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Unlocking HR Jargon

A Comprehensive Glossary of Human Resource Terms

Navigating the complex world of Human Resources can be a daunting task, especially when you're confronted with a seemingly endless list of HR terms and jargon. To help demystify this terminology and make it easier for you to understand, we've compiled a comprehensive glossary of Human Resource terms. Whether you're an HR professional, a manager, or an employee, this glossary provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand the world of HR.



The natural and expected process of employees leaving a company over time, typically due to retirement, resignation, or termination, and the resulting reduction in the company's workforce.

Attendance Policy

A set of guidelines outlining expectations for employee attendance and punctuality, including rules for reporting absences, requesting time off, and handling tardiness.

Appraisal Letter

A written document summarizing the results of an employee's performance appraisal, including feedback on job performance, goals, and areas for improvement.


A formal evaluation of an employee's job performance, typically conducted by a supervisor or manager, to assess strengths, identify areas for improvement, and set goals for future development.

Applicant Tracking System

A software tool used by recruiters and HR professionals to manage job applications, track candidate progress through the hiring process, and store applicant data.

Agile HR

An approach to human resources management that emphasizes flexibility, adaptability, and continuous improvement in response to changing business needs and market conditions.


The process of managing and organizing tasks related to the day-to-day operations of a company, including record-keeping, communication, and decision-making.

Absence Management

Absence management refers to the processes and strategies used by organizations to manage and monitor employee absences from work, including tracking and analyzing absence patterns, implementing policies and procedures for managing absences, and providing support to employees who may be experiencing health or personal issues.


Absconding in human resources is the term used to describe a situation where an employee does not report to work for numerous consecutive days without notifying their managers or colleagues of their whereabouts or the cause of their absence.


Business Process Outsourcing

Business Process Outsourcing: The practice of contracting out specific business processes or services to external vendors or service providers to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and focus on core business activities.


Bumping: The process of reassigning an employee whose position has been eliminated or downsized to another job within the company, often based on seniority or job-related qualifications.


Bullying: Any repeated, unwanted behaviour that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate another person, often involving verbal or physical abuse, and creating a hostile work environment.


Bonus: Additional compensation paid to employees, typically as a reward for achieving specific performance targets, meeting project milestones, or contributing to the company's success.

Behavioural Competency

The set of skills, knowledge, and behaviours that an employee needs to perform their job effectively and achieve their goals, including communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership.

Balanced Scorecard

A strategic management tool that measures a company's performance using a balanced set of metrics across different areas, including financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth.

Basic Salary

The fixed amount of money paid to an employee for their regular work hours, before any additional compensation, such as overtime pay, bonuses, or benefits, is added.

Background Verification

The process of verifying the accuracy and authenticity of an individual's employment history, educational qualifications, criminal records, and other relevant background information to ensure they meet the requirements for a particular job.



Coaching: The process of providing guidance, feedback, and support to employees to help them develop their skills, overcome obstacles, and achieve their career goals.


Competency: The set of knowledge, skills, and behaviours that an employee needs to perform their job effectively and achieve their goals, including technical expertise, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal skills.

Cost Per Hire

Cost-Per-Hire: The total cost incurred by a company to fill a vacant position, including recruiting, advertising, interviewing, and training expenses, divided by the number of hires.

Confirmation Letter

Confirmation Letter: A formal letter sent to an employee to confirm their employment status, typically provided after a successful probationary period or initial evaluation.

CTC: Cost To Company

CTC: Cost To Company - a term used to describe the total cost of employing an individual, including their salary, benefits, taxes, and other related expenses.

Compensatory Time Off

Compensatory Time Off: Time off provided to employees as compensation for working extra hours beyond their regular work schedule, typically calculated at a rate of time-and-a-half or double time.

Compensation & Benefits

Compensation & Benefits: The total package of salary, bonuses, incentives, and benefits offered to employees in exchange for their work, including health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks.

Change Management

Change Management: The process of planning, implementing, and managing changes to a company's policies, procedures, or systems to ensure they are effectively adopted and integrated by employees and stakeholders.

Churn Rate

Churn Rate: The rate at which employees leave a company and need to be replaced, typically expressed as a percentage of the total workforce or over a specific time period.

Career Path

Career Path: The sequence of jobs and positions that an employee may follow within a company, reflecting their career goals, skills, and experience, and providing opportunities for growth and advancement.

Career Break

Career Break: A period of time when an employee takes a temporary break from their job to pursue personal or professional goals, typically with the intention of returning to work after a defined period.


Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary Action: A formal process of addressing and correcting employee behaviour that violates company policies, typically involving a series of steps, such as verbal warnings, written reprimands, and suspension, and leading to termination in severe cases.


Downshifting: A career move that involves reducing work hours, responsibilities, or stress levels, often to achieve a better work-life balance or transition to retirement.

Deferred Compensation

Deferred Compensation: A form of compensation that is earned by an employee but is not paid out until a future date, often used as a retirement savings plan.


Exit Interview

Exit Interview: A formal interview conducted with an employee who is leaving the organization, typically to gather feedback, identify areas for improvement, and gain insights into the employee's experience.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): A software system that integrates and manages a company's core business processes, such as accounting, inventory management, and human resources.

Employer Branding

Employer Branding: The process of creating and promoting a positive image and reputation of the organization as an employer, often through marketing and communication efforts.

Employment History

Employment History: A record of an individual's past employment, typically including dates of employment, job titles, and responsibilities.

Employee Turnover

Employee Turnover: The rate at which employees leave the organization and need to be replaced, often reflecting the overall health and satisfaction of the workforce.

Employee Satisfaction

Employee Satisfaction: The level of satisfaction and happiness that employees have with their work and the organization, often measured through surveys, feedback, and other metrics.

Employee Retention

Employee Retention: The process of retaining employees within the organization, often through the implementation of retention strategies, such as career development, recognition, and work-life balance.

Employee Wellness

Employee Wellness: Programs and initiatives designed to promote the physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being of employees, often including fitness programs, health screenings, and stress management resources.

Employee Lifecycle

Employee Lifecycle: The stages that an employee goes through during their employment with an organization, from recruitment and onboarding to development, retention, and separation.

Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: The level of commitment, motivation, and involvement that employees have with their work and the organization, often measured through surveys, feedback, and other metrics.

Employee Empowerment

Employee Empowerment: The process of enabling and encouraging employees to take ownership of their work, make decisions, and contribute to the success of the organization.

Employee Benefits Administration

Employee Benefits Administration: The process of managing and administering employee benefits programs, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks, often including enrollment, eligibility, and claims processing.

Employee Relations

Employee Relations: The process of managing and improving the relationship between employees and the organization, often focusing on employee communication, engagement, and satisfaction.

Employee Referral

Employee Referral: A recruitment strategy that involves employees referring potential candidates for job openings within their organization, often incentivized by referral bonuses or rewards.

Employee Database

Employee Database: A centralized system that stores and manages employee information, such as personal data, employment history, benefits, and performance records.

Employee Orientation

Employee Orientation: A formal process of introducing new employees to the company culture, values, policies, and procedures, typically conducted during the first few days of employment.

Employee Onboarding

Employee Onboarding: The process of welcoming and integrating new employees into the organization, providing them with the necessary information, tools, and resources to become productive members of the team.


E-recruitment: The process of using electronic or online resources, such as job boards, social media, or company websites, to attract, screen, and hire potential candidates for job openings.

Employee Assessments

Employee Assessments: A systematic process of evaluating an employee's performance, skills, and competencies, typically using a variety of methods such as self-assessments, peer reviews, and supervisor evaluations.


Functional Job Analysis

Functional Job Analysis: A job analysis method that focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job, as well as the tools, equipment, and work environment involved.

Forced Ranking

Forced Ranking: A performance management system that involves ranking employees based on their performance, often using a forced distribution curve, and using the rankings to make decisions about compensation, promotions, and termination.

Floating Holidays

Floating Holidays: A type of paid time off that allows employees to choose the days they want to take off, typically separate from other types of vacation or sick leave.

Factor Comparison

Factor Comparison: A job evaluation method that compares different job factors, such as skills, knowledge, and experience, and assigns a numerical value to each factor to determine the relative worth of the job.


Gross Salary

Gross Salary: An employee's salary before any deductions, such as taxes or benefits, are taken out.

Gross Misconduct

Gross Misconduct: Serious misconduct by an employee that violates company policies or ethical standards, and may result in immediate termination of employment.


Grievance: A complaint raised by an employee regarding a workplace issue, such as unfair treatment or violation of policies, which requires investigation and resolution.


Gratuity: A sum of money paid by an employer to an employee as a reward for long service or as a retirement benefit, typically calculated based on the employee's salary and years of service.


Gamification: The application of game design principles and mechanics to non-game contexts, such as employee training, to increase engagement, motivation, and productivity.

Gender Equity

Gender Equity: A concept that aims to create equal opportunities and treatment for individuals of different genders, eliminating discrimination and bias.


Human Resource Outsourcing

Human Resource Outsourcing: The practice of contracting HR-related services to an external provider, such as payroll processing, benefits administration, or recruitment.

HRIS (Human Resource Information System)

HRIS (Human Resource Information System): A software system that stores and manages employee data, including personal information, employment history, and performance evaluations.

Human Resources Analytics

Human Resources Analytics: The use of data analysis and modeling techniques to gain insights into HR-related issues, such as employee retention and engagement.

Human Capital Management

Human Capital Management: The strategic management of an organization's workforce to maximize their potential and contribution to the organization's success.

HRMS (Human Resource Management System)

HRMS (Human Resource Management System): A software system designed to manage HR-related tasks and information, such as employee data, benefits administration, and performance management.

HR Software

HR Software: A type of software designed to help organizations manage and automate HR-related tasks, such as payroll, time and attendance tracking, and employee data management.

HR Generalist

HR Generalist: An HR professional who has knowledge and experience in a range of HR areas, such as recruitment, compensation and benefits, and employee relations.

HR Consulting

HR Consulting: Providing expert advice and guidance to organizations on a range of HR-related issues, such as talent acquisition, employee engagement, and performance management.


Hierarchy: A system of organizing employees in a company based on levels of authority and responsibility, typically with top-level executives at the highest level and entry-level employees at the lowest.

HR Audit

HR Audit: A process of evaluating the effectiveness of an organization's HR policies and practices, including compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and identifying areas for improvement.

Hawthorne Effect

Hawthorne Effect: The phenomenon where individuals modify their behaviour when they know they are being observed, often resulting in improved performance.



Internship: A temporary work arrangement where a student or recent graduate works in a company to gain practical experience and apply their academic knowledge to real-world situations.

Informal Communication

Informal Communication: Communication that occurs between employees without the use of formal channels, such as emails or official meetings, and is often based on personal relationships and social networks.


Induction: The process of introducing new employees to the organization, its culture, policies, and practices, with the goal of helping them become productive and engaged members of the workforce.

Incentive Pay

Incentive Pay: A type of compensation paid to employees as a reward for achieving specific goals or objectives, such as meeting sales targets or improving productivity.


Job Classification

Job Classification: A system of organizing jobs into categories based on factors such as skill level, responsibility, and salary range, with the goal of creating a clear and consistent structure for managing employee compensation and career development.

Job Rotation

Job Rotation: A practice of moving employees through different jobs or departments in an organization to help them gain new skills and experiences and develop a broader understanding of the business.

Job Evaluation:

Job Evaluation: A process of assessing the relative value of different jobs in an organization, with the goal of ensuring that salaries and benefits are fair and equitable.

Job Description

Job Description: A document that outlines the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and other requirements of a job, with the goal of helping job seekers understand the job and employers find the right candidates.

Job Board

Job Board: An online platform where employers can post job vacancies and job seekers can search and apply for job openings.

Job Analysis:

Job Analysis: A process of gathering and analyzing information about the duties, responsibilities, and requirements of a job, with the goal of creating a detailed job description.


KSAs: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

KSAs: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities; this refers to the set of qualities and characteristics that an individual possesses, which are relevant and essential to perform a particular job or task.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management: The process of creating, sharing, using, and managing knowledge and information within an organization, with the goal of improving productivity, innovation, and decision-making.

Key Results (KR)


Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Metrics or quantifiable measures used to evaluate the performance of individuals, teams, or organizations, against specific goals or objectives.


Learning Management System

Learning Management System: A software application or platform designed to manage and deliver training and development programs for employees, including online courses, webinars, and other types of learning content.

Leadership Development

Leadership Development: A process of developing and nurturing the skills and abilities of individuals in leadership positions, with the goal of improving their performance and effectiveness as leaders.


Layoff: A temporary or permanent termination of employment initiated by an employer due to business reasons, such as a reduction in workforce or restructuring of the organization.

Lateral Recruitment

Lateral Recruitment: The process of hiring individuals from within the organization for a different role, position, or department, usually to retain experienced employees and offer career development opportunities.

Leave Management:

Leave Management: The process of tracking and managing employee time-off requests, including vacation time, sick leave, and other types of leave, with the goal of ensuring that the organization runs smoothly and employee needs are met.

Labor Union

Labor Union: An organization formed by workers to protect their rights and interests in the workplace, negotiate better wages and working conditions with employers, and collectively bargain for better contracts.


Measurement Techniques

Methods used to collect and analyze data, such as surveys, interviews, or performance evaluations, to assess performance or measure progress toward goals.

Mean Wage

The average wage earned by a particular group of workers, usually calculated by adding up all the wages earned and dividing by the number of workers.


A professional relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable person (the mentor) provides guidance, advice, and support to a less experienced or knowledgeable person (the mentee) to help them develop their skills, knowledge, and career

Metric Pay

A type of pay structure in which employee compensation is based on specific metrics or performance indicators, such as sales targets or production quotas.


A set of measurable indicators or data points used to assess performance, progress, and results in an organization, department, or individual employee.


A management style in which a manager closely controls and supervises the work of their employees, often to an excessive degree, which can be demotivating and counterproductive.

Mandatory Benefits

Benefits that employers are required by law to provide to their employees, such as workers' compensation, social security, and unemployment insurance.


Nondisclosure Agreement

Nondisclosure Agreement: A legal contract between two or more parties that prohibits the sharing of confidential or proprietary information without permission, often used in employment contracts or business partnerships.


Nepotism: A practice of favouring relatives or friends, especially in business or hiring practices, over other qualified candidates.

Net Salary

The amount of an employee's salary after all deductions and taxes have been taken out.



The practice of contracting out business functions or services to an external provider, often to reduce costs or improve efficiency.


The process of introducing new employees to their job duties, the company culture, and other relevant information to help them get started in their new role.

Organizational Development

The process of improving an organization's effectiveness and efficiency through planned interventions, such as training and development, process improvement, or culture change.

Organizational Culture

Organizational Culture: The shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that shape an organization's identity and influence employee behavior.

Organizational Change

The process of making significant changes to an organization's structure, processes, or culture to improve performance or respond to external factors.


The process of integrating new employees into an organization, including orientation, training, and socialization.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

Objectives and Key Results (OKR): A goal-setting framework that helps companies define and track their objectives and progress towards achieving them.


Offshoring: The practice of moving a company's business processes or services to another country, often to reduce costs or gain access to specialized skills.

Offer Letter

Offer Letter: A formal document that outlines the terms and conditions of a job offer to a potential employee.


Probationary Arrangements

The specific terms and conditions of an employee's probationary period, including performance expectations and evaluation criteria.

Probationary Period

A trial period during which an employee's job performance is evaluated before being confirmed in the role.

Performance Planning

The process of setting performance goals and objectives for individual employees or teams.

Performance Improvement

The process of identifying and addressing performance issues in order to improve employee productivity and effectiveness.

People Operations:

The management of all HR-related processes and functions, including hiring, onboarding, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and performance management.

Performance Appraisal

A formal evaluation of an employee's job performance, typically conducted annually or biannually.

Performance Management

The process of setting goals, providing feedback, and evaluating employee performance to improve individual and organizational effectiveness.

People Analytics

The use of data analysis and metrics to understand and improve HR-related processes and outcomes.

Pay Range

The range of compensation for a specific job, typically based on market rates and the skills and experience required for the position.

Payroll Software

Software used to automate and manage payroll tasks, such as calculating and processing paychecks and tax withholding.


The process of calculating and distributing employee wages and taxes.


Queen Bee Syndrome

A phenomenon where a female manager displays hostility towards female subordinates or resists promoting them, in an attempt to remain the only prominent female in the organization.

Quality Improvement

The ongoing effort to enhance the quality of products, services, or processes in an organization through the use of continuous improvement methods and tools.

Quality Management

The systematic processes and activities implemented by an organization to ensure that its products or services meet or exceed customer expectations.



Redundancy: A situation where an employee's job is no longer required by the organization due to business reasons such as cost-cutting or restructuring.

Relieving Letter

A document provided by an employer to an employee certifying the employee's resignation or termination from the company.

Recruitment Software

A tool used by recruiters to manage and streamline the recruitment process.


Process of identifying, attracting, and hiring qualified candidates for a job position in an organization.


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