Glossary of HR Terms

Check out ZenHR's comprehensive HR glossary and dictionary, which provides description of human resources terms that are frequently used by HR professionals.

    A

  • Absenteeism Policy

    A set of rules and guidelines an organization applies to reduce the number of workdays employees miss and promote responsible work habits, which consequently boosts productivity.

  • Anti-Harassment Policy

    An anti-harassment policy is a policy formulated by an organization to protect its employees from any kind of unwarranted behavior like bullying or verbal and physical abuse in the workplace.

  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

    A software application that helps organizations automate, organize, and streamline their hiring and recruitment processes, even when they have thousands of applications coming in from various sources. An ATS tracks the candidates throughout the hiring process.

  • Artificial Intelligence

    Also known as AI - is a term that refers to the intelligence simulated in machines/computers/robots, where they act and perform tasks that require the intelligence that is commonly associated with humans.

  • Attendance Machines

    Attendance machines are devices implemented at the workplace, used by organizations to track and monitor when their employees commence and end their workday. Attendance machines are usually integrated with HR and Payroll Software.

  • Attendance Reports

    Attendance reports are records maintained by organizations to monitor employee matters related to working hours, early arrival to work, early departure from work, the amount of time taken on breaks, and absenteeism.

  • B

  • Baby Boomers

    This generation was born after World War II, and they have been known for their hardworking, strong work ethic, self-discipline, and optimism.

  • Background Screening

    Also known as Pre-Employment Screening and Background Check - a set of procedures an organization follows before deciding to hire a candidate or not, to ensure they are hiring a trustworthy candidate who has the required skills and attitude to perform the job and fit the culture.

  • Behavioral-Based Interview

    A popular interviewing technique used to assess candidates based on actual past behavior. The interviewer asks the candidate to give specific examples of when they demonstrated a particular behavior or skill.

  • Boomerang Employee

    A boomerang employee is an employee who leaves an organization on good terms and then returns to work for the same organization at a later point in time.

  • Buddy Program

    A tool that helps employers enhance the onboarding process of their new hires, by matching a new employee with a buddy. A buddy program accelerates the onboarding process of new hires while equipping them with the tools needed to deal with any issues that they may face early on in their jobs.

  • Business Assets

    Resources or items of value that are owned by the organization. Business assets are often categorized into tangible assets such as cars, laptops, furniture, or machinery, and intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, or customer lists.

  • Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

    A plan that identifies how the organization is going to continue operating during and after unplanned and uncertain times.

  • C

  • Candidate Relationship Management

    A method used by HR professionals to build positive relationships with active and passive candidates in the talent pipeline to improve recruiting outcomes and enhance the employer brand.

  • Candidate Source

    A candidate source tells where the candidate is coming from and how they entered the candidate pipeline. Primary source types include the company website, social media, job boards and career networks, employee referrals, events and career fairs, and the company’s database.

  • Change Management

    A term used to describe all the approaches and techniques an organization uses to describe and implement organizational change.

  • Cloud Computing

    Using internet services such as data storage, servers, databases, networking, or software that are not installed on a local computer or server - usually on a pay-as-you-go basis.

  • Coaching

    It is a process designed to help and motivate employees to enhance their job performance by assigning an internal coach inside the organization or an external one.

  • Company Values

    Company values, also known as core values, are a collection of guiding beliefs and philosophies set by an organization as a means to define how it aims to conduct its business and achieve its goals. Company values help employees understand how they should behave & function together as cross-functional teams and impact the relationships an organization develops with its customers, partners, and shareholders.

  • Compassionate Leave

    Paid time-off work that is granted to employees when they have serious personal circumstances, especially the death of a family member.

  • Competencies

    The set of skills, expertise, and knowledge the employee needs to perform his/her job functions and succeed in a certain job role.

  • Confidentiality Agreement

    A confidentiality agreement is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that prohibits either party from disclosing sensitive information to others.

  • Core Competencies

    The knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform a certain job successfully.

  • Cost per Hire

    It is a metric used by recruiters that aids in determining the total cost of hiring a new employee. It is calculated by dividing the total cost invested in hiring divided by the number of hires.

  • Counter Offer

    A counteroffer is a response an individual receives for their existing employer based on an offer received from a potential new employer. In this case, an individual may accept the counteroffer, reject it or negotiate it.

  • Cultural Fit

    Cultural fit refers to the extent in which a candidate’s attitudes, values and skills are in line with a company’s mission, vision and values. Cultural fit is usually assessed through a cultural fit job interview by which the interviewer asks the interviewee questions that are aimed at evaluating whether the candidate’s values and beliefs are in the line with those of the organization.

  • CV Parsing

    Also known as Resume Parsing - The process of converting an unstructured form of CVs into a standard set of information which allows recruiters to process online CVs and intelligently extract the important information

  • D

  • Data Breach

    Security incident that includes the intentional or unintentional reveal of confidential or sensitive data without the authorization of the data owner.

  • Disciplinary Action

    A corrective action that is taken by an employer as a response to employee misconduct, rule violation, or performance that does not meet the expected standards.

  • Discrimination

    The differential treatment of persons or social groups for reasons such as their race, gender, religion, disability, or any other differences.

  • Diversity Training

    A workplace training program that aims to raise awareness in the workplace about demographic differences between colleges and how they can work together effectively despite the differences.

  • Downsizing

    Downsizing refers to the decision a company makes to reduce the number of employees or departments it has, usually for the purpose of reducing costs during periods of economic downturn.

  • E

  • Emotional Intelligence

    Also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ) – is defined as the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Emotional Intelligence has 4 main pillars: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social-Awareness, and Relationship Management.

  • Employee Allowances

    An allowance is an amount of money that an organization provides to an employee on top of the employee’s normal pay for purposes such as transportation, healthcare, or food.

  • Employee Appraisal

    Employee appraisal, also known as Performance Evaluation - Refers to the systematic process of assessing, evaluating, and providing feedback to employees on their job performance based on predefined standards and goals. The appraisal process also aims to identify and track employee strengths and weaknesses, while promoting the best performing employees and providing feedback on areas of improvement.

  • Employee Assets management

    The process of monitoring assets that were handed over to each of the organization’s employees. This process helps keep a clean record of the assets that must be returned every time an employee leaves the organization.

  • Employee Benefits

    Employee benefits are a form of compensation that may be monetary or non-monetary, which an employer offers an employee on top of the regular benefits package the employee receives

  • Employee Burnout

    As identified by the World Health Organization, Employee Burnout is a syndrome that results from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed, which causes both physical and emotional exhaustion.

  • Employee Clock In/Clock Out

    Employee clock-in, often called check-in, refers to the action in which an employee records his/her arrival time at work. On the other hand, employee clock-out, often called check-out, is when an employee records his/her departure from work.

  • Employee Directory

    A list that is used to store employee information such as their names, emails, phone numbers, job titles, direct managers, addresses, etc.. in a single point of access.

  • Employee Engagement

    Employee engagement refers to the measurement of how passionate employees feel about their jobs, how committed they are to their organization, and the extent to which they are willing to go the extra mile.

  • Employee Feedback

    Feedback refers to the exchange of constructive suggestions, done either formally or informally, regarding an employee’s performance. Feedback is not limited to managers, rather, feedback can also come from peers

  • Employee Geolocation Time-Tracking

    This refers to the process in which organizations utilize the use of location technologies to track their employee’s check-in and check-out times at work. Some attendance software solutions allow organizations to enable geo-restrictions to ensure that their employees can only check-in/out from the right locations.

  • Employee GPS Geolocations

    This refers to the process in which organizations utilize location technologies to track the whereabouts of their employees during working hours.

  • Employee Handbook

    An employee handbook is a document that guides employees on matters related to the key policies and procedures that must be adhered to at an organization, in addition to providing an insight into the workplace culture.

  • Employee Hierarchy

    The organization of employees within an organization that represents how the employees are divided and grouped into departments and the organization's chain of command.

  • Employee Leaves and Vacations Management

    The processes and policies of managing all kinds of employee time-off requests including personal leaves, sick leave, personal vacations, public holidays, paternity leaves, compassionate leaves, and others.

  • Employee Management

    Procedures, strategies, and efforts created by employers to monitor and manage employees in a way that helps them achieve their best performance and contribute to the larger goals of the organization.

  • Employee Misconduct

    Employee misconduct occurs when an employee engages in behavior that is not following their organization’s policies, and are often followed by disciplinary actions.

  • Employee Off-boarding

    The process in which an employee is officially separated from the organization either because of resignation, termination, or retirement. When handled properly, the off-boarding process helps ensure that the departing employee leaves with minimal disruption, prevents legal liabilities, protects against information theft, and provides useful constructive feedback.

  • Employee On-boarding

    The process of welcoming new hires, familiarizing them with the organizational culture, and helping them acquire the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviors to succeed in the organization. The onboarding process starts the moment an offer is made until the time the candidate becomes an effective member of the organization.

  • Employee Referral Program

    An effective recruitment tool in which employers encourage their employees, usually through a reward, to utilize their network and recommend candidates for the open positions in the organization.

  • Employee Relations

    Employee Relations refers to the ongoing efforts an organization puts into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with its internal stakeholders.

  • Employee Retention

    Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to keep its best-performing employees, consequently, maintaining a low turnover rate.

  • Employee Satisfaction

    Also known as Job Satisfaction - This is a term used to measure the extent to which employees are happy and satisfied with elements of their job like, the job they do and the work environment.

  • Employee Self-Service

    Employee self-service (ESS) is an advancement in Human Resource (HR) technology that allows employees to view and handle a wide variety of HR, information technology (IT), and other administrative tasks on their own and at their convenience.

  • Employee Shift Management

    Also known as Rostering - Employee shift management refers to the process in which an organization divides a workday into multiple shifts and assigns employees to work at different periods to ensure the continuation of the organization’s workflow at all times. A work shift may be rotational which means that it’ll vary day to day or week to week, or it may be fixed, meaning that an employee is hired to work a specific shift.

  • Employee Termination

    The process in which the employer or the employee ends the employment contract. Employee termination can be voluntary - which means it is initiated by the employee or can be involuntary - which means the employer decides to terminate the employee.

  • Employee Time and Attendance Tracking

    Employee time-tracking refers to the process in which organizations record the working hours of their employees, for matters related to payroll calculations or for assigning working hours to projects.

  • Employee Timesheets

    A timesheet is used to record and track the total amount of time an employee spends working on a particular task, project, or job for payroll calculation purposes. An employee timesheet is recorded on paper, a spreadsheet, or by using cloud HR software.

  • Employee Turnover

    Employee turnover refers to the number or percentage of employees that leave a certain organization at a point in time. Employee turnover can be the result of resignations, terminations, and retirements.

  • Employer Branding

    Employer branding refers to an organization’s ability to differentiate and promote its unique identity in its existing and prospective employees’ eyes. All in all, employer branding is how an organization can attract and retain top talent by positioning itself as a top employer to work for.

  • Employer of Choice

    An employer of choice is a company that has managed to position itself as a much sought after employer. Employees usually choose to work for this company when presented with other employment opportunities.

  • Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

    EVP, which is at the core of strong employer branding, represents the set of promises and benefits an organization offers to its existing and prospective employees. The benefits an organization may offer include but are not limited to opportunities for learning, growth, and development.

  • Exit interview

    An exit interview is an interview that usually occurs between an HR employee and/or a direct manager with an employee that is about to leave the organization, to gain insight into the employee’s experience at the organization or to find out the reasons behind their departure.

  • F

  • Flexible Work Arrangements

    Flexible work arrangements refer to non-conventional work arrangements made between an employer and employee whereas the employee is given more freedom in how, when and where they perform their tasks. Flexible work arrangements often involve telecommuting and flexible working hours.

  • Freelance Worker

    A freelance worker or freelancer is a self-employed person who takes up projects on their own rather than being employed by a company. A freelance worker usually charges an hourly or daily rate and can work with multiple clients at the same time.

  • Full Cycle Recruiting

    Also known as 360 Recruiting or Full Life Cycle Recruiting - A complete recruitment process that starts with identifying hiring needs in an organization to onboarding the new hire. The stages that are followed during a Full Cycle Recruiting process include: Identifying hiring needs and gaps, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

  • G

  • Generation Z

    The generation that was born between 1995 and 2020 and is the youngest generation to enter the workforce. Generation Z is characterized by being entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, and progressive.

  • H

  • Hiring Process

    The process through which an organization hires new employees by identifying hiring needs, recruiting potential candidates, and hiring the most qualified candidates.

  • Hiring Strategy

    A hiring or recruiting strategy refers to the process by which organizations formulate a clear action plan involving its efforts to identity, recruit and retain candidates for the purpose of filling their vacant positions.

  • HR Compliance

    HR compliance refers to the process in which an HR department at an organization defines acceptable behavior at both, employee and corporate levels, which are aligned with the country’s local labor laws and regulations.

  • HR Letters

    Documents that are used for official communication between the employer and the employee - or a prospective employee, and can cover a wide range of employment matters.

  • HR Software

    A software tool designed to track, manage, organize, and automate everything related to employee affairs including tracking attendance, payroll calculations, performance management, and many other HR functions and tasks.

  • Human Capital

    The set of skills, knowledge, and other intangible assets that an employee owns and makes him/her value to the organization.

  • Human Capital Management (HCM)

    The overall strategy that an organization follows to acquire, manage, and optimize top talent.

  • Human Resources

    Human Resources refers to the people that make up the workforce of a business or organization, and are often considered as the strategic resource of any organization.

  • Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

    A system that combines human resources management and information technology for managing and automating different HR processes such as payroll management, attendance tracking, onboarding, and off-boarding management, and many other HR processes.

  • Human Resources Management

    Human Resources Management or HRM describes the process of devising and implementing formal systems to manage people from hire until retirement within an organization.

  • Human Resources Management System (HRMS)

    A human resources management system, sometimes referred to as “HRMS” is an information technology system that is used by HR teams to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. An HRMS can be used to track employee attendance, manage payroll, onboard/offboard employees, and review performance.

  • I

  • Inclusive Workplace

    An inclusive workplace is a work environment that makes each and every employee feel welcomed and valued regardless of the differences between them. An inclusive workplace recognizes that differences between employees contributes to the overall success of the organization, and any act of bias or discrimination is strongly prohibited.

  • Income Tax Calculation

    This refers to the process of calculating payroll while taking into account the tax deductions a government imposes in its respective country on the income of individuals and businesses.

  • J

  • Job Application

    A standard and official form that employers ask job applicants to fill out to learn more about the candidate’s education, experience, and skills, therefore determine the best candidate for the open position. These applications can be paper-based or online applications.

  • Job Description

    A written statement that highlights the details of a particular job position within an organization. The job description usually includes the job title, working conditions, role responsibilities, requirements, and reporting relationships.

  • Job Role

    A "job role" is a documented description that entails the responsibilities, duties, and qualifications for a position at an organization.

  • L

  • Loans Management

    This refers to the process of managing and tracking the loans provided to employees from the time the loan is dispersed and until the loan is paid off. The loan might be provided directly from the employer or by a third party.

  • M

  • Mentoring

    Mentoring refers to the process by which an employee with more knowledge, skills and experience provides support and guidance to a more junior employee with the purpose of improving their performance and unleashing their full potential.

  • Millennials

    Also known as Generation Y - The generation that was born between 1981 and 1994 and represents the largest population of today’s workforce. Millennials are characterized by being competitive, achievement-oriented, and ambitious.

  • Non-Discrimination Policy

    A non-discrimination policy is a policy formulated by an organization, usually by an HR department, that guarantees that the organization will not discriminate based on religion, race, gender, color, or under any other conditions when making hiring and promotional decisions.

  • O

  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

    Also known as OKRs - Refer to the frameworks adopted by organizations to set goals with measurable outcomes.

  • Offer Management

    Offer management refers to the process that takes place from the moment a candidate is considered as a potential employee until the recruitment team decides to offer the candidate a position at the organization.

  • Organizational Culture

    The shared set of beliefs, values, characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors that reflect the environment of an organization. Organizational culture is what makes every organization unique and sets the context for everything an organization does.

  • Organization’s Policies

    Organization’s policies refer to the set of rules and procedures that outline the responsibilities and expected conduct of employees and employers. An organization’s policies are set in place to protect employees and the overall interest of the organization.

  • Overtime Requests

    An overtime request is a document written and submitted by an employee requesting to work additional hours, in addition to receiving monetary compensation for the additional hours worked.

  • P

  • Passive Candidates

    Candidates who are happily employed and not actively looking for a new job, but are sought after by employers for the skill set they possess.

  • Payroll

    A list of the organization’s employees who are entitled to receive payments from the organization, and the total amount of payments each employee receives.

  • Payroll Deductions

    The amount withheld from an employee’s salary by his/her employer for different purposes, but most commonly for benefits such as social security and health insurance.

  • Payroll Software

    A tool that is used to simplify, manage, and automate payroll calculations and all salary-related transactions in an organization, taking into account employee attendance data, taxes, deductions, and any other important data. Payroll software improves the efficiency of the HR department and ensures error-free and compliant salary calculations.

  • Performance and Evaluation Software

    Employee Performance and Evaluation Software refers to the technological tools used by managers to track, analyze, and evaluate the performance of their employees in regards to organizational goals and objectives. The ultimate goal of using performance and evaluation software is to streamline the process of identifying the areas in which employees excel and areas in which they need to improve.

  • Performance Management

    Performance management refers to the process of ongoing communication and feedback between a manager and subordinate to ensure that goals and objectives are being met. Goals and objectives can focus on the overall performance of an organization, department, or employee.

  • Pre-Hiring Assessment

    A pre-hiring assessment is a form of test candidates undertake during the job application process to aid hiring managers in making sound hiring decisions.

  • Prospective Candidate

    A person who seeks to get a particular job in an organization or a person who is considered by the hiring team as a qualified potential for a particular job.

  • Public Holiday

    Also known as a National Holiday - A holiday that is created by law in a particular country and usually is a non-working day for businesses.

  • R

  • Recruitment

    The process of searching for qualified candidates and encouraging them to apply for an open position within an organization.

  • S

  • Salary Calculation

    The process of calculating employee’s salaries, taking into account employee attendance data, taxes, deductions, and any local labor laws that might affect salaries.

  • Salary Slip

    Also known as Pay Slip - A document that is issued by the employer for each employee monthly, and includes the employee’s salary or wage, with full details of any deductions or allowances. A salary slip can be in the form of a printed document or an electronic document.

  • Shift Roster

    A shift roster is a record that entails a list of employees within an organization along with information such as, work location, responsibilities, and working hours for a defined period e.g. day, week, or month.

  • Situational-Based Interview

    An interviewing technique, where candidates are asked how they would handle a certain situation at their job. The candidate is asked to assess the situation and provide a solution on how they would handle it.

  • Social Recruitment

    A trendy strategy that involves different ways of using social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc) to attract and hire qualified candidates.

  • Social Security

    As defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO), social security is the protection that society provides to individuals or households to ensure access to healthcare and to guarantee income security, particularly in cases of old age, unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity, or a loss of a breadwinner.

  • T

  • Talent Acquisition

    Talent acquisition refers to the organizational process of hiring and retaining skilled employees to meet organizational goals and objectives.

  • Tasks management

    The process of monitoring a task throughout its lifecycle, from tracking to planning to execution. The process involves everything related to the task including; the employees involved in it, the resources needed, and the time spent on it.

  • Telecommuting

    Telecommuting is an arrangement made between an employer and employee which allows the employee to work outside of the workplace when needed.

  • The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI)

    An organization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that was established to implement the provisions of the Social Insurance Law in the country, follow-up the process of achieving the compulsory insurance coverage, collecting contributions from employers, and paying benefits for the eligible contributors or their family members.

  • Time to Hire

    It is a metric used by recruiters to determine the amount of time it takes a prospective candidate from when they apply for a job until they accept a job offer.

  • Training and Development

    Employee training and development refers to the ongoing efforts undertaken by an organization to boost the performance of its employees through various educational methods.

  • Travel Per Diems

    Travel per diems are payments provided by organizations to their employees to cover the costs of traveling for business purposes. Business Expenses typically cover accommodation, transportation, and meals.

  • U

  • Unconscious Bias

    Also known as Implicit Bias - Are social stereotypes people unconsciously attribute to a certain person or group of people, and it affects the way a person interacts with this person/group.

  • Unconscious Bias Training

    A workplace training program that aims to help employees and managers recognize, address, and manage any hidden biases that may influence workplace decisions.

  • V

  • Vacation In-Advance Salary

    This refers to when an organization chooses to pay an employee’s salary in advance before the employee goes on their annual vacation. A vacation in-advance salary can cover one month or several months of vacation.

  • W

  • Wellness Program

    An employee wellness program is a series of benefits and policies implemented by an employer aiming at improving the physical and emotional health of employees, which can boost their morale and engagement, and consequently, will have a positive impact on the success of the organization.

  • Work-Life Balance

    The optimal arrangement between personal and professional activities in an employee’s life.

  • Workplace Diversity

    In a nutshell, diversity refers to the state of being distinct or possessing different characteristics. Diversity refers to an organization’s effort to employ candidates who are different from one another in the workplace. Differences may be the backgrounds candidates come from, their physical appearance, nationality, religion, gender, age and education.

  • Work Resumption Date

    This refers to the date on which an employee returns to work after being on leave/holiday.

  • WPS (Wages Protection System)

    An innovative electronic mechanism conducted by both the Ministry of Labor in the UAE and the Central Bank of the UAE. With WPS, the Ministry of Labor in the UAE can track whether salaries are being paid on time or not, and impose penalties on employers when necessary.