HR professionals have a tough job: from ensuring compliance with company policies to the recruitment and management of talent, the job is certainly centered around humans. There is also a technical side to the job, often full of difficult jargon and industry-specific lingo. Whether you are an HR veteran or simply a new employee, an understanding of major HR terms is essential. Luckily, we have your back! We’ve created a comprehensive glossary of some of the most important terms to know to make you sound like a seasoned professional.
- Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – any software that helps the company consolidate, track, and manage applicants during the recruiting process.
- Attrition – this refers to anything that results in a reduction of the workforce. HR managers must be on top of attrition, resulting from
terminations, deaths, or illnesses.
- Burnout (as defined by the World Health Organization) – a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been dealt with, either by the sufferer or their employer.
- Benchmarking – the process of using a fixed reference point to make a comparison or measurement.
- Compensatory Time Off – a means of paying employees for overtime work by extra paid time off.
- Confidentiality Agreement – similar to a nondisclosure agreement, this serves as legal protection for a company from an employee disclosing confidential information and materials.
- Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) – a shift in wages based on the change in the cost of living.
- Deferred Compensation – a payment model in which an employee elects to postpone wage payment to a later date, often in regards to a retirement fund.
- Disability – the benefits and compensation an employee receives when they have either a mental or physical condition which prevents them from working.
- Due Diligence – refers to the thorough examination of a business and its content to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
- Electronic Recruiting Agents – tools used by recruiters to automatically search the internet for resumes that fulfill certain desires and qualifications.
- Emotional Intelligence – the unique ability to understand and manage the emotions of oneself as well as others.
- Employee Onboarding – the process of integrating a new employee with the company, a vital process that is crucial to the long-term retention of talent.
- Grievance – a complaint by an employee who voices concern or dissatisfaction with working conditions or claims a violation of a policy or law occurred.
- Hawthorne Effect – the idea that employee productivity increases with supervision, highlighting the importance of regular check-ins and performance reviews.
- Human Capital Management – the strategic deployment of employees to maximize their economic value and their productivity.
- Non-Compete Agreement – an agreement between an employer and employee that the employee will refrain from working at a competitor for a specified amount of time after leaving the company.
- Objectives and Key Results (OKR) – a management style surrounded by a framework of setting goals and objectives.
- Overtime – hours worked exceeding a government-defined number of hours. Employees must be compensated at a higher rate for overtime hours.
- Paid Time Off (PTO) – a specified amount of time where an employee is paid for time not spent working. This generally applies to sick days, vacations, and personal days.
- Performance Review – a formal evaluation of an employee’s performance based on a set of criteria. Often times, the review will detail positives and negatives about workers’ performance and define goals for the upcoming period.
- Retention Strategy – a strategy formulated by a company to retain talented employees in the future.
- Severance Package – an amount of money paid to an employee once he or she has been terminated from the company.
- Succession Planning – planning for the future by identifying, recruiting and cultivating talent.
- Time-to-Hire – an essential metric that provides how much time elapsed between a job posting and when it was filled.
- Time Tracking – refers to how a specific organization tracks the hours worked by its employees. This is crucial to the calculation of salary.
- Variable Pay – the portion of salary that is additional to the base: often dependant on the employer and the employee’s performance.
- Workers’ Compensation – compensation received by an employee who suffered a job-related illness or injury. This is paid via insurance.
- Wrongful Termination – when an employee is terminated for reasons that violate a contract, laws, or “good faith and fair dealing.”
- Zero-Base Forecasting – a means of determining a company’s future staffing requirements by using current employment levels as a reference point.