HR Vocabulary

70 min read

Here we collect various HR concepts, words and phrases, and we will continuously update the list:

Abandonment Rates: A measurement of the number of job applicants that start but do not finish completing a job application on a company’s ATS (applicant tracking system). When job-seekers start the process and then drop out, that’s a failure for the employer.

Ability: A competence to perform an observable behaviour or a behaviour that results in an observable product.

Absenteeism Policy: A policy about attendance requirements, scheduled and unscheduled time off, and measures for dealing with workplace absenteeism. Repeated absenteeism can lead to termination.
Scheduled time off: Excused absences from regular work hours scheduled in advance by an employee for such things as vacation, medical appointments, military service, jury duty, etc.
Unscheduled time off Absence from work during regular work hours that was not scheduled in advance by the employee (e.g. sickness). Absences are generally accepted and sometimes compensated if their frequency and rationale fall within an organization’s attendance policy.

Accessibility: The extent to which a contractor’s or employer’s facility is readily approachable and does not inhibit the mobility of individuals with disabilities, particularly such areas as the personnel office, worksite and public areas.

Acrimonious dismissal: The employer terminates the services of the employee because of a claimed failure of the employee to observe his/her obligations under a contract requiring immediate removal from office.

Action item: Specific activity initiated to achieve an objective.

Adaptive device: Any tool that facilitates greater efficiency by an individual with a disability in the performance of duties.

Adverse impact: Adverse impact exists where a substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotions, or other employment decisions works to the disadvantage of members of a protected group. An inference of adverse impact may occur in the absence of such data and is determined by calculating the extent of a group’s representation or utilization in a given occupation based on the availability of its members in the relevant labour market.

Affected group (or class): Any group in the population shown to suffer the effects of past or present discrimination.

Affirmative Action Plan (AAP): A written set of specific, results-oriented procedures to be followed. Intended to remedy the effects of past discrimination against or underutilization of women and minorities. The effectiveness of the plan is measured by the results it actually achieves rather than by the results intended and by the good faith efforts undertaken.

Affirmative action file: A file maintained by an agency to document affirmative action efforts.

Affirmative action officer: An individual in an agency who has primary responsibility for the development and maintenance of the agency’s affirmative action plan.

Age discrimination: Discriminate against older workers; usually not in the form of lower wages, but may take the form of failure to hire or promote or encourage early retirement or layoff disproportionately older/more experienced workers.
In Denmark, we have a law related to this subject.

Ageism: Prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. It is against the law to discriminate against anyone in the workplace because of their actual or assumed age.

Agent (Insurance): An employee who sells the products owned by the company, in contrast to a broker, who sells the insurance products of several companies. See Broker.

Agile Organization: Also known as agile manufacturing, this is a term applied to an organization that has created the processes, tools, and training to enable it to respond quickly to customer needs and market changes while still controlling costs and quality.

Algorithmic Accountability: the belief that companies should be held responsible for the results of their programmed algorithms. A related term is an algorithmic transparency which suggests that companies be open about the purpose, structure and underlying actions of the algorithms used to search for, process and deliver information.

Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR): An informal process to resolve disputes. Involved parties meet with a trained third party who assists in resolving the problem by arbitration, mediation, judicial settlement conferences, conciliation or other methods. Though usually voluntary, ADR is sometimes mandated by a judge as a first step before going to court.

American Indian/Alaskan Native: All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, government programs, public accommodation, telecommunications, and transportation.

Applicant flow log: A chronological compilation of applicants for employment or promotion, showing the persons categorized by race, sex, and ethnic group, who applied for each job title (or group of job titles requiring similar qualifications) during a specific period.

Architectural barrier: Any non-job-related consideration that excludes from employment individuals otherwise capable of doing the work at issue.

Artificial Intelligence: The branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. Artificial intelligence is much feted but its talents boil down to a superhuman ability to spot patterns in large volumes of data. In an HR setting, artificial intelligence may be helpful to remove biases in decision making.

Availability standard: A percentage figure depicting the availability in the relevant labour market of a group who are qualified under valid, job-related criteria.

Application Service Provider (ASP): Other common terms are SaaS (software as a service), on-demand or Web-based services. A business that provides computer-based services to customers over a network, as opposed to installing the software on a company server (hosted). This is a cost-effective solution for small and medium-sized businesses, which may find it hard to keep up with the increasing costs of specialized software, distribution and upgrades. Smaller, periodic payments replace one-time lump sum pricing. The ASP can be accessed from any location via the Internet. is an example.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS): A software application that began as a way to electronically handle recruitment needs but has since expanded to the entire employment life cycle. Onboarding, training and succession planning capabilities now exist, for example. An ATS can be implemented on an enterprise-level or small business level, depending on the size and needs of the company. Applicant Tracking Systems may also be referred to as Talent Management Systems. An ATS saves time and increases efficiency and compliance for those tasked with managing human capital.

Attrition: A gradual voluntary reduction of employees (through resignation and retirement) who are not then replaced, decreasing the size of the workforce.

Background Screening / Pre-employment Screening: Testing to ensure that employers are hiring qualified and honest employees and that a prospective employee is capable of performing the functions required by the job. The screening can involve criminal background checks, verification of Social Security numbers, past addresses, age or year of birth, corporate affiliations, bankruptcies, liens, drug screening, skills assessment and behavioural assessments. If an employer outsources pre-employment screening, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that there must be a consent and disclosure form separate from an employment application.

Back pay: Compensation for past economic losses (such as lost wages, fringe benefits, etc.), caused by discriminatory employment practices.

Balanced Scorecard: A strategic planning and management system that is used to tie business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor performance against goals. Developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton, the balanced scorecard measure four areas of business: internal business processes, financial performance, customer knowledge, and learning and growth.

Ban the Box: Refers to the box to be checked on a job application asking if an applicant has a criminal record. Depending on the legislation, which varies by jurisdiction, employers may need to remove questions about criminal history from the initial job application.

Barrier: Any obstacle to the realization of a person’s full potential.

Base Wage Rate (or base rate): The monthly salary or hourly wage paid for a job, irrespective of benefits, bonuses or overtime.

Benchmark Job: A job commonly found in the workforce for which pay and other relevant data are readily available. Benchmark jobs are used to make pay comparisons and job evaluations.

Benchmarking: A technique using specific standards to make comparisons between different organizations or different segments of the organizations, with the intent of improving a product or service.

Benefits Administration: Software that helps companies manage and track employee participation in benefits programs such as healthcare, flexible spending accounts, pension plans, etc. This software helps automate and streamline the complex and otherwise time-consuming tasks of benefits administration.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS): An appraisal that requires raters to list important dimensions of a particular job and collect information regarding the critical behaviours that distinguishes between successful and unsuccessful performance. These critical behaviours are then categorized and appointed a numerical value used as the basis for rating performance.

Behavioural-Based Interview: An interview technique used to determine whether a candidate is qualified for a position based on their past behaviour. The interviewer asks the candidate for specific examples from past work experience when certain behaviours were exhibited.

Behavioural Competency: The behaviour qualities and character traits of a person. These act as markers that can predict how successful a person will be at the position he/she is applying for. Employers should determine in advance what behavioural competencies fit the position and create interview questions to find out if the candidate possesses them.

Behavioural Risk Management: The process of analyzing and identifying workplace behavioural issues and implementing programs, policies or services most suitable for correcting or eliminating various employee behavioural problems.

Benefits (benefits package): Benefits are a form of compensation paid by employers to employees over and above the amount of pay specified as a base salary or hourly rate of pay. Benefits are a portion of a total compensation package for employees.

Bereavement Leave: Paid or unpaid time off following the death of an employee’s relative or friend. This time, generally ranging from one to three days, is given so that the employee can make arrangements, attend the funeral and attend to other matters related to the deceased. Many organizations are flexible in terms of how much time an employee takes off.

Big Data: The process of analyzing very large, often independent, data sets to reveal patterns, trends, and associations – especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. This in turn can help employers with data-driven decision-making.

Black (Not of Hispanic Origins): All persons having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Blended workforce: A workforce is comprised of permanent full-time, part-time, temporary employees and independent contractors.

Blind Engagement: A term coined by HRmarketer founder Mark Willaman, refers to the automation of communications on social media. Social marketing software has made it easy for brands to share content and engage on social. The unintended side effect is the over-reliance of social automation including automating thank you’s, shares and even follows – all examples of blind engagement which have the potential to hurt brand reputation.

Blog: A Weblog written for and posted to the Internet using such software as Readers access the blog through the Web (e.g., or subscribe to the blog’s RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed and receive alerts when there is a new posting. Blogs are becoming increasingly important to HR suppliers in order to increase their company’s visibility, communicate with customers, and promote their products or services to establish themselves as thought leaders.

Bonafide occupational qualification (BFOQ): Any prerequisite that has been demonstrated to be valid as a qualification for employment.

The burden of proof: In discrimination cases, the plaintiff must show that an action, practice, or policy used by the employer has an adverse impact. Once the adverse effect is shown, the burden of proof shifts to the employer, who must show that the action, practice, or policy is job-related.

Branding: Promoting a product or service by identifying and then marketing its key differentiators from competitors. The differentiator/s often inspire the name, phrase or logo for which the product or service becomes known.

Broadbanding:: A pay structure that exchanges a large number of narrow salary ranges for a smaller number of broader salary ranges. This type of pay structure encourages the development of broad employee skills and growth while reducing the opportunity for promotion.

Broker: An individual who acts as an agent for a buyer and a seller and charges a commission for his/her services. An example of a large brokerage firm is Marsh. An example of a state firm is ABD in California.

Bullying (workplace bullying): According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute workplace bullying is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work, or some combination of the three.”

Bumping: Giving long-standing employees whose positions are to be eliminated the option of taking other positions within the company that they are qualified for and that are currently held by employees with less seniority.

Business necessity: Under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, necessary to the safe and efficient operation of the business, that it effectively carries out the purpose it is supposed to serve, and that there are no alternative policies or practices which would better or equally well serve the same purpose with less discriminatory impact.

Business continuity planning: Broadly defined as a management process that seeks to identify potential threats and impacts to the organization, and provide a strategic and operational framework for ensuring the organization is able to withstand any disruption, interruption, or loss to normal business functions or operation.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): The managing of an organizations business applications by a technology vendor.

Buzz Marketing: A viral marketing technique that attempts to make each encounter with a “prospect” appear to be a personal, spontaneous interaction instead of an obvious marketing pitch. For example, the advertiser reveals information about their new product to a few opinion leaders within their target audience. In theory, these opinion leaders then talk about your product with their peers, thus beginning a word-of-mouth campaign where other buyers are flattered to be included in the group of those “in the know”. A typical buzz marketing campaigns is initiated in chat rooms, where marketing representatives assume an identity appropriate to their target audience and pitch their product. Blogs are another popular media for buzz marketing.

BYOD (bring your own device): A term used to describe the growing trend of employees-owned devices within a business such as smartphones tablets, laptops and other devices. Many employers have policies that govern the use of employee-owned devices in the workplace.

Cafeteria Plan: A plan in which an employer offers employees a variety of different benefits. The employee is able to choose which benefits would fit their individual needs. Examples of benefits offered in the cafeteria include group-term life insurance, dental insurance, disability and accident insurance, and reimbursement of healthcare expenses.

Candidate Experience: A job seeker’s feelings about an organization’s job application process. Applicant attitudes and behaviours are important for a number of reasons and can impact abandonment rates (the number of people that start but do not finish completing a job application on the company’s applicant tracking system) and employer branding attitudes (an organization’s reputation as an employer).

Candidate Relationship Marketing (CRM): Software that helps recruiters manage and communicate with a large number of job candidates (organize, automate, synchronize job candidate attraction). While an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) serves applicants, CRM software serves job seekers and candidates. The term CRM is derived from Customer Relationship Management (CRM), software that helps marketing and sales departments manage and automate customer and prospect data, interactions, etc.

CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act): Congressional legislation that regulates commercial emails (i.e. commercial advertisement or promotion) and sets clearly defined opt-out standards. Any billing, warranties, product updates or customer service information is not included in this act. E-mail newsletters that are not considered advertisements are also exempt.

Capitated Pricing: Vendors deliver contracted services for a set amount of money per employee per month. This can be a risky strategy for vendors whose profitability is directly tied to how much the services are or are not used (e.g., EAPs).

Career Pathing: The process whereby an employee charts a course within an organization for his or her career path, growth and development.

Carrier: A vendor in the employee benefits space. More commonly used in reference to health care. Carriers (e.g., Met Life, Blue Cross, Aetna, etc.) sell their products through Brokers & Consultants, but may also sell to an employer directly.

Carve-Out: The elimination of coverage of a specific category of benefits services (e.g. vision care, mental health/psychological services, or prescription drugs). The employer opts out of certain services with one vendor and contracts another to deliver them.

Casual Employment: The practice of hiring employees on an as-needed basis, either as a replacement for permanent full-time employees who are out on short and long-term absences or to meet the employer’s additional staffing needs during peak business periods.

Career path: A career path identifies optimum alternative paths of employee progression to positions requiring successively higher levels of skill and the consequent promotional opportunities.

Change Management: A deliberate approach for transitioning individuals or organizations from one state to another in order to manage and monitor the change. Change management can be conducted on a continuous basis, on a regular schedule (such as an annual review), or when deemed necessary on a program-by-program basis.

Chatbots (Bots): A bot (short for robot) is an application that runs a series of automated scripts, designed to simulate conversation with human users – e.g., to screen or interact with job applicants, answer employee’s benefits questions, etc.

Chilling effect: Maintenance by an employer of a work environment or system of employment practices, the effect of which is to discourage minorities, women, or persons with disabilities from seeking employment or advancement.

Civil rights: Rights protected by the U. S. Constitution and various statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment, education, housing, voting, public accommodations, and other matters.

Civilian labour force: Persons 16 years of age or over, excluding those in the armed forces, who are employed or seeking employment.

Coaching: A method of training an individual or group in order to develop skills or overcome a performance problem. Coaching can be between a manager and a subordinate or an outside professional coach and one or more individuals. There are many coaching methods and models, but close observation, accountability and feedback on progress and performance are usually included.

Cloud Computing: Storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive.

COBRA: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. 1985 Federal law that requires employers to offer continued health insurance coverage to terminated employees and their beneficiaries. The coverage may continue for the following cases: termination of employment, change in working hours, change in dependent status or age limitation, separation, divorce, or death.

Co-Employment: The relationship between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), or employee leasing firm and an employer, based on a contractual sharing of liability and responsibility for employees.

Cognitive Ability Testing: A testing instrument used during the selection process in order to measure the candidate’s learning and reasoning abilities.

Cognitive Computing: In general, the term refers to how software can mimic the functioning of the human brain to help improve decision-making. In HR, cognitive computing refers to a host of self-learning systems that in theory, can use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to help organizations automate HR processes/systems and improve talent-related decision making – e.g., tools that ‘predict’ high potential job candidates.

Collective Bargaining: One or more unions meeting with representatives from an organization to negotiate labour contracts.

Compensation: Pay structures within an organization. It can be linked to employee appraisal. Compensation is effectively managed if performance is measured adequately.

Compensatory Time-Off plan: The practice of giving employees paid time off that can be used in the future in lieu of paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. While an acceptable practice in the public sector, the FLSA places very strict limitations on the use of compensatory time off for private sector employers.

Competency-Based Pay: Competency-based pay, alternately known as skill-based and knowledge-based pay, determines compensation by the type, breadth and depth of skills that employees gain and use in their positions.

Competency Modeling: A set of descriptions that identify the skills, knowledge, and behaviours needed to effectively perform in an organization. Competency models assist in clarifying job and work expectations, maximizing productivity, and aligning behaviour with organizational strategy.

Competitive Advantage: In the context of Human Resources, competitive advantage refers to the quality of the employees, as a competing organization’s systems and processes can be copied but not its people. All other things being equal among competing companies, it is the company with better employees that has the competitive advantage.

Community outreach: Activities designed to contact appropriate community groups and persons for the purpose of recruitment.

Compliance: Adherence to laws, court decisions, regulations, executive orders, and other legal mandates governing affirmative action and equal employment opportunity.

Concentration: A higher representation of a group of persons in a job category than would reasonably be expected by their presence in the civilian labour force.

Conditions of employment: Includes, but is not limited to, salaries, wages, hours of work, vacation allowances, sick and injury leave, number of holidays, retirement benefits, insurance benefits, prepaid legal service benefits, wearing apparel, premium pay for overtime, shift differential pay, jury duty, and grievance procedures.

Congenital disability: Describes a disability that has existed since birth but is not necessarily hereditary.

Constructive discharge: An employee’s involuntary resignation resulting from the employer making working conditions for the employee so intolerable that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign. An enforcement agency will assert that an employee was constructively discharged where it finds that 1) a reasonable person in the employee’s position would have found the working conditions intolerable, 2) the employer’s conduct that constituted the violation against the employee created the intolerable working conditions, and 3) the employee’s involuntary resignation resulted from the intolerable working conditions.

Condition of Employment: An organization’s policies and work rules that employees are expected to abide by in order to remain continuously employed.

Confidentiality Agreement: An agreement between an employer and employee in which the employee may not disclose proprietary or confidential information.

Constructive dismissal: An employer’s behaviour (either one serious incident or a pattern of incidents) creates a negative work environment, leading to an employee’s resigning. Such behaviour is considered a breach of contract and gives the employee the right to seek compensation in court.

Consultants: An outside individual who supplies professional advice or services to companies for a fee. Large HR consulting firms include Aon, Mercer, Hewitt and Watson Wyatt. Large HR consulting firms typically work with companies that have more than 1,500 employees.

Contingency Recruiting (Search): Contingency recruiters conduct frontline talent searches and represent either employers or individuals seeking placement. Contingency firms are not paid unless a candidate is successfully placed.

Contingent Staff: Temporary staff that supplements a company’s workforce. Contingent staff may be hired through a staffing firm. Businesses that have fluctuating seasonal staff demands or are in need of temporary call centre representatives often use contingent workers.

Contract for services: An agreement with a self-employed person for a specific job.

Contract of service: Another term for an employment agreement.

Conversion Rate: A conversion rate is defined as the relationship between visitors to a web site and actions considered to be a ‘conversion’, such as a sale or request to receive more information. A 2006 study by WebSideStory showed the following conversion stats for these major search engines: AOL traffic 6.17%, MSN traffic 6.03%, Yahoo traffic 4.07% and Google traffic 3.83%. Search optimization (SEO) is far less expensive than an aggressive paid search campaign and gets you the same amount of traffic. Plus, the effects are longer-lasting, and conversions are frequently in the same range (or even higher) than paid ads on engines.

Core competencies: The particular set of strengths, experience, knowledge and abilities that differentiate a company from its competitors and provide a competitive advantage. Employees should possess these qualities in order to advance business goals.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: The ability to measure the costs associated with a specific program, project, or benefit. The cost is then compared to the total benefit or value derived.

Cost-Per-Hire: The costs linked to recruiting talent. These costs can include advertising, agency fees, relocation costs, and training costs.

Data Breach: An incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data has been viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.

Deep Learning: An artificial intelligence function that imitates the workings of the human brain in processing data and creating patterns for use in decision making. Essentially, teaching computers to process information more as humans do.

Deferred compensation: Payment for services under an employer-sponsored plan or arrangement that allows an employee (for tax-related purposes) to defer income to the future.

Defined Benefit Plan: A retirement plan that pays participants a lump-sum amount that has been calculated using formulas that can include age, earnings and length of service.

Defined Contribution: A pension plan that clearly defines the number of contributions, which is usually a percentage of an employees salary. The benefits payable at retirement depend on several factors including future investment return and annuity rate at retirement.

Deregulation: The removal or revision of laws that regulate the supply of goods and services.

Developmental counselling: A form of shared counselling where managers or supervisors work together with subordinates to identify strengths and weaknesses, resolve performance-related problems and determine and create an appropriate action plan.

Developmental disability: Any mental or physical disability that has an onset before age 22 and may continue indefinitely.

Direct Marketing: Direct marketing is a sales method by which advertisers approach buyers directly with products or services. The most common forms of direct marketing are telephone sales, emails and print (e.g., catalogues, brochures). Successful direct marketing also involves renting or compiling/maintaining a database of qualified buyers. According to the Direct Marketing Association, average response rates for print direct mail (flat mail) are 2.73%), catalogues are 2.45% and E-mail is 1.12%. research shows emails that offer a compelling “offer” in the form of a free downloadable white paper or research report (on a topic that resonates with your buyer) are significantly more likely to generate a response than promotional offers. In all industries, marketers are shifting their spending from brand building tactics like print advertising to direct response-oriented promotional channels such as direct marketing and interactive marketing (online advertising). The research report Trends in HR Marketing ( verifies this trend in the HR marketplace.

Direct threat: A significant risk; a high probability of substantial harm to the health or safety of the employee or others.

Disadvantaged: A descriptive term referring to those individuals whose access to the benefits of society is severely restricted.

Disparate effect: The tendency for a test, selection of job qualifications, or other employment practice to screen out or otherwise limit the employment opportunities of a certain group at a greater rate than others. Also called “adverse effect” or adverse impact.”

Disparate treatment: Unequal treatment in employment opportunities because of one’s race, colour, religion, sex, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, or veteran’s status. Also called “differential treatment.”

Disability: The inability to perform all or part of one’s occupational duties because of an accident or illness. This can be due to sickness, injury or mental condition and does not necessarily have to have been caused by the job itself.

Disability Income Insurance: Health insurance that is paid to a policyholder who experiences a loss of income due to an injury or an illness. Disability insurance plans pay a portion of the salary of a disabled worker until his/her retirement age.

Disciplinary procedure: A standardized process that an organization commits to when dealing with an employee who has breached the terms of employment in some way. If this procedure is not standardized and fair, the organization may face discrimination or other legal charges.

Discrimination: The favouring of one group of people, resulting in unfair treatment of other groups.

Disease Management: An information-based process involving the continuous improvement of care (prevention, treatment and management) throughout the delivery of health care. Effective disease management can mean decreased health care costs.

Distance Learning: Educational programs using instruction via video or audiotapes, computers etc. instead of attending a class in one centralized location.

Distributive bargaining: A negotiation between competing parties that involves the distribution of resources. One party prevails, to the detriment of the other.

Diversity: The collective mixture of differences and similarities that may include: individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences and behaviours.

Diversity Training: Diversity training is training for the purpose of increasing participant’s cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills, which is based on the assumption that the training will benefit an organization by protecting against civil rights violations, increasing the inclusion of different identity groups, and promoting better teamwork.

Dual Labor Markets: a situation in an organization where a smaller Core Labor Force and a Peripheral Labor Force co-exist.

Due diligence: In mergers and acquisitions, the process of carefully investigating the details of an investment or purchase to assess risk and potential value and reward.

EAP: An employer-sponsored program that is designed to assist employees whose job performance is being adversely affected by such personal stresses as substance abuse, addictions, marital problems, family troubles, and domestic violence. For every dollar invested in an EAP, employers save approximately $5 to $16. The average annual cost for an EAP ranges from $12 to $20 per employee. Source: US Department of Labor.

Early Return to Work program: Modified work programs designed to get employees who have been out of work due to injury or illness to return to the workforce sooner by providing them with less strenuous alternative jobs until they are able to resume their full regular duties.

EEO-1 Report: An annual compliance survey mandated by federal statute and regulations for certain employers subject to Executive Order 11246 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The survey details the sex and race/ethnic composition of an employer’s workforce by job category.

EEO-2 Report: The Equal Employment Opportunity Apprenticeship Information Report: A chronological list of names of all persons who have applied to an apprenticeship program. The information needed to fill out the report must be kept by the apprenticeship sponsor; however, the EEOC no longer requires the filing of EEO-2 reports.

EEO-3 Report: The Equal Employment Opportunity Labor Union Report: A report filed by labour unions, containing information on the sex and race/ethnic composition of union membership and referrals for employment.

EEO-4 Category: Any of the categories designated by EEOC Form 164: A – Officials/Administrators; B – Professionals; C – Technicians; D – Protective Services, Sworn; E – Protective Services, Non-Sworn; F – Administrative Support (including Clerical and Sales); G – Skilled Craft; H – Service/Maintenance.

EEO-4 Report: The Equal Employment Information Report (EEO-4): A report filed by state and local governments setting forth the sex and race/ethnic composition of the workforce by job category and annual salary. The frequency of reporting for political jurisdictions varies with their number of full-time employees.

EEO-5 Report: The Equal Employment Opportunity Elementary-Secondary Staff Information Report (EEO-5): A report detailing the sex and race/ethnic composition, by job category, of elementary and secondary school staffs. The frequency of reporting for school districts varies with their number of pupils.

EEO-6 Report: The Equal Employment Opportunity Higher Education Staff Information Report (EEO-6): A report filed by colleges and universities. It details by job category and salary the sex and race/ethnic composition of their faculty and staffs.

Employed: Under criteria established by the Bureau of the Census and the U. S. Department of Commerce, all civilians 16 years old and who were either : (a) “at work,” meaning those who did any work at all during the reference week as paid employees or in their own business or profession, or on their farm, or who worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers on a family farm or in a family business; or (b) “with a job but not at work,” meaning those who did not work during the reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation, or other personal reasons. Generally excluded from the category of employed are persons whose only activity consisted of unpaid work around the house or volunteer work for religious, charitable, and similar organizations, or person on layoff.

Employment at will: The traditional common law doctrine that absent prior agreement to the contrary, an employer may discharge an employee any time for any reason not barred by the law. An employer’s exercise of this power may be restricted by collective bargaining or other agreement, or by specific statutes, including those prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or other factors. In some states, courts have imposed additional limits on employment at will by allowing claims for “wrongful discharge” in certain circumstances.

E-Recruitment: Web-based software that handles the various processes included in recruiting and onboarding job candidates. These may include workforce planning, requisitioning, candidate acquisition, applicant tracking and reporting (regulatory or company analytics).

E-Learning: E-learning is a method of education via the Internet or other computer-related resources. It presents just-in-time information in a flexible learning plan. E-learning can be combined with face-to-face courses for a blended learning approach.

Emotional Intelligence: Based on the book of the same name by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, assess and manage their own and others’ emotions.

Employee Advocacy | Employer Advocacy: An employer branding tactic involving the promotion of an organization by its staff members – oftentimes through the use of employee-generated content (EGC). While social media is often the main promotional medium, other promotional tools include email, chat, forums and discussion boards.

Employee Assessments: Tests used to help employers in pre-hire situations to select candidates best suited for open positions. These tests can sometimes be taken via the Internet and can provide employees with effective training, assist managers in becoming more effective, and promote people into appropriate positions. Types of assessments include those to determine personality, aptitude and skills.

Employee Engagement: Employee engagement, also called worker engagement, is a business management concept. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests.

Employee Relations: Developing, maintaining, and improving the relationship between employer and employee by effectively and proactively communicating with employees, processing grievances/disputes, etc.

Employee Retention: Practices and policies designed to create a work environment that makes employees want to stay with the organization, thus reducing turnover.

Employee Self-Service: A program that allows employees to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR departments including benefits enrollment, and updating personal information. Employees can access the information through the company’s intranet, kiosks, or other Web-based applications.

Employer Branding: A strategy designed to make an organization appealing as a good place to work. This targeted marketing effort utilizes both print and Internet tactics and attempts to shape the perceptions of potential employees, current employees and the public/investment community.

Employer Value Proposition (EVP): The core document for employer branding initiatives. A unique set of offerings, associations and values to positively influence target candidates and employees. Essentially, it is why an employee would want to work at a company. Effective EVP benefits recruiting, employee engagement and retention and can reduce the need to pay a wage premium for top talent. The EVP takes its name from the marketing term ‘Unique Value Proposition,” a statement that describes the benefit of a product.

Empowerment: Giving employees the resources, skills and authority necessary to share power with management and make decisions. Employees are then held accountable for their decisions and rewarded if appropriate.

Enterprise Compensation Management (ECM): The automation of the compensation process to assist organizations in the acquisition, management and optimization of its workforce.

ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act): A federal law that governs pension and welfare employee benefit plans. ERISA requires plans to provide participants with plan information including plan features and funding. It also requires that plans provide fiduciary responsibilities for those who manage and control assets. It gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.

ERP: Short for enterprise resource planning, a business management system that integrates all facets of the business, including manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance and human resources. This is slightly different from best-of-breed HRIS applications and the industry continues to debate the merits of one versus the other. With the growing popularity of web-based applications (ease of use, lower costs) ERP seems to be losing out, especially in the mid-market.

Equal employment opportunity (EEO): A policy statement enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that states that equal consideration for a job is applicable to all individuals, and that the employer does not discriminate based on race, colour, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability or sex.

Equity theory: The idea that people desire to be treated fairly and thus compare their own contributions to the workplace—and resulting rewards—against those of their coworkers, to determine if they are being treated fairly.

Executive Coaching: Executive coaching is a professional relationship between a Coach and an Executive, or an Executive Team. The goal is to assist executives with positive leadership development. It can be provided in one-on-one sessions or via the Internet.

Executive Compensation: Also called executive pay, compensation packages are specifically designed for executive-level employees that include items such as base salary, bonuses, perquisites and other personal benefits, stock options and other related compensation and benefit provisions.

Executive Search: An agency or organization used by employers to assist them with the selection and placement of candidates for senior-level managerial or professional positions.

Exempt Versus Non-Exempt Employees: The difference between exempt and nonexempt employees is who gets paid overtime and who doesn’t. The U.S. Department of Labor specifically designates certain classes of workers as exempt, including executives, administrative personnel, outside salespeople, highly skilled computer-related employees, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. Managers who hire and fire employees and who spend less than half their time performing the same duties as their employees are typically also exempt employees. In general, the more responsibility and independence or discretion an employee has, the more likely the employee is to be considered exempt. Generally, any worker performing repetitive tasks is most likely non-exempt and must be paid overtime.

Exit Interview: The final meeting between management, usually someone in the HR department, and an employee leaving the company. Information on why the employee is leaving is gathered to gain insight into work conditions and possible changes or solutions.

Expatriate: An employee who is transferred to work abroad on a long-term job assignment.

Equal employment opportunity: The right of all persons to work and to advance on the basis of merit and ability without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status or other factors which cannot lawfully be the basis for employment actions.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The federal agency that enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and other federal civil rights laws.

Facially neutral selection standard/criteria: A criterion or process is facially neutral if it does not make any reference to a prohibited factor and is equally applicable to everyone regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity; i.e., is not discriminatory on its face.

Factor comparison: A systematic and scientific comparison, that instead of ranking complete jobs, ranks according to a series of factors. These factors include mental effort, physical effort, skill needed, responsibility, supervisory responsibility, working conditions, etc.

Fair Representation: The duty of fair representation is incumbent upon U.S. labor unions that are the exclusive bargaining representative of workers in a particular group. It is the obligation to represent all employees fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination.

Fair Credit Reporting Act: A United States federal law that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information. In an HR setting employers that run background checks on job candidates or employees must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA): Provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. Current United States maternity leave policy is directed by FLMA. The policy also requires that the employee’s group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): FSAs allow employees to set aside a portion of their earnings on a pre-tax basis into separate spending accounts to fund allowable health care and/or dependent day care expenses. The funds must be segregated as per IRS regulations.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Schedules that allow employees to structure their work hours around their personal responsibilities. Examples include flextime, job sharing, telecommuting and a compressed workweek. Home sourcing has become a popular flexible work concept in recent years. In this arrangement, employees work full-time from their homes.

Forced Ranking: Also known as a vitality curve, this is a system of work performance evaluation in which employees are compared against each other instead of against fixed standards. Based on the “20/80 Rule” idea, that 20 percent of employees do 80 percent of the meaningful, productive work, the top 20 percent of workers are rewarded and, oftentimes, the bottom 10 percent are fired.

Freedom of association: The right of workers to join a union and to bargain collectively. This right is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act of 1993.

Freemium: A pricing model, typically relating to Internet software or a web service, that allows you to use a limited version of the product for free with the option of paying for additional functionality. The goal is to provide just enough functionality in the free version to incentivize the user to become a paying customer.

Full-time equivalent (FTE): A value assigned to signify the number of full-time employees that could have been employed if the reported number of hours worked by part-time employees had been worked by full-time employees instead.

Functional job analysis: Developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, functional job analysis is a method of gathering specific and detailed job information. This information can be used to write job descriptions.

Formal training: A structured program to develop or increase job-related skills and abilities. Typically classroom training, as well as on-the-job training, fall into this category.

Fringe benefits: Employment compensation other than wages or salary, including, for example, annual and sick leave, medical insurance, life insurance, retirement benefits, profit sharing, and bonus points.

Front pay: Compensation for estimated future economic loss; generally calculated based on the difference between the victim’s current pay (or for a rejected applicant, the pay he or she should have received) and the pay associated with the victim’s rightful place. Front pay runs from the time of the settlement, hearing, or administrative or court order to a certain time in the future set by the settlement, hearing, or administrative or court order (usually when the victim attains his or her rightful place).

FTE (full-time equivalency): For affirmative action plan purposes, only positions occupied by an employee designated as “A” (active) in the SHARP system are used to calculate FTE. The per cent of time worked is based on a standard of 100% or 1.0. For example, an employee who is working 60% and an employee who is working 40% of the time would equal 100% or an FTE of 1.0.

Full-time position: Any employment position which requires 37, 40 or more hours of work per week.

Gag clause: Refers to the employment contract restrictions used as a means of protecting the organization’s trade secrets or proprietary information.

Gamification: In an employment or HR context, gamification refers to a process of making systems, processes or other employment-related activities more enjoyable and motivating through game design elements. For example, using game elements to make a mundane activity like benefits enrollment more enjoyable. Gamification has been applied to recruiting, learning and development, employee surveys and many more areas of talent management.

Gender Pay Gap: the average difference between men’s and women’s aggregate hourly earnings.

General Agents: General agents are a middleman for carriers and brokers and usually focus on the 250 employee market. Usually, an individual appointed by a life or health insurer to administer its business in a given territory. GAs are important for companies who sell to small employers or brokers e.g., benefits administration software providers.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU). The GDPR sets out the principles for data management and the rights of the individual, while also imposing fines that can be revenue-based.

Generation I: The term used to describe children born after 1994 who are growing up in the Internet age.

Generation X: The term used to describe individuals born between 1965 – 1980.

Generation Y: The term used to describe individuals born between 1981 -1996.

Generation Z: The term used to describe individuals born between 1997 – 2015.

Genetic-based Discrimination: The practice of requesting or requiring genetic testing information during the hiring process or using genetic testing information to base any other employment decisions or actions.

Geographical Differential: The variance in pay established for same or comparable jobs based on variations in labour and costs of living among other geographic regions.

Glass Ceiling: A term used to describe the barriers – often unseen – that keep minorities and women from career advancement regardless of their qualifications.

Goal Setting: Assigning specific, attainable goals to a person, team or organization. Goal setting is a motivational technique, as workers often rise to the challenges given them.

Good Faith Bargaining: A requirement of the Employment Relations Act of 2000 that all parties to a contract conduct negotiations with a willingness to reach an agreement on new contract terms.

Grievance: a complaint by an employee due to an alleged violation of law or collective bargaining or dissatisfaction with work conditions.

Gross Misconduct: An action so serious that it calls for the immediate dismissal of an employee. Examples include fighting, drunkenness, harassment of others and theft.

Group Dynamics: The way that people interact within a group determines how it functions and how effective the group is.

Goals: Goals are objectives for hiring and promoting protected group members in EEO categories to correct the lingering effects of past discrimination. Goals are flexible targets used to guide affirmative action efforts during the current plan cycle. Goals are not quotas and cannot be used to discriminate or exclude persons from employment opportunities through reverse discrimination.

Handicap: A condition or barrier imposed by society, the environment, or by oneself.

Harassment: Any repeated behaviour, or combination of behaviours, by one or more employees toward another employee or group of employees based on race, colour, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veterans status, or age, and which the affected employee considers being annoying, insulting, or intimidating, which causes discomfort or which has a detrimental effect on the employee’s work performance.

Hawthorne Effect: The theory that organizations can motivate their employees as much or more by expressing concern for problems as by actually improving their work conditions. This personal interest results in increased performance, according to the observations of productivity researcher George Elton Mayo.

Health care flexible spending account (FSA): A benefit plan designed to allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medically-related expenses, such as medical, vision or dental exams, copays and deductibles, as well as other out-of-pocket expenses.

Health savings accounts (HSA): A tax-free account that can be used by employees to pay for qualified medical expenses. To be eligible for a Health Savings Account, an individual must be covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), must not be covered by other health insurance, is not eligible for Medicare and can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

Hierarchy of needs: A theory created by psychologist Abraham Maslow that states humans constantly strive to meet a series of needs, going from physical (food and shelter) all the way to spiritual (self-actualization).

HR Audit: A periodic measurement of human resources effectiveness, conducted by internal staff or with the use of an HR audit system.

HR Generalist: An individual who is able to perform more than one diversified human resources function, rather than specializing in one specific function.

Human Capital: The collective skills, knowledge and competencies of an organization’s people that enables them to create economic value.

Human Capital Management: The challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified candidates, and helping new employees fit into an organization. The goal is to keep employees contributing to the organizations intellectual capital by offering a competitive salary, benefits and development opportunities. The major functions of human capital management include Recruitment, Compensation, Benefits and Training.

Human Resource Information System (HRIS): Business software systems that assist in the management of human resource data (e.g. payroll, job title, candidate contact information). Some of the larger HRIS platforms include SAP and Peoplesoft.

Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO): A contractual agreement between an employer and an external third-party provider whereby the employer transfers responsibility and management for certain HR, benefit or training-related functions or services to the external provider.

Immediate labour area: The geographic area from which employees reasonably may commute to the employer’s establishment. It may include one or more contiguous cities, counties, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or parts thereof.

Injunctive relief: A court order requiring a person to perform, or to refrain from performing, a designated act. For example, injunctive relief might require an employer to cease asking discriminatory questions on its job application.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN): A service provided by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), JAN’s mission is to facilitate the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing employers and people with disabilities with information on job accommodations, entrepreneurship, and related subjects.

Job analysis: The process of gathering information about the requirements and necessary skills of a job in order to create a job description.

Job Board: An online location that provides an up-to-date listing of current job vacancies in various industries. Applicants are able to apply for employment through the job board itself. Many job boards have a variety of additional services to help job seekers manage their careers and their ongoing job search processes.

Job classification: A method of evaluation used for job comparisons, which groups jobs into a prearranged number of grades, each having a class description and a specified pay range.

Job Description: A written statement that explains the responsibilities and qualifications of a given job, based on a job analysis. The job description usually includes specific required tasks as well as an overview of the position and whom the employee reports to.

Job evaluation: A comparison of one job with other jobs in a company for the purpose of assessing fair compensation.

Johari Window: A leadership disclosure and feedback model used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise which can be used in performance measurement and features the four quadrants (windows) of “knowing.”

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Tasks that are central to the success of a business and show, when measured, whether the business is advancing toward its strategic goals.

KSAs: The Knowledge, Skills and Abilities an employee needs to meet the requirements of a job.

Labour certification: Labor certification is a statement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that a particular position at a particular company is “open.” It is the first step in the process of obtaining a green card.

Labour force participation rate: The ratio between the labour force (all those currently employed or seeking work) and the nation’s total working-age population.

Labor Market: A geographical region (local, national or international) in which labour transactions occur—employers find workers and workers find work.

Labor law posting: Federal and state regulations requiring employers to post in conspicuous places a variety of labour law posters with information regarding employee rights

Leadership Development: Activities, whether formal or informal, that enhance leadership qualities

Learning Management Software and Systems: A software platform for businesses and organizations designed to train and educate employees. Components typically include content delivery and other tools needed to administer, measure, track, and report / analyze the effectiveness of a company’s training initiatives. Modern learning management systems (LMS) are often cloud-based solutions, allowing access to training and other LMS content & features online using a standard web browser.

Learning Style: Learning styles are overall patterns that provide direction to learning and teaching. They involve educating methods, particular to an individual, that are presumed to allow that individual to learn best.

Long-term care insurance: Helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period, and is generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

LIFO (Last In, First Out): A method of determining who should be laid off in which the most recent hires are laid off first.

Loyalty Programs: Programs that reward and therefore encourage loyalty. In a workplace setting these programs are often called Employee Rewards and Recognition Programs.

Lump-sum payment: A single large payment given to an employee, usually instead of more and smaller pay increases.

Machine Learning: Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. In an HR setting, an example might be the ability for a computer program to identify patterns and relationships in data to predict a specific outcome such as who will quit a job.

Managed Care: A health care system in which the provider manages the care of the individual for a fixed fee. The opposite of this preventive intervention (or, population-based) approach is fee-for-service. Managed care emphasizes wellness and prevention.

Management by Objective (MBO): A process of defining objectives within an organization so that management and employees agree on the overall goals and objectives for the organization. The employees determine and set goals for themselves based on the overall goals and objectives for the organization.

Managed Service Provider (MSP): Outsourced agency that manages the contingent worker program (temporary staffing) of a business. It consists of a team that helps the client company source and manage temporary workers.

Marketing PR: Marketing PR is the combining of what are traditionally two separate departments, public relations and marketing, to one integrated front whereby all marketing and PR activities focus on reaching buyers directly. Marketing PR incorporates both traditional marketing and PR tactics with social media and other Internet-based initiatives that support the measurable goals of online publicity, increased web site traffic, search optimization (SEO) and, lead generation. A key difference between traditional PR and Marketing PR is the use of a press release. Traditional PR writes and distributes a press release for the sole purpose of securing media placements. Marketing PR does this as well but also uses the press release to enhance website SEO, increase web site traffic and generate qualified sales leads.

Matrix organization: Used primarily in the management of large projects, a horizontal authority structure in which teams are created from various departments and report to more than one boss.

mCommerce: Commerce carried out over a mobile device.

Mean wage: The average wage for a worker in a specified position or occupation, which may be skewed up or down if there are a few extreme examples in the sample.

Median wage: The margin between the highest-paid 50 per cent and the lowest-paid 50 per cent of workers in a specific position or occupation. It is often more representative of the average wage than a mean would be, as it can account for extreme outliers.

Mediation Services: The use of a trained third party to settle an employment dispute. The third-party has no legal authority and so must use persuasion to settle the dispute.

Medical savings account (MSA): A savings account funded by employees in which tax-deferred deposits can be made for use as medical expenses, co-payments, or deductibles.

Mentoring: An informal training process between a more experienced person and a junior employee.

Merit pay: Performance-related pay which provides bonuses or base pay increases for workers who perform their jobs effectively, according to measurable criteria.

Millennials: The demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

Minimum wage: The lowest amount an employer can pay an hourly employee. This rate is set by the federal government.

Minority business enterprise: A business that is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or Native American citizens.

Mission Statement: A description of an organization’s purpose: what it does, what markets it serves and what direction it is going in.

Mobile Recruiting: Using mobile technologies to find and connect with people (candidates) who use mobile devices (e.g., phone).

Momtrepreneur: A woman who has children and runs a business at the same time.

MOOC (massive open online course): Employee learning is done online and designed for the participation of large numbers of geographically dispersed employees. It is “massive” because it is designed to be available to thousands of employees. It is “open” because anyone with access to the Internet can participate. It is “online” because the learning takes place online without the need for a classroom leader.

Motivational Theories: Psychological models that attempt to explain what motivates people. These theories can help employers design incentive strategies.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): A well-known personality type assessment designed to measure people’s psychological preferences. The personality is divided into four dichotomies, with 16 personality types possible. The system is partly based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung.

Natural-language processing (NLP): An area of artificial intelligence concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages, in particular how to program computers to process large amounts of natural language data. It is used in a variety of ways to try to determine different kinds of meaning in documents. The ultimate goal being for the computer to actually understand and develop responses to language, rather than react according to a series of programmed rules.

Negotiation: Bargaining between two or more parties with the goal of reaching a consensus or resolving a problem.

Nepotism: Preferential hiring of relatives and friends, even though others might be more qualified for those positions.

Newsjacking: A PR term used to describe the act of publishing content that relates to a current trending story or topic in order to get more interest in your content.

Nondisclosure Agreement: A contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information.

Nonexempt Employee: An employee who does not meet any one of the Fair Labor Standards Act exemption tests and is paid on an hourly basis and covered by wage and hour laws regarding hours worked and overtime pay.

Nontraditional Employment: Any occupation in which women or men comprise less than 25% of the workforce. Non-traditional careers refer to jobs that have been traditionally filled by one gender.

Non-Traditional versus Traditional Employee Benefits: Traditional benefits include life, retirement, health, and disability benefits. Non-traditional benefits include various types of life management benefits such as EAPs, child and elder care counselling and referral, etc. (see life management benefits). According to the US Chamber of Commerce, health insurance is the most expensive single benefit-cost, accounting for about 20% of total benefits, or about $2,666 per employee on average. (as per a 1999 study.)

Observation interview: A method of assessing job requirements and skills by observing the employee at work, followed by an interview with the employee for further assessment and insight.

Offshoring: The act of moving work to an overseas location to take advantage of lower labour costs. Offshoring usually involves manufacturing; information technology and back-office services like call centres and bill processing. Companies can build their own work centre abroad, establish a foreign division, or create a subsidiary in remote locations.

One Way Interviews (see video interviewing): An interview method whereby an employer requests candidates record video responses to a series of questions. Then employers review the video at their convenience.

Onboarding: The process of moving a new hire from applicant to employee status ensuring that paperwork is done, benefits administration is underway, and orientation is completed.

O*Net (Occupational Information Network): A free online database that contains thousands of occupational definitions to help match job seekers with jobs, which is administered and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

Open-Book Management: A management strategy emphasizing employee empowerment and individual impact on the success of the company by making the organization’s financial data available to all employees so they can make better decisions as workers.

Organic Search Results: Search results returned by search engines that are based purely on the content of the pages and page popularity. Organic search results are not categorized directory results or pay-per-click advertising results. According to, total money spent on search engine optimization represents only 12% of what is spent on pay-for-click advertising (PPC). What makes this statistic so startling is that it is that organic search engine results (those that show up in natural “free” listings) are better noticed, read, and clicked on than the paid listings.

Organizational Culture: The values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that characterize an organization. It is the unwritten workplace ethos that is picked up by new employees.

Organizational Development: A planned organization-wide effort to improve and increase the organization’s effectiveness, productivity, return on investment and overall employee job satisfaction through planned interventions in the organization’s processes.

Orientation: Introducing new hires to the organization and its policies, benefits and culture. Training and familiarization with each department are sometimes included.

OSHA: The Occupation Safety and Health Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency’s goal is to promote health and reduce accidents, injury and death in the workplace.

Outplacement: A benefit offered by a downsizing employer to assist former employees in re-entering the job market. Assistance can include job training, resume workshops, interview practice and career counselling.

Outsourcing: Contracting out non-core functions, such as payroll, benefits administration or manufacturing, to save money and focus on what the company does best.

Pattern or practise discrimination: Employer actions constituting a pattern of conduct resulting in discriminatory treatment toward the members of a class. Pattern or practise discrimination generally is demonstrated in large measure through statistical evidence and can be proven under either the disparate treatment or disparate impact model.

Pareto chart: A quality assurance tool that ranks information, like reasons for certain problems, in descending order. The goal is to identify the most serious problems so improvements can be made.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Online advertising payment model in which payment is based on qualifying click-throughs. A typical PPC agreement has the advertiser paying for clicks to the destination site based on a prearranged per-click rate. Popular PPC advertising options include search engines (right sidebar on Google). Paying per click is different than paying per impression which generates lower-quality traffic/leads.

Pay-Per-Impression: Online advertising payment model in which payment is based on how often the “publisher” (e.g., a web site where you purchase a banner ad) shows your banner ad on their web site (e.g., an “impression”). Typically, prices are set per one thousand exposures.

Payroll: Documentation created and maintained by the employer containing such information as hours worked, salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, vacation/sick pay, contributions to qualified health and pension plans, net pay and deductions.

Peer appraisal: A performance assessment given by an employee’s peers who have observed the employee’s job performance.

Performance Appraisal: A periodic review and evaluation of an individual’s job performance.

Performance Improvement: A plan to improve an employee’s performance in which the performance problem is identified, modified and monitored.

Performance Management: The process of maintaining or improving employee job performance through the use of performance assessment tools, coaching and counselling. The ultimate goal is to better meet organizational objectives.

Performance Planning: An organization-wide plan to manage employees and their performance wherein goals are set for employees, departments and the organization as a whole.

Plan Sponsor: An entity that has adopted and has maintained an employee benefit plan. The plan sponsor is often an employer but maybe a union or a professional association. The Plan Sponsor is responsible for determining employee participation and the number of benefits involved.

Platform Economy: The application of big data, new algorithms, and cloud computing from companies such as Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, and Uber are creating online structures that enable a wide range of human activities.

Predictive Analytics: In an HR context, refers to the ability of an organization to use information and analytics to determine future outcomes. For example, in recruiting one may use predictive analytics to analyze data from resumes, job descriptions, ATS and HRIS systems to predict various talent management outcomes.

Premium only plan (POP): Section 125 is part of the IRS Code that allows employees to convert a taxable cash benefit (salary) into non-taxable benefits, so they may pay for qualified benefit premiums before any taxes are deducted from their paychecks. The Premium only plan allows for certain employee paid group insurance premiums to be paid with pre-tax dollars.

Probationary Arrangement: An agreement between an employer and employee that the employee will work for a set amount of time on a trial or probationary period.

Professional Employer Organization (PEO): A staffing service that is contracted to assume the employer’s responsibilities and risk for his/her workforce. Employees are legally co-employed by the PEO. The PEO is responsible for such actions as the preparation of accurate payroll checks, the remittance of payroll taxes to federal and state jurisdictions and the preparation of various tax information.

Protected Concerted Activity: A legal term used in labour policy to define employee protection against employer retaliation in the United States. It defines the activities workers may partake in without fear of employer retaliation. The National Labor Relations Act, the main labour policy governing labour relations in the United States, defines concerted activity in Section 7. “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labour organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…”

Quality management: A system to make sure that a product or service meets standards of excellence, and that the process by which the product or service is created is efficient and effective as well. The three key components of this system are quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement.

Quantified Self: A movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical).

A qualified individual with a disability: A person with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position.

Quota: In employment law, court-ordered hiring and/or promoting of specific numbers or ratios of minorities or women in positions from which a court has found they have been excluded because of unlawful discrimination.

Race code: A descriptive term used for reference when identifying a specific ethnic group: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaskan Native.

Reasonable accommodation: Includes making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; reassignment to a vacant position; acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials, or policies; provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

Recruitment (or relevant) area: The geographic location(s) from which an agency or organization unit draws applicants for employment.

Regular position: Any position other than a temporary position.

Relevant labour market: Qualified persons in the recruitment area who are available for employment.

Remedial (ordered) affirmative action: Corrective action(s) deemed necessary by a court or enforcement agency to correct or overcome the effects of past discrimination. What the corrective actions consist of depends largely on the circumstances of the employer, or the discretion of the court or enforcement agency. See also “Mandatory and Voluntary Affirmative Action.”

Resignation: The voluntary termination of employment by an employee.

Selection procedure: Any measure, combination of measures, or procedure used as a basis for any employment decision. Selection procedures include the full range of assessment techniques–from traditional paper and pencil tests, performance tests, physical, education, and work experience requirements through structured or unstructured interviews and unscored application forms.

Selection rate: The proportion of applicants or candidates who are hired, promoted, or otherwise selected for a particular position.

Separation: Severance of an employment relationship. The action to separate from employment may be taken by the employee, the employer, or both.

Service/Maintenance: An EEO-4 category that encompasses those occupations in which workers perform duties that result in or contribute to the comfort, convenience, hygiene, or safety of the general public or which contribute to the upkeep and care of buildings, facilities, or groups of public property. Workers in this group may operate machinery.

Skill: A present, observable competence to perform a learned act.

Standard deviation: A statistical measure used to describe the probability that differences between similarly situated groups (such as in selection rates, wages, etc.) occurred by chance.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system: Federal statistical standard used by federal agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 867 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition.

Subjective Criteria/Procedures: Employment qualifications, selection standards or processes that require judgment in their application, such that different persons applying such criteria/procedures would not necessarily reach the same conclusion. A criterion is subjective if it is not fixed or measurable.

Substantially limits: Unable to perform, or be significantly limited in the ability to perform, activity compared to an average person in the general population.

Sub-Unit (As in the State Affirmative Action Plan): A group of organizational elements that together constitute an agency.

Supervisor: An employee who (a) performs some work that is different from that of the employee’s subordinates; and (b) has the responsibility to authorize or recommend in the interest of the employer a majority of the following actions: 1) Hire, transfer, suspend, promote, demote, dismiss, and discipline other employees; 2) address employee grievances; and 3) assign, direct, and conduct performance reviews of the work. The exercise of this authority and responsibility shall not be of a merely routine or clerical nature but shall require the use of independent judgment.

Systemic Discrimination: Employment policies or practices that serve to differentiate or perpetuate a differentiation in terms or conditions of employment of applicants or employees because of their status as members of a particular group. Such policies or practices may or may not be facially neutral, and intent to discriminate may or may not be involved. Systemic discrimination, sometimes called class discrimination or a pattern or practice of discrimination, concerns a recurring practice or continuing policy rather than an isolated act of discrimination.

Talent: Talent is defined in several ways. Psychologists usually define it in terms of 3 key areas, competencies, knowledge and skills. Skills are often referred to as elements you are born with, or are from birth best suited to. Talent include natural skills or aptitude for a particular skill or activity. It is often characterized by an individual’s ease and proficiency in performing a certain task or set-of tasks, without requiring a great deal of effort or practice. Talent include also competencies, you can strengthen competencies with practice, as you can strengthen skills with practice, this often with to ad knowledge or practice.

Talent management: Talent management refers to the process of identifying, developing, retaining, and deploying the skills, knowledge, and abilities of individuals within an organization. It is a strategic approach to managing human capital, with the goal of ensuring that an organization has the right people with the right skills in the right roles to achieve its objectives. Talent management involves a range of activities, including recruiting and hiring, training and development, performance management, career planning, succession planning, and compensation and benefits management. The goal of talent management is to create a high-performing and engaged workforce that can drive the organization’s success over the long term.

Targeted recruiting: Any recruitment activity directed toward any person or group of persons based on race, colour, religion, gender, national origin, or age that is not also equally and coincidentally directed toward all other persons.

Technicians: An EEO-4 category encompassing occupations that require a combination of basic scientific or technical knowledge and manual skill obtained through specialized post-secondary school education or equivalent on-the-job training.

Temporary disabilities: Non-chronic disabilities of short duration that usually have little or no long-term impact. For example, broken limbs, sprains, concussions, appendicitis, common colds, or influenza.

Temporary position: A position limited to a certain stated time period.

Test: Any performance measure used as a basis for any employment decision.

Title VII: Normally refers to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Title VII generally prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex or national origin.

Transfer: A change by an employee from one position to another position with a close similarity of duties, essentially the same basic qualifications, and the same pay grade.

Underrepresentation (underutilization): A lower representation of a group of persons in an occupational category’s workforce than would reasonably be expected by their presence in the relevant labour market.

Unemployed: Under the criteria established by the Bureau of the Census of the U. S. Department of Commerce, civilians 16 years old or over are considered unemployed if they were: (a) neither “at work” nor ” with a job” during the reference week; (b) looking for work during the last 4 weeks, and (c) available to accept a job. Also included as unemployed are persons who did not work at all during the reference week and were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off.

Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures: Principles designed to assist employers, labour organizations, employment agencies, and licensing and certification boards comply with federal laws prohibiting employment practices that discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, religion, sex, and national origin. They are designed to provide a framework for determining the proper use of tests and other selection procedures.

Uniformly applied: Applying employment criteria and processes in the same manner to members of a particular race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin group and others.

Upward mobility: A system for training, educating, or otherwise preparing employees for more responsible, higher-paying positions of employment.

Utilization analysis: An analysis conducted by an employer to determine whether minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are employed in each major job category at a rate comparable to the availability of qualified minorities, women, or persons with disabilities in the relevant labour market for the positions covered by each job category.

Validity: Correctness of a measure, i.e., that it does in fact measure what it purports to measure.

A veteran of the Vietnam Era: A person who (a) served on active duty for more than 180 days, any part of which occurred between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, and was discharged or released therefrom with other than a dishonourable discharge; or (b) was discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability if any part of the active-duty was performed between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975.

Visual disability: A condition in which a person has a loss of vision for ordinary life purposes.

Video Interview: A job interview that takes place through a video technology platform instead of in person.

Viral Marketing: Any marketing technique that induces people (or web sites) to pass on a marketing message to other people or sites, creating a growth in the message’s visibility and effect. A classic example of this concept was Hotmail whereby each email sent via Hotmail included Hotmail’s own advertisement in the footer (Get your Free Email….”).

Virtual HR: The use of various types of technology to provide employees with self-serve options. Voice response systems, employee kiosks are common methods.

Voluntary Benefits: Benefits that are paid for by the employee through payroll deductions. The employer pays for administration. Examples of these benefits include life insurance, dental, vision, disability income, auto insurance, long-term care coverage, medical supplement plans and homeowners insurance.

Voluntary affirmative action: Actions taken by an employer on the basis of self-analysis to investigate and correct its employment practices or practices that appear to have had a disparate impact on the employment of protected group members.

Volunteerism: How a company supports an employee who wishes to volunteer or otherwise offer unpaid services to a community organization, often by providing paid leave of sponsorship.

Wage drift: The difference between basic pay and total earnings, due to a variety of possible factors such as overtime, bonuses, gender, age and performance.

Wellness programs: programs offered by an employer that is designed to promote health or prevent disease. According to wellness programs are intended to improve and promote health and fitness that’s usually offered through the workplace, although insurance plans can offer them directly to their enrollees. The program allows an employer or plans to offer individuals premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, and other incentives to participate.

Whistle Blower: An employee who publicly reveals perceived wrongdoing, misconduct or unethical activity within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority. Whistleblowers are protected from retaliation by the Protected Disclosures Act of 2000.

White (not of Hispanic origin): All persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.

Workforce analysis: An analysis that reveals the composition of employees in a workforce by protected group status and occupational category.

Work behaviour: Any activity performed to achieve the objectives of the job. Work behaviours involve observable (physical) components and unobservable (mental) components. A work behaviour consists of the performance of one or more tasks. Knowledge, skills, and abilities are not behaviours, although they may be applied to work behaviours.

Workers Compensation: A form of insurance to reimburse employees who are injured or contract an illness in the course of performing their job, in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the sort of negligence. Laws vary by state, but employers are required to carry appropriate workers’ compensation insurance, to ensure sufficient funding to cover the types of injures that are likely to occur in their workplace. Such insurance types include disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance, or a wage replacement provision.

Work-life Balance: The attempt to balance work and personal life in order to have a better quality of life. A person with a balanced life is an asset to his or her business, as he or she experiences greater fulfilment at work and at home.

Work/Life Employee Benefits: Work/Life benefits are “non-traditional” employee benefits that assist employees in managing their lives. Employers purchase these services from vendors and they are offered to employees as benefits. These services can make a difference in attracting and retaining employees. Common life management benefits include child and elder care referral services, employee assistance program (EAP), concierge, legal assistance, and emergency backup childcare.

Workforce Planning: The assessment of the current workforce in order to predict future needs. This can consist of both demand planning and supply planning. Many e-recruitment software providers include modules for workforce planning.

Wrongful Termination: A legal term referring to when an employee was fired for an illegal reason.

XML and HR-XML: Extensible Markup Language. A common system used for defining data. Unlike HTML, XML is not a fixed set of elements. XML allows information creators to apply descriptive markup (or “tags”) around each discrete element of data. The HR-XML Consortium strives to spare employers and vendors the risk and expense of having to negotiate and agree upon data interchange mechanisms on an ad-hoc basis. By using XML, the Consortium provides the means for any company to transact with other companies without having to establish, engineer, and implement many separate interchange mechanisms.

Last updated: February 26, 2023 at 7:16 am

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