20 Human Resource Terms



1. Attrition - This term refers to the voluntary and involuntary terminations, deaths and employee retirements that result in a reduction to the employer's physical workforce. If you work in a human resources department at a large organization, keeping track of attrition trends can be a job in and of itself. 

2. Balanced Scorecard - Developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton, the term “balanced scorecard” refers to a management and measurement system, which evaluates four areas of business: internal business processes, financial performance, customer knowledge and learning and growth.

3. Behavioral Competency - Behavioral competency is essentially an evaluation of the behavior qualities and character traits of an employee. How these competencies are defined can vary by employer, but fundamentally they revolve around people skills, managerial skills and achievement skills. Certain positions work better for certain behavioral competencies, and these particular markers will help determine whether a candidate will be successful at the position he or she is applying for—as you might imagine, a candidate applying for a managerial position should have strong achievement and development-related competencies. 

4. Bench-marking - Bench-marking is a process of measuring the performance of an organization or team through a variety of metrics—for example, customer satisfaction rate, sales and retention—for future comparison. Bench-marking can be used to compare internal performance and the external performance of competitors to measure if improvement has occurred. 

5. Broad Banding - Broad banding is a pay structure that places less emphasis on hierarchy than job duties, skills and performance. This type of pay structure encourages the development of a wide variety of employee skills and growth but comes with a significant decrease in promotion opportunities. For example, a company that subscribes to broad banding may have a larger range of potential salaries for a marketing specialist, while a company that doesn’t is likely to have multiple titles with a smaller range of potential salaries for each (for example: junior marketing specialist, marketing specialist and sr. marketing specialist). 

6. Bumping - Bumping is a practice that gives established senior employees whose positions are to be eliminated the option of taking other positions—often a step down, complete with less pay—within the company that they are qualified for and that are currently held by employees with less seniority. This is a way for an organization to retain institutional knowledge and experienced workers.  
7. Change Management - This is a considered approach for transitioning individuals or organizations from one state to another in order to manage and monitor change. Companies can stay ahead of the game when they think ahead about how they can manage the introduction, implementation and consequences of major organizational changes. 

8. Confidentiality Agreement - This is an agreement between an employer and employee in which the employee may not disclose branded, patented or confidential information. Many companies have protected information that, if leaked, could be devastating for the brand or welfare of the organization—a confidentiality agreement serves as legal protection from this.

9. Distributive Bargaining - Distributive bargaining is the negotiation between competing parties that involves the distribution of a finite resource. One party prevails, to the detriment of the other.

10. Due Diligence - Generally speaking, due diligence refers to the steps taken to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. In mergers and acquisitions, due diligence is the process of thoroughly examining the details of an investment or purchase to ensure all paperwork and documentation is up to date and compliant. 

11. Emotional Intelligence - Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, assess and manage ones’ own emotions, as well as others’ emotions. High emotional intelligence is a must-have skill for those working in human resources. 

12. Exit interview – An exit interview is the final meeting between management and an employee leaving the company. Information is gathered to gain insight into work conditions and possible changes or solutions, and the employee has a chance to explain why he or she is leaving. 

13. Freedom Of Association - Freedom of association is a right for people to associate with (or leave) any group of their choosing. That group also has the right to take collective action in pursuit of its members’ interests. In an HR context, this generally refers to workers’ freedom to form labor unions. 

14. Grievance - A grievance is a complaint brought forward by an employee about an alleged violation of law or dissatisfaction with work conditions. 

15. Gross Misconduct - Gross misconduct is an action so serious that it calls for the immediate dismissal of an employee. Physical violence and intoxication at work are two common examples of this. 

16. Hawthorne Effect - The Hawthorne effect is a phenomenon observed as a result of an experiment conducted by Elton Mayo. In an experiment intended to measure how a work environment impacts worker productivity, Mayo’s researchers noted that workers’ productivity increased not from changes in environment, but when being watched. Applied to HR, the concept is that employee motivation can be influenced by how aware they are of being observed and judged on their work—a basis for regular evaluation and metrics to meet.

17. Nepotism - Nepotism is preferential hiring of relatives and friends, even though others might be more qualified for those positions. The favoritism is generally showed by individuals in a position of authority such as CEOs, managers or supervisors.

18. On-boarding - On-boarding is the process of moving a new hire from applicant to employee status, ensuring that paperwork is done and orientation is completed.

19. Retention Strategy - Retention strategy refers to the processes and policies used to ensure employees stay. In order to retain employees and reduce turnover, managers must help employees meet their goals without losing sight of the organization’s goals. This is always a balance that must be managed carefully. 

20. Succession Planning - This is the process of identifying long-range needs and cultivating a supply of internal talent to meet those future needs. It assists in finding, assessing and developing the individuals necessary to the strategy of the organization.

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Pros & Cons of using Social Media @ Work Place

Pros -
  • Aid in recruitment. Social media platforms can be used to publicize job openings, source candidates and verify background information.
  • Market the employer brand. Sharing media about employee events and company values can help establish an employer brand to attract applicants and customers.
  • Deliver internal communications. HR communications on policies, benefits, company news, social events, professional development and more can be made available to employees at any time.
  • Engage employees. Internal social networking platforms can be more engaging and inspire greater participation than regular e-mail communications. Employees may feel they have more of a voice when their postings and comments are actively encouraged.
  • Promote social learning and knowledge sharing. Providing employees with a way to connect with co-workers to solve problems promotes social learning and can increase knowledge sharing globally.
  • Communicate during a disaster. Displaced employees can see emergency information from their devices to stay in touch with the employer and receive direction.
  • Professional networking. HR professionals can network with peers, keep pace with competitors, and help attract clients whose values align with the employer brand.
Cons -
  • Security. Using social media platforms on company networks opens the door to hacks, viruses and privacy breaches.
  • Harassment. Employees may engage in harassing behaviors toward co-workers on a social network, and HR will need to take action if it becomes aware of such behaviors.
  • Negative exposure. Postings from former or current employees, or even clients casting the employer in a negative light, may damage the employer's reputation.
  • Legal violations. Employers become more susceptible to charges of discrimination, privacy violations and interference with employees' rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, among other violations, when social media is used in the workplace.
  • Potential loss of productivity. Some employees may spend an inordinate amount of time on social media for personal reasons while at work. Enforcing a clear policy on terms of use while working can help to mitigate this risk.
  • Wage and hour issues. Nonexempt employees restricted to certain working hours may incur additional compensate hours, including overtime, more easily through social media use.  
Policy Guidance -
If employees are allowed access to social media platforms, then a comprehensive and well-defined policy should be established to prevent abuse and reduce employer risk. While legal review is always recommended, a social media use policy generally:
  • Defines what social media is, so employees know exactly what is covered.
  • Establishes a clear and defined purpose for the policy and any employer objectives.
  • Communicates the benefits of having a social media policy.
  • Indicates who is responsible for the management of social media for the company.
  • Defines appropriate use and takes into consideration any legal ramifications of inappropriate postings.
  • Identifies what is considered confidential information, such as trade secrets, and other types of information not to be shared.
  • Talks about productivity in terms of social media use during work time.
  • Provides guidance regarding social media use outside of company time that could be associated with the company, employees or customers.
  • Refers to other company conduct policies directly and makes it clear that they apply to behaviors on social media.
  • Provides examples of policy violations and outlines disciplinary measures to be taken when violations occur.
  • Aligns branding in company-related postings—same style, format, usernames, etc.
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