This Cynic’s Top Ten 2014 Predictions for HR

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I know I’m stealing some juice from Ms. Ruettimann—the original cynic—but  Tincup and Dunn (sounds like a country and western band, no?) have laid the groundwork for stealing art as a meme this week so I’m going with it.  Sue me.  Stone = no blood.

But, in true end-of-year-fashion, I feel it is my duty to lay out my top 10 predictions for 2014.  Be warned because… no, Virginia—there is no Santa Claus.

Here we go…

  1. Execs will still have primo-assigned parking spots.  While we have been promised flying cars for 50 years, they still aren’t here and they won’t be in 2014.  Therefore, executives won’t be able to land on the balcony of their office, but will still park their Audi 8s on terra firma 10 inches from the front door whilst you nurse your 13-year-old Altima into a 10th row spot and trudge through the slush past their empty parking spaces to get to your desk before they do. It’s not fair I know. But it won’t change in 2014 no matter what the employee survey says.
  2. Employee Engagement will still be the meme du jour (or more accurately meme de l’année).  Since no one can adequately define it and measuring it is akin to measuring love, engagement will continue to be the Unobtanium of HR—which, by the way, is the cheesiest and lamest name for a mineral ever.  Really—Unobtanium?  Wow. Talk about phoning it in Mr. Cameron. But I digress.
  3. HR will still have mahogany envy.  HR folks will move into DIY mode and subscribe to the website of Mr. Nick Offerman and learn the art of creating finely crafted furniture.  Even when working remotely, HR professionals will opt for the video background that looks like they are sitting at a long conference table.  (Fake department heads in the picture with you are available for an additional fee.)
  4. Selling Social Media to HR will continue to make up 38% of all concurrent sessions at HR conferences (remaining 62% will still be about the legal issues associated with social media.)  However, the idea that social media will change HR will begin to die a slow, painful death, kept on life support for a few more years by the echo chamber of recruiters and consultants who have gone all-in on the promise of a connected world without any real-life connections. (PS. Follow me on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,, please, please, please.)
  5. Twitter chats will be hit with a scandal.  TMZ will reveal that most of the popular twitter chats are fueled by only 6 people with 1,329 aliases contributing stock tweets with hot-swappable hashtags equally split between “LOL—so true”, “you said Zappos—drink!” and “companies must live their culture.”  #HRRules!
  6. Performance reviews will be gamified.  For 2014, only those who can rescue the Princess will fall into the top right quadrant and get the full merit raise. The remaining pool of raises will be allocated based on the sum of the number of “life capsules” and “rounds of ammo” left at the end of each quarter divided by the height of the employee’s manager.  Those that work remotely will get special gold coins that can be redeemed for logo-identified mouse pads to remind them they are still at work when they are at their home computer.
  7. Emotional Intelligence will be the new go-to hiring metric.  This will change the hiring criteria and only those that can cry on cue will make it through the first round of interviews. Consultants will spring up like desert flowers after the first rain in the spring teaching the unemployed how to cry by watching MacDonald’s Christmas Commercials, Hallmark movies, and anything in a slow-motion slide format with “Arms of an Angel” sung by Sarah McLachlan as its music bed.
  8. Recruiting will take on a decidedly consumer bent.  In 2014, we will see coupons for jobs start running in Valpaks and in the Sunday and Wednesday supplements of your local newspaper. Coupons will vary from getting your resume into the ATS quicker to actual meeting with a human being. Side note: A black market will spring up selling coupons and taking advantage of the unemployed leading to less people looking for work. Can you say win-win?
  9. We will finally have a 20 hour work week. Sort of. Nothing will really change except we’ll just stop fooling ourselves into thinking that we really work 40 hours. Anyone with a computer on their desk hasn’t worked 40 hours in a week since Facebook allowed everyone in on the platform.  We’re just getting real with ourselves in 2014 and, with a wink and a nod to a blind horse, we’ll start admitting we’ve only really worked 20 hours a week for the last 7 years.
  10. And finally, the Big Data world will be rocked by the revelation that it isn’t how big your data is but how wide it is.  The more columns the better. HR data stores will now include all your clothing sizes, your grades from K2 on and the numbers you’ve played for MegaMillions and PowerBall. However, HR pros will revolt and begin making decisions by gut feel again. Which, really isn’t anything new because even though they have been making pretty PowerPoint charts with big data for the last two years, they have been going with their gut when no one was looking anyway. So, status quo on this one.

Those are my 2014 predictions.  I’ll probably run the same post at the end of 2014 but add one about video resumes because let’s face it—we always want to see the candidate before we hire them no matter what we say publicly.  Yeah—I’m looking at you, and you and you. Didn’t know I could turn your video camera on whenever I wanted did you?  Thank you NSA.

And to be completely PC—Happy time of year with more than normal outdoor lights and red-colored ribbons!

Mic drop—Seacrest out!