A List of HR Terms Every Team Should Know

May 17, 2023

a list of hr terms every team should know

Are you tired of feeling like a fish out of water when HR lingo starts getting thrown around in the office?

We've got your back with a list of 39 HR terms that will have you speaking the language in no time.

1. 360-degree feedback

360-degree feedback is a comprehensive feedback process that encompasses input from multiple perspectives, including peers, subordinates, and supervisors.

This method fosters a holistic evaluation of an employee's performance, skills, and behavior, providing a well-rounded assessment for professional development and growth.

2. Affirmative action

Affirmative action refers to an organizational policy designed to proactively address historical and systemic barriers by promoting equal opportunities and inclusivity.

It involves taking deliberate actions to eliminate discrimination, such as implementing hiring and promotion practices that prioritize underrepresented groups.

3. Benchmarking

Benchmarking is the practice of analyzing an organization's processes, practices, and performance metrics against industry standards or best practices.

By identifying areas of improvement and learning from successful approaches, benchmarking facilitates continuous improvement and helps organizations stay competitive.

4. Compliance

Compliance means adherence to legal requirements, regulations, internal policies, and ethical standards within an organization.

Compliance activities ensure that the organization operates within the boundaries of the law, mitigates risks, and maintains its reputation.

5. Constructive discharge

Constructive discharge is a situation where an employee is compelled to quit their job due to unacceptable working conditions, such as harassment, discrimination, or a hostile work environment.

It may result in potential legal claims against the organization due to the untenable circumstances leading to the employee's departure.

6. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)

In the world of HR, the term “diversity and inclusion” (D&I) refers to initiatives and strategies aimed at fostering an inclusive workplace that values and respects individuals from diverse backgrounds.

D&I efforts focus on creating equal opportunities, representation, and a sense of belonging for employees of different cultures, genders, races, and abilities.

7. Employee engagement

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment, motivation, and dedication an employee has toward their work and the organization.

Employee engagement is influenced by factors such as clear communication, meaningful tasks, recognition, and opportunities for growth, resulting in higher productivity and job satisfaction.

8. Employee relations

Employee relations means managing the relationship between an organization and its employees. This includes handling employee grievances, conflicts, disciplinary actions, and promoting a positive work environment through effective communication, fair treatment, and policies that support employee well-being.

9. Employee retention

Employee retention refers to a set of strategies and initiatives implemented by an organization to retain talented and valuable employees.

Employee retention efforts focus on creating a supportive workplace culture, providing growth opportunities, offering competitive compensation and benefits, and addressing employee needs and concerns.

10. Employee Self-Service (ESS)

Employee Self-Service (ESS) is a technological system or platform that allows employees to independently access and manage their own HR-related information.

ESS enables employees to handle tasks such as updating personal details, accessing payroll information, submitting leave requests, and accessing benefits, reducing administrative burdens on HR personnel.

11. Employee turnover

Employee turnover is the rate at which employees leave a company over a given period. It is typically calculated by dividing the number of employees who leave by the average number of employees during that period, often indicating the effectiveness of recruitment, retention, and organizational culture.

12. Employee wellness program

An employee wellness program is a structured initiative by employers to promote the well-being of their employees, focusing on physical, mental, and emotional health.

These programs often include activities, resources, and incentives that support healthy lifestyles and work-life balance.

13. Employer branding

Employer branding refers to the reputation and image that an organization projects to attract and retain talent. It encompasses the organization's values, culture, and overall employee experience, influencing how the company is perceived by potential and current employees, as well as external stakeholders.

14. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is the principle that all individuals should have equal access to employment opportunities, regardless of factors such as race, gender, age, religion, or disability.

EEO ensures that fair and non-discriminatory practices are implemented in recruitment, hiring, and workplace policies.

15. Exit interview

a list of hr terms every team should know

An exit interview is a conversation conducted with an employee who is leaving an organization, aimed at gathering feedback and insights about their experiences, reasons for departure, and suggestions for improvement.

Exit interviews provide valuable information for organizational growth and addressing potential issues.

16. Flexible working

Flexible working is an arrangement that allows employees to have flexibility in their work schedules, hours, or location. This may include options such as remote work, flexible hours, compressed workweeks, or job-sharing, providing a better work-life balance and accommodating individual needs.

17. Grievance

Grievances are formal complaints or concerns raised by an employee regarding work-related issues, such as unfair treatment, harassment, or policy violations.

Grievance procedures provide a structured way for employees to address their concerns and seek resolution within the organization.

18. HR analytics

The term “HR analytics” refers to the use of data and statistical analysis to gain insights and make informed decisions in human resources management.

HR analytics involves examining workforce trends, performance metrics, and other HR-related data to identify patterns, predict outcomes, and optimize HR strategies.

19. HR audit

An HR audit is a systematic review and assessment of an organization's HR policies, practices, and procedures to ensure legal compliance, identify areas of improvement, and align HR practices with business goals.

HR audits help evaluate HR effectiveness, risk management, and overall HR function performance.

20. Harassment

Harassment means unwanted and offensive behavior, actions, or comments that create a hostile or intimidating work environment, often based on protected characteristics like race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

Harassment in the workplace undermines employee well-being and is strictly prohibited by law, requiring prompt intervention and resolution.

21. Human Capital Management (HCM)

Human Capital Management (HCM) is a strategic approach to managing and optimizing an organization's workforce by aligning HR practices with business objectives.

HCM focuses on acquiring, developing, and retaining talent, recognizing employees as valuable assets that contribute to overall organizational success.

22. Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a software system that centralizes and automates HR-related data and processes.

HRIS facilitates tasks such as employee data management, payroll, benefits administration, and reporting, enhancing HR efficiency and providing a comprehensive view of workforce information.

23. Job analysis

The term” job analysis” refers to a systematic process of gathering and analyzing information about a job role to determine its requirements, responsibilities, and necessary skills.

Job analysis is essential for effective recruitment, performance management, and employee development, ensuring job fit and alignment with organizational goals.

24. Labor relations

Labor relations means managing the relationships between an organization and its workforce, including interactions with labor unions or employee representative bodies.

Labor relations involve negotiating and maintaining collective bargaining agreements, addressing grievances, and fostering a harmonious and productive work environment.

25. Learning and Development (L&D)

Learning and Development (L&D) refers to initiatives and activities aimed at enhancing employee knowledge, skills, and competencies to support professional growth and organizational success.

L&D programs encompass training, workshops, mentorship, and other developmental opportunities tailored to individual and organizational needs.

26. Offboarding

Offboarding is the process of transitioning an employee out of an organization, either due to resignation, retirement, or termination.

It includes tasks such as exit interviews, knowledge transfer, return of company property, and conducting necessary administrative procedures for a smooth departure.

27. Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into an organization, helping them acclimate to the work environment, culture, and job responsibilities.

Onboarding activities often involve orientation, training, introductions to colleagues, and providing necessary resources to ensure a positive and productive start for new hires.

28. Organizational culture

Organizational culture is the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize an organization.

Organizational culture shapes the work environment, employee engagement, decision-making processes, and overall employee experience, playing a vital role in attracting, motivating, and retaining talent.

29. Outplacement

Outplacement is assistance provided to employees who are laid off or made redundant to support their transition to new employment.

Outplacement services may include career counseling, resume writing, job search support, and skills training, helping affected employees navigate the job market and secure new opportunities.

30. Performance appraisal

a list of hr terms every team should know

A performance appraisal is a formal evaluation process to assess and review an employee's job performance against predetermined goals and criteria. Performance appraisals provide feedback, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and inform decisions related to promotions, compensation, and development plans.

31. Performance improvement plan (PIP)

A performance improvement plan (PIP) is a structured intervention used to address employee performance issues.

A PIP outlines specific performance expectations, goals, and timelines, providing an opportunity for employees to improve their performance through feedback, support, and monitoring.

32. Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is the practice of engaging an external provider to handle some or all aspects of the recruitment process on behalf of an organization.

RPO services can include sourcing, screening, interviewing, and onboarding, allowing organizations to leverage external expertise and resources.

33. Succession planning

Succession planning is a proactive process that identifies and develops potential candidates to fill key positions within an organization in the event of planned or unplanned vacancies.

It ensures a pipeline of qualified individuals, reducing disruptions and enabling smooth leadership transitions.

34. Talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is the strategic process of attracting, sourcing, and recruiting skilled individuals to fulfill the current and future talent needs of an organization.

Talent acquisition involves activities such as employer branding, candidate sourcing, assessment, and selection to ensure the right talent is hired.

35. Telecommuting

Telecommuting is a work arrangement where employees have the flexibility to work remotely, typically from their homes, using technology to connect with colleagues and perform their job duties.

Telecommuting provides flexibility and work-life balance, enhancing productivity in certain roles.

36. Total rewards

The term “total rewards” refers to a comprehensive approach to employee compensation and benefits that goes beyond just salary.

These rewards include things such as base pay, incentives, benefits, recognition programs, work-life balance initiatives, and career development opportunities, aiming to attract, motivate, and retain employees.

37. Whistleblower

A whistleblower is an individual who exposes wrongdoing, unethical practices, or illegal activities within an organization.

Whistleblowers play a critical role in promoting transparency and accountability, often protected by laws to encourage reporting without fear of retaliation.

38. Workforce diversity

Workforce diversity is the representation of individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, genders, races, and abilities within the workforce.

Workforce diversity fosters a more inclusive and innovative work environment, embracing varied perspectives and experiences to drive organizational success.

39. Workforce planning

Workforce planning is the strategic process of analyzing and forecasting an organization's current and future workforce needs, and aligning human resource strategies with business goals.

Workforce planning involves assessing skills gaps, talent availability, succession planning, and implementing strategies to ensure the right workforce is in place.