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HR Glossary of Terms: What does all that jargon mean?

How many times have you heard a new acronym or word in a meeting and thought, "huh. I've been around a while, and that one's new."

Jargon seems like a natural part of the startup world, but it doesn't have to be. If you find yourself wondering what the heck everyone's talking about, firstly be confident to raise your hand and say "What does that mean?".

Sometimes you might even catch someone using a word they don't really know – and no one needs to use jargon just to sound fancy. When in doubt, simplify what you're talking about so it's clear for everyone to understand. In the meantime, check the glossary for common and not-so-common HR and business terms.

Looking for something specific? Hit Ctrl+F on your keyboard to search the page.

HR Glossary of Terms



Adaptive Device: A specialized tool or technology designed to assist individuals with disabilities in performing tasks they might otherwise find challenging, such as mobility aids or communication tools.

Affirmative Action: This policy or practice is aimed at addressing historical disadvantages and promoting equal opportunities for individuals from marginalized or underrepresented groups. It involves proactive measures, such as preferential hiring or interviewing, to counteract discrimination and promote diversity.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): A U.S. federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against individuals aged 40 or older based on their age. The ADEA safeguards older workers from ageism.

Ageism: Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination based on a person's age, typically against older individuals. It can manifest as negative attitudes, unequal treatment, or exclusionary practices due to perceived age-related characteristics.

Agenda: Outline of topics to be discussed in a meeting. Follow it and above all, end with action items.

Agile HR: Flexible HR approach adapting to changing business needs quickly. It's like HR doing the cha-cha to keep up with company curveballs.

Agile Methodology: Flexible approach to project management, adapting to changes within the organization.

Agile Organization: A flexible and adaptive entity that swiftly responds to changes in its environment, often using iterative processes to enhance efficiency.

Ally: A supportive individual or group advocating for and assisting marginalized communities in their pursuit of equal rights and opportunities.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A U.S. law ensuring rights and access for people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination, and mandating reasonable accommodations.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Advanced computer systems emulating human-like natural language processing and decision-making through data analysis and pattern recognition.

Attrition: The natural reduction in a workforce due to resignations, retirements, or other departures, impacting organizational headcount.

Availability Analysis: Assessment of resources' readiness for use, evaluating their accessibility and potential deployment in various contexts.


Benchmarking: Comparing performance with industry standards. It's like peeking over the fence to see if your neighbor's grass is greener.

Benefits Package: Collection of perks, like healthcare and retirement plans, offered to employees as part of their employment.

Blind Ad: Job advertisement that conceals the employer's identity to ensure unbiased candidate selection based on skills and qualifications.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ): Legitimate job requirement allowing discrimination based on a protected characteristic when it's essential for a role's performance.

Broadbanding: A flattened hierarchical structure that consolidates job levels and promotes flexibility and lateral movement.

Buddy System: An orientation method of pairing new employees with experienced colleagues to facilitate learning and integration.

Bumping Rights: Entitlement for employees facing layoffs to replace less-senior employees in other positions, based on seniority.

Business Continuity Planning: Strategy outlining procedures to sustain operations during disruptions like disasters or emergencies.


Cafeteria Plan: Employee benefits system enabling workers to choose from various benefit options, tailoring their package to individual needs.

Career Plateau: Point in one's career where advancement or growth becomes limited, often leading to job stagnation or reduced motivation.

ChatGPT: A natural language processing artificial intelligence tool by OpenAI that helps generate text and answers from prompts.

Company Culture: The behaviors, beliefs, habits, and norms that drive how an organization gets work done.

Cloud Computing: Storing and accessing data over the internet, not on local servers.

Co-employment: An arrangement where an employee is formally employed by a staffing agency but works under the direction of a client company.

Compa-Ratio: Comparison of an employee's actual salary to the midpoint of the salary range for their position.

Compensatory Time Off (Comp Time): Time off given to employees instead of overtime pay, usually in government or certain industries.

Compressed Workweek: Schedule where employees work longer hours over fewer days, resulting in a shorter workweek.

Constructive Discharge: Situation where an employer creates a hostile work environment, prompting an employee to resign due to intolerable conditions.

Contingent Worker: Temporary or part-time employee hired to meet specific business needs, often without long-term commitment.

Cost-Per-Hire: Calculation of the expenses incurred during the hiring process for a single employee, including advertising, interviewing, and training costs.

Cross-Training: Learning different job tasks to be versatile within a company, so if a key person leaves, you have others who can do their job in the meantime.


Daily Standup: Brief team meeting to discuss tasks and goals for the day. Think of it as the mini morning marathon where we plan our day's sprint.

Data Analysis: Examining information to draw insights and make decisions. It's like being Sherlock Holmes but for patterns in spreadsheets.

De Minimis Rule: Exception where minor workplace matters don't need to adhere to certain regulations due to their negligible impact.

Defined Benefit Plan: Retirement plan ensuring fixed pension benefits based on factors like salary and tenure.

Defined Contribution Plan: Retirement plan where contributions are made by both employer and employee, with benefits based on investment performance.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA): Pre-tax account for eligible childcare or dependent care expenses.

Direct Threat: Legally permitted exclusion of an individual if their presence poses a significant risk to others.

Discretionary Bonus: Non-obligatory, performance-based incentive provided at the employer's discretion.

Disparate Impact: Unintentional discrimination resulting from seemingly neutral policies that disproportionately affect a protected group.

Disparate Treatment: Intentional unequal treatment based on a protected characteristic, violating anti-discrimination laws.

Dual Career Ladder/Track: Career advancement system allowing specialized growth within technical roles without transitioning into management.

Due Diligence: Thorough research and analysis conducted to ensure informed decision-making or compliance with legal obligations. Often called dotting T's and crossing I's.


EEO-1 Survey: Mandatory annual report in the United States that gathers workforce demographic data to monitor and enforce equal employment opportunity laws.

Email Etiquette: Per our previous email, email etiquette refers to courteous and clear communication practices in emails.

Emotional Intelligence: Capacity to recognize, comprehend, and manage emotions, both in oneself and others, influencing interpersonal interactions.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Workplace benefit providing counseling and support services to help employees address personal or work-related challenges.

Employee Engagement: Measure of employees' emotional commitment, involvement, and motivation towards their work and organization.

Employee Handbook: Document outlining company policies and expectations. The rulebook for workplace behavior, minus the 'no dessert before dinner' rule.

Employee Referral Program: Initiative encouraging employees to refer potential candidates for job openings, often offering rewards for successful hires.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Employee-led groups fostering inclusion and support for specific demographics or shared interests.

Employee Self-Service Portal: Digital platform enabling employees to access and manage personal information, benefits, and work-related tasks.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Benefits, culture, and opportunities an employer offers to attract and retain employees.

Employer Brand: Perception of a company's reputation and values among current and potential employees.

Employment at Will: Doctrine allowing employers or employees to terminate employment without specific cause, except for illegal reasons.

Environmental Scan: Process of analyzing external factors that could impact an organization's strategy and operations.

EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer): Commitment that a company adheres to anti-discrimination laws, offering equal opportunities to all applicants.

Equity (in the context of compensation): The allocation of company ownership in the form of stock options or shares to employees, providing them with a stake in the organization's financial success.

Essential Job Functions: Fundamental duties and responsibilities necessary for a role's success.

Exempt Position: Job role exempt from overtime pay regulations due to meeting specific criteria, usually salaried and involving certain responsibilities.

Exit Interview: Discussion held when an employee leaves a company, gathering feedback and insights about their experience.

Expatriate: Individual living and working outside their home country for a temporary assignment.

Extrinsic Reward: Tangible rewards given to employees for their performance, such as bonuses or gifts.


Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): A U.S. law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor standards for most employees.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): A U.S. law that grants eligible employees job-protected, unpaid leave for specific family or medical reasons, including caring for a new child or dealing with serious health conditions.

Family Leave: Time off for new parents after childbirth or adoption. A few months of pure bliss, baby talk, and diaper duty.

Featherbedding: The practice of creating or maintaining unnecessary jobs, tasks, or work requirements, often leading to inefficiency and higher costs in operations.

Feedback Loop: Continuous exchange of input for improvement.

Flexibility Policy: Offering employees options like remote work or flexible hours. 'You do you, we'll adapt.'

Flexible-Benefits Plan: A benefits program that allows employees to choose from a range of benefits to suit their individual needs.

Forced Distribution: Performance appraisal method that requires assigning a certain percentage of employees to specific rating categories.

Forced Ranking: An assessment method that ranks employees from best to worst based on their performance. Usually rudimentary, done in times of economic stress, and sometimes is a precursor to layoffs.

Forecasting: The process of predicting future trends, events, or needs based on current and historical data.

Form I-9 or I-9 Form: A U.S. government form used to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for employment in the United States.

Full-time equivalent (FTE): A unit of measurement indicating the total hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

Fully Insured Plan: A type of employee benefit plan, often health insurance, where the employer pays a premium to an insurance company for coverage.

Furlough: A temporary unpaid leave of absence granted to employees due to financial or business reasons.


Gender Expression: How an individual outwardly presents their gender to others through appearance, behavior, and clothing.

Gender Identity: A person's deeply-felt internal sense of their own gender, which might be different from the sex assigned to them at birth.

Gender Wage Gap: The disparity in earnings between men and women, often highlighting systemic inequalities in pay.

Genetic-Based Discrimination: Unfair treatment of individuals based on genetic information, particularly in employment or insurance contexts.

Gig Worker: An individual who performs short-term, flexible jobs or tasks, often on a freelance basis, rather than traditional long-term employment.

Glass Ceiling: An invisible barrier that hinders the advancement of qualified individuals, particularly women or minorities, into higher-level positions within an organization.

Grievance Procedure: Process for addressing employee complaints.

Growth Mindset: Belief in the potential for personal and professional development. Level up!


Halo/Horn Effect: Cognitive bias where an overall positive or negative impression of a person influences judgments about specific traits or abilities.

Harassment: Unwanted and offensive behavior, often repetitive, that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for individuals based on characteristics like sex, race, or religion.

Health and Safety Training: Teaching employees how to stay safe at work

Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA): A pre-tax account that allows employees to set aside money for eligible medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): U.S. legislation that safeguards individuals' medical information privacy and regulates its use by healthcare providers and insurers.

Health Reimbursement Account (HRA): An employer-funded account used to reimburse employees for qualified medical expenses.

Health Savings Account (HSA): A tax-advantaged account allowing individuals to save for medical expenses, often paired with high-deductible health insurance plans.

Hierarchical Structure: Organizing teams in layers of authority and responsibility. 'Who's the Boss?' minus the sitcom.

Horizontal Organization: A structure where decision-making authority is distributed across various levels, promoting collaboration and reducing hierarchy.

Hostile Work Environment: A workplace marked by harassment, discrimination, or intimidating behavior that creates an uncomfortable or distressing atmosphere.

Human Resource Information System (HRIS): Software that manages employee data, automates HR processes, and aids in decision-making.

Human Resource Management (HRM): The practice of effectively managing an organization's workforce, including recruitment, training, performance management, and employee relations.

Human Resource Management System (HRMS): Integrated software solution combining HRIS and other HR functions, streamlining HR processes.

Hybrid Organization: An entity that blends characteristics of both for-profit and non-profit organizations, often aiming to achieve social or environmental goals while generating revenue.


Implicit Bias: Unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that affect judgments and actions towards individuals or groups, often without conscious awareness.

Imputed Income: The value of non-cash compensation, like employer-provided benefits, added to an employee's taxable income.

Incentive Program: System offering rewards to motivate employee performance.

Inclusion: Creating an environment where all individuals feel valued, respected, and empowered, regardless of their background or differences.

Independent Contractor: A self-employed individual who provides services to a client or company under a contract, rather than being an employee.

Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Account (ICHRA): A health benefit arrangement allowing employers to reimburse employees for personal health insurance premiums and medical expenses.

Industrial Psychology: The study of human behavior and attitudes in work settings, focusing on enhancing productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.

Innovation Lab: Space for brainstorming and creating new ideas.

Inpatriate: An employee from a foreign country who is transferred to work in the host country's location.

Intellectual Property: Legal rights protecting creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Usually, your employment contract protects the company against you taking any of their core IP with you when you leave – even if you "invented" it.


Job Analysis: Process of examining and documenting the tasks, duties, and qualifications of a job role.

Job Description: A document outlining the responsibilities, duties, and requirements of a specific job position.

Job Enrichment: Enhancing a job's content to provide employees with more challenging and meaningful tasks.

Job Evaluation: Systematic assessment of jobs to determine their relative worth within an organization.

Job Ranking: Arranging jobs in order of their importance or value to the organization.

Job Reference Immunity Statutes: Laws protecting employers and references from liability when providing job-related information about a former employee.

Job Rotation: Employees changing roles periodically to gain diverse experiences and skills.

Just-Cause Termination: Dismissing an employee for legitimate reasons, often due to poor performance or policy violations, as opposed to at-will termination.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Measurable goal indicating performance. Be sure that the KPIs you choose are directly influencing the goals you're responsible for.

Key Employee: An individual who is critical to business operations, often possessing specialized skills, knowledge, or responsibilities.

Key Person Insurance: An insurance policy that specificially provides coverage for the loss of a Key Employee.

Knowledge Transfer: Sharing expertise between employees to ensure continuity. Think of it as the office wisdom relay – passing the baton of know-how.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs): The combined qualities that individuals possess, including their understanding, capabilities, and expertise relevant to performing a specific job.


Labor Certification: The process of obtaining approval from the government to hire foreign workers for jobs that cannot be filled by domestic workers.

Labor Force: The total number of individuals available for work within a specific population or region.

Layoff: The temporary or permanent termination of employees due to factors such as economic downturns, restructuring, or changes in business needs.

Leadership Development: Programs to cultivate leadership skills in employees

Leave of Absence: Time off from work due to personal or medical reasons. - "A pause button for adulting, where work takes a break."


Mandatory Benefits: Employee benefits that employers are legally required to provide, such as Social Security contributions and workers' compensation.

Matrix Organization: A structure where employees report to both functional managers and project managers, promoting cross-functional collaboration.

Metrics: Measurable data and statistics used to assess performance, effectiveness, and progress toward organizational goals. A much easier way to say KPI.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE): A business owned and controlled by individuals from underrepresented minority groups, often eligible for government programs or incentives.

Mission Statement: A concise statement that defines an organization's purpose, values, and core objectives, guiding its overall direction and decisions.


Negligent Hiring: Failure of an employer to reasonably screen and assess a new employee, leading to harm or damage caused by the employee's actions.

Negligent Referral: Providing a positive reference for an employee or former employee who poses a risk, resulting in harm to the new employer.

Negligent Retention: Failure of an employer to address or remove an employee who exhibits dangerous behavior or incompetence.

Nepotism: Favoritism shown to relatives, often resulting in biased hiring or promotion decisions based on family relationships rather than merit.

Networking Event: Gathering for professionals to connect and exchange information.

New Hire Orientation: Introduction of new employees to company culture and policies, sometimes done as a group with other new hires starting at the same time.

New-Hire Reporting: The requirement for employers to report new hires to government agencies to aid in child support enforcement.

Noncompete Agreement: A contract where employees agree not to work for competitors or start similar businesses for a specified period after leaving their current employer, often 6-18 months.

Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA): A contract that prohibits individuals from disclosing certain confidential information obtained during their employment. These are hard to enforce, but set a precedent for principles around company IP.

Nondiscretionary Bonus: A bonus that is promised or guaranteed, often tied to predetermined criteria such as performance metrics.

Nondiscrimination Testing: Evaluation of employee benefit plans to ensure they do not unfairly favor certain groups and comply with equal treatment laws.

Nonexempt Position: A job role not exempt from overtime pay regulations, usually eligible for overtime compensation.


On-the-Job Training: Learning while performing tasks in the workplace. - "It's like learning to swim by diving into the deep end."

Onboarding: Process of integrating and orienting new employees into the organization, including at least *some* of the skeletons. Onboarding includes the entire journey from Contract signing to the first 30/60/90 days of training.

Organizational Change: The process of implementing alterations to an organization's structure, processes, or strategies to achieve specific goals or adapt to external factors.

Organizational Culture: The shared values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors that define the collective identity and working environment of an organization.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration): A federal agency that enforces workplace safety and health regulations.

Outsourcing: Hiring external services or contractors for specific tasks. It's the easiest way to expand your team quickly, with low risk, compared to a full-time hire.

Overtime Pay: Additional compensation for working beyond regular hours. Know the laws so you are paid fairly. Some states calculate overtime by the day, and others by the week.


Pay Compression: A situation where there's a minimal difference in pay between employees in different roles or with varying levels of experience.

Pay Equity: Ensuring that employees receive fair compensation for work of equal value, regardless of their gender, race, or other protected characteristics.

Pay Grade: A grouping of jobs with similar levels of responsibility and compensation within an organization.

Pay Range: The range of salaries or wages associated with a particular job, spanning from a minimum to a maximum amount.

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP): A structured process to help underperforming employees enhance their skills and meet job expectations.

Performance Management: The ongoing process of setting goals, assessing progress, and providing feedback to employees to improve their performance.

Performance Review: Evaluation of employee job performance and progress at regular intervals such as 1 year or 6 months.

Project Management: Organizing resources to achieve specific goals. Basically, you're the conductor of the team orchestra to get your campaign finished by the deadline.

Performance-Based Pay: Compensation that is tied to an employee's performance, often in the form of bonuses, commissions, or incentives.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Gear and attire designed to protect employees from workplace hazards, such as helmets, gloves, and goggles.

Phased Retirement: A gradual transition from full-time work to retirement, allowing employees to reduce hours or responsibilities over time.

Progressive Discipline: A methodical approach to correcting employee behavior or performance issues, typically involving increasingly serious consequences if improvement doesn't occur.

Protected Class: A group of people with shared characteristics, such as race, gender, age, or disability, who are legally protected from discrimination.

Protected Concerted Activity: Actions taken by employees to collectively address work-related concerns, protected by law in the context of labor rights.


Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): A legal order outlining the division of retirement plan benefits between divorced or separated spouses.

Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO): A legal order that assigns a parent's health insurance benefits to cover a child's medical expenses.

Qualifying Life Event: A significant life change, such as marriage, birth, or job loss, that allows individuals to make changes to their insurance or benefits coverage.

Quality Assurance: Measures ensuring products or services meet standards.

Quality Control: Processes and checks put in place to ensure that products or services meet predetermined standards of quality.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: A type of workplace harassment where an individual's job-related benefits or consequences are dependent on submitting to unwelcome sexual advances or conduct.


Reasonable Accommodation: Modifications or adjustments made in the workplace to enable individuals with disabilities to perform their job duties effectively.

Reasonable Person Standard: A legal concept assessing behavior based on how a hypothetical reasonable person would act in similar circumstances.

Recruiting: The process of identifying, attracting, and hiring qualified individuals to fill job vacancies within an organization.

Red Circle Rate: A compensation rate above the normal pay range for a specific job or employee.

Reduction in Force (RIF): The process of reducing the workforce due to business reasons such as economic downturns or restructuring.

Regular Rate: The hourly rate used as the basis for calculating overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Religious Accommodation: Providing adjustments to work conditions or practices to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices.

Remote Work Policy: Guidelines for working from outside the office. - "Imagine your office becoming wherever you put your laptop – in your pajamas."

Remote Work Tools: Software for collaborating and working from afar. It's your company's digital toolkit that lets you get work done from anywhere.

Repatriation: The process of bringing employees or citizens back to their home country after an overseas assignment or stay.

Request for Proposal (RFP): A document that outlines project requirements and solicits proposals from potential vendors or contractors.

Resident Alien: An individual living in a foreign country but treated as a resident for tax purposes.

Reverse Mentoring: A mentoring relationship where a junior employee mentors a senior employee, often to exchange insights about technology, diversity, or other topics.

Right-to-Sue Letter: A notice from a government agency permitting an individual to file a lawsuit for discrimination or harassment.

Right-to-Work State: A state where employees are not required to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Risk Management: The practice of identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential risks to an organization's operations, finances, or reputation.


Salting: A tactic where labor union supporters seek employment with non-unionized companies to organize workers from within.

Second-Chance Hiring: The practice of employing individuals with previous criminal records, giving them an opportunity to reenter the workforce.

Self-Funded Plan: An employee benefits plan where the employer assumes the financial risk for providing healthcare benefits.

Serious Health Condition: A medical condition that requires inpatient care, continuing treatment, or an inability to work for an extended period.

Sexual Orientation: An individual's emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to individuals of the same or different gender.

Sick Leave: Paid time off granted to employees for illness or medical appointments.

Situational Leadership: A leadership style that adjusts based on the situation and the readiness level of employees.

Skill-Based Pay: Compensation based on the skills possessed by an employee, rather than the job role.

Skills Gap: The disparity between the skills required for available jobs and the skills possessed by the workforce.

Soft Skills: Non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

Sourcing: The process of identifying and attracting potential job candidates.

Span of Control: The number of employees a manager directly supervises.

Spot Award: A spontaneous recognition or bonus given for exceptional performance.

Statute of Limitations: The legally defined time period during which a claim or lawsuit must be filed.

Stay Interview: An interview conducted to understand an employee's motivations and concerns to improve retention.

Stop-Loss Insurance: Coverage that protects an employer's self-funded benefit plan from excessive claims costs.

Strategic Planning: The process of setting long-term goals and defining actions to achieve them.

Structured Interview: An interview with standardized questions to ensure consistency and fairness.

Succession Planning: Preparing employees to assume key roles within an organization in the future.


Talent Acquisition: The process of identifying, attracting, and hiring qualified individuals to meet an organization's staffing needs.

Talent Pipeline: An ongoing pool of potential candidates who may be suitable for future job openings.

Targets: Setting specific sales or performance goals, often likened to achieving a challenging quota.

Team Building: Activities designed to enhance cooperation and collaboration among coworkers.

Telecommuting: Working remotely from a location outside the traditional office, often with the use of technology.

Third-Party Sexual Harassment: Harassment by individuals not directly employed by the victim's company, such as customers or clients.

Time Management: Efficiently organizing and utilizing available time to prioritize getting tasks and projects done.

Time-to-Fill: The duration it takes to fill a job opening from the time it's posted.

Time-to-Hire: The time taken to complete the entire hiring process for a candidate.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: U.S. law prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Total Compensation: The complete package of monetary and non-monetary rewards an employee receives for their work.

Training Needs Analysis: Assessing gaps in employee skills and knowledge to determine training requirements.

Transgender: A term for individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.

Turnover Costs: Expenses associated with employee turnover, including recruiting, training, and lost productivity.

Turnover Rate: The percentage of employees who leave an organization within a given time period.


Unfair Labor Practice: Violation of labor laws by employers or unions, interfering with employees' rights or bargaining.

Unplugged Break: Taking a short period to disconnect from work-related tasks, like a refreshing break from technology.

Untapped Talent: Qualified individuals with potential who are not currently being utilized or recognized.

Upselling: Persuading customers to purchase additional products or services beyond their original choice.

Upskilling: Developing new skills or enhancing existing ones to improve job performance or career prospects.

User: The person who interacts with or benefits from your product, service, or system.

Utilization Analysis: Assessing how effectively resources are being used to optimize efficiency and productivity.


Vendor Negotiation: Discussion with suppliers for favorable terms. Let's make a deal!

Virtual Meeting: Gathering conducted online, not in person. Because no one is sick of these by now.

Vacancy Rate: The percentage of unoccupied positions within an organization's workforce.

Values Statement: A declaration outlining an organization's core principles and beliefs that guide its actions and decisions.

Vendor Negotiation: Collaborative discussions with suppliers to achieve favorable terms and agreements.

Vertical Organization: A structure with clearly defined levels of hierarchy, where decision-making authority flows from top to bottom.

Virtual Meeting: An online gathering conducted via video or audio conferencing platforms, because no one is sick of these yet.

Vision Statement: A concise statement outlining an organization's aspirational goals and the desired future it aims to achieve.

Voluntary Benefit: An additional employee benefit that is optional and often provided at a cost to the employee.


Weingarten Rights: The right of employees to have union representation during investigatory interviews that could lead to discipline.

Work-Life Balance: Maintaining harmony between work and personal life. - "Picture it as a seesaw with spreadsheets on one side and pajamas on the other."

Workflow Automation: Using software to streamline routine tasks. - "Think of it as the digital assistant that handles the boring stuff."

Workforce Planning: The process of identifying an organization's current and future staffing needs to ensure it has the right talent in place.

Workforce Readiness: Ensuring that employees possess the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to perform their roles effectively.


Xenial: Creating a welcoming environment for both employees and customers


Year-End Review: Comprehensive evaluation of employee performance annually

Yellow-Dog Contract: An agreement between an employer and employee in which the employee promises not to join or support a labor union.

Yield Ratios: Ratios used in recruitment to measure the effectiveness of different recruitment sources in generating qualified candidates.

YTD (Year to Date): Period starting from the beginning of the year up to the present time.


Zero-Based Budgeting: Building budgets from scratch each year, considering all expenses.

Zero-Tolerance Policy: Strict approach to specific behaviors or actions, often related to harassment or discrimination. It usually ends with an immediate termination for violating the policy.

A bowl of Spaghetti-O's with a spoon above it holding the letters "ABC", on a yellow tablecloth. Learn the ABCs of HR jargon in our glossary of terms.

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