learning and compliance — that doesn’t always map with business goals and strategy.

Gene and I both agree that integrated talent management suites are helping many HR teams take a holistic view of its responsibilities from the moment where we have an open requisition all the way through to engagement, retention and promotion. And workforce analytics can give you a framework and a dashboard to help you interpret data, ask the right questions, and achieve better outcomes with your human capital investments.

Gene and I also discussed the generational divisions (and stereotypes) in the workforce. Depending on who you ask, Boomers are either old or still relevant. (Guess how I feel?) GenX appears cynical to just about everyone. (That seems right.) And Millennials are a bunch of hoodie-wearing technology junkies who will work for sugar and praise. (Totally true.) Anyway, workforce analytics and workforce optimization can help you cut through the media-driven stereotypes and make informed decisions about recruiting, engagement and even learning initiatives based on real data.

Please have a listen to the webinar if you have a few minutes. We talk about politics, the broken educational system in America, and the reasons why some companies are struggling to find STEM workers.

I think it is a lively discussion. I was in running clothes while we recorded it, which is why I am thankful there is no video.