Achilles Group + Mark

Common HR Terms

Affirmative Action Plan (AAP)

An Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) is a set of policies and procedures that aim to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. The plan includes strategies to identify and eliminate barriers to equal employment opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans.

AAPs are typically developed by employers who are subject to federal or state regulations requiring affirmative action, such as those who receive federal contracts or subcontracts. The plan outlines specific goals, timetables, and action steps that the employer will take to ensure that their workforce reflects the diversity of the communities they serve.

The AAP may include measures such as targeted recruitment efforts, outreach to underrepresented groups, training and development programs, and monitoring and evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of the plan. The ultimate goal of an AAP is to create a more equitable workplace and a diverse workforce that is representative of the larger community.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act – A U.S. law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment and public services.

ASO (Administrative Services Outsourcing)

Administrative Services Outsourcing (ASO) is a business practice in which a company contracts with an external service provider to manage certain administrative functions or processes. These administrative functions may include payroll processing, benefits administration, employee training, human resources management, and other related activities.

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a comprehensive healthcare reform law passed in the United States in 2010. The law is also known as Obamacare, named after the President who signed it into law, Barack Obama.

The ACA is designed to provide affordable health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who were previously uninsured or underinsured. The law includes a number of provisions, including:

  1. The establishment of state-based health insurance marketplaces (also known as exchanges) where individuals and small businesses can purchase health insurance.
  2. The expansion of Medicaid eligibility to include individuals and families with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level.
  3. The requirement that all Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty (known as the individual mandate).
  4. The provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26.
  5. The prohibition of insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. 

The ACA also includes a number of other provisions aimed at reducing healthcare costs, improving the quality of care, and promoting preventative care.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects workers ages 40 and over by prohibiting discrimination against workers ages 40 and over in any employment or employment-related decision. The act applies to most employers with 20 or more employees. One of the main provisions of the ADEA is that employers, with very few exceptions, can no longer force an employee to retire. Voluntary retirements are allowed; however, very specific conditions must be met to avoid violation of the act.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that was enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination based on disability. The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning. The law prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, transportation, telecommunications, and government services. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform their job duties, and it mandates that public facilities and services be made accessible to people with disabilities. The ADA also established the National Council on Disability to promote policies and programs that enhance the independence, productivity, and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of American society.

Applicable Large Employer (ALE)

An Applicable Large Employer (ALE) is a term used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States to describe an employer that has an average of at least 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) during the previous calendar year. A full-time employee is defined as an individual who works an average of at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month. FTEs are calculated by adding the total number of hours worked by all part-time employees in a given month and dividing that number by 120.

ALEs are subject to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the employer shared responsibility provision, which requires ALEs to offer affordable health insurance coverage to their full-time employees and their dependents or pay a penalty. ALEs are also required to report information about the health coverage they offer to their employees to the IRS and provide a statement to each employee.

ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application designed to automate and streamline the recruitment and hiring process. It allows recruiters and hiring managers to manage job postings, track applicants, screen resumes, and communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process. An ATS can also help employers comply with legal requirements, track hiring metrics, and create reports. By using an ATS, employers can save time and reduce costs associated with the recruitment process, while also improving the quality of candidates they attract and hire.


Attrition is a term used to describe voluntary and involuntary terminations, deaths, and employee retirements that result in a reduction in the employer’s physical workforce.

Availability Analysis

An availability analysis is a process of determining the number of qualified minorities and women in the available labor pool who possess or have the ability to acquire the required skills or qualifications for any available position within the organization.

B2B (Business to Business)

B2B stands for “business-to-business,” which refers to transactions or interactions that occur between two businesses or organizations rather than between a business and individual consumers. In a B2B context, one business is typically selling a product or service to another business, which will use that product or service to run its own operations or to provide a product or service to its own customers. Examples of B2B transactions include wholesale purchases of products, outsourcing of services, and partnerships between two companies to jointly develop a new product or service.

Background checks/screening

A background check or screening is the process of investigating an individual’s personal, professional, criminal, and financial history to verify their identity, qualifications, and character. This may include searching criminal records, employment history, education credentials, credit reports, and other public and private databases to assess any potential risks or red flags that may impact an individual’s suitability for a particular job, role, or opportunity. Background checks are commonly used by employers, landlords, and organizations to make informed decisions about who they hire, rent to, or work with.

Behavioral-Based Interviewing

Behavioral-based interviewing is a technique that focuses on a candidate’s past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of when they have demonstrated certain behaviors or skills in the past as a means of predicting future behavior and performance.


Non-wage compensation provided to employees, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation time.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)

A bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) is a very narrowly interpreted exception to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws. A BFOQ allows employers to base employment decisions for a particular job on such factors as sex, religion, or national origin if they are able to demonstrate that such factors are an essential qualification for performing a particular job.


Broadbanding is a pay structure that consolidates a large number of narrower pay grades into fewer bands with wider salary ranges.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) – A plan that outlines how an organization will continue operating during and after a disruptive event or crisis.

CA (Corrective Action)

Corrective action is a process of communicating with the employee to improve behavior or performance after other methods such as coaching and performance appraisal have not been successful.

All employees are expected to meet performance standards and behave appropriately in the workplace. The goal is to guide the employee to correct performance or behavior by identifying the problems, causes and solutions, not to punish the employee.

In general, corrective action should be progressive, beginning with the lowest severity action before employing actions of more severity. Any formal corrective or disciplinary action must follow the principles of “Just Cause“.

Candidate Sourcing

Strategies used to find active and/or passive candidates whose skills align with the requirements of a vacant role in an organization. Sourcing can identify either candidates who are not actively looking for job opportunities (passive job seekers) or candidates who are actively searching for jobs (active job seekers).

Both passive and active job seekers can be located by sourcing job boards, social media sites, corporate alumni associations and through all types of networking.

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985)

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a federal law that provides certain employees and their dependents with the right to continue health insurance coverage for a limited period of time after a qualifying event that would otherwise result in a loss of coverage. Qualifying events include the employee’s termination or reduction in work hours, the death of the employee, divorce or legal separation from the employee, and the loss of dependent status. COBRA requires that employers with 20 or more employees offer this continuation of coverage, which allows individuals to pay for the same health insurance coverage they had while employed. The coverage can last for up to 18 months, or up to 36 months in certain situations. While COBRA continuation coverage can be expensive, it can provide a valuable safety net for individuals who might otherwise have difficulty obtaining health insurance coverage.


Co-employment refers to the relationship between an employer and a professional employer organization (PEO), staffing agency, or employee leasing firm, based on a contractual sharing of liability and responsibility for employees.


Compa-ratio is a measure that expresses current pay rates as a percentage of range midpoints. Where the midpoint of a pay range represents full market pay, the ratio of the employee’s actual salary to that midpoint indicates whether the employee is paid below, at, or above market rates.

Compensation and Benefits(C&B) – The total rewards package offered to employees, including salary, bonuses, and other perks.

Contingent worker

Contingent workers are nonemployee workers such as independent contractors, leased workers, or staffing agency employees.


Cost-per-hire is an HR metric that measures the costs associated with filling a vacancy. This includes the internal, external, direct, and indirect costs associated with sourcing, recruiting, and staffing an open position.

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It is a term used to describe a range of initiatives and strategies aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace or other settings. Diversity refers to the differences among people, including but not limited to differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, and socioeconomic status. Equity refers to the fair treatment of individuals, regardless of their differences, and the removal of systemic barriers that prevent people from achieving their full potential. Inclusion refers to the creation of a welcoming and supportive environment that embraces diversity and ensures that everyone feels valued, respected, and included. DEI initiatives can include training and education, recruitment and retention strategies, policy and procedure changes, and community engagement efforts, among other things.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

A dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), also called a dependent care assistance plan (DCAP), is an employer benefits plan that allows tax-free contributions by an employee and/or employer to cover qualified child and dependent care services.

Disparate Impact

Disparate impact, also called adverse impact, occurs when a decision, practice, or policy has a disproportionately negative effect on a protected group, even though the impact may be unintentional.

Disparate Treatment

Disparate treatment is intentional discrimination that occurs when rules or policies are applied inconsistently to one group of people over another.

DOL (Department of Labor)

The Department of Labor (DOL) is a federal agency of the United States government responsible for overseeing and enforcing laws related to labor and employment. The DOL’s mission is to promote and protect the welfare of the nation’s job seekers, wage earners, and retirees. The agency’s responsibilities include enforcing minimum wage and overtime laws, regulating workplace safety and health, administering unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation programs, and protecting the rights of employees to form and join labor unions. The DOL also collects and disseminates data on employment and labor market trends and provides a variety of services and resources to help workers and employers understand and comply with labor laws. The Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the President’s Cabinet, heads the agency.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is a critical component of mergers and acquisitions and involves the investigation and evaluation of a particular investment or purchase by obtaining sufficient and accurate information or documents which may influence the outcome of the transaction. HR’s role generally involves reviewing all people-related policies, plans, practices, and programs, including information about an organization’s talent and culture, assessments of existing employee benefits plans and liabilities, compensation programs, employment contracts, legal exposure, and more.

EEO-1 Survey

The EEO-1 survey is a report filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that includes the racial/ethnic and gender composition of an employer’s workforce by specific job categories. Employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors with 50 or more employees and at least $50,000 in contracts are required to complete the EEO-1 survey annually.

EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency of the United States government responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, and genetic information. The EEOC was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination, file lawsuits against employers that violate anti-discrimination laws, and provide guidance and technical assistance to employers and employees. The agency also collects and analyzes employment data to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination laws and works to promote equal employment opportunity through education and outreach initiatives. The EEOC is headed by a bipartisan commission appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and it has offices throughout the United States.

EIN (Employer Identification Number)

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. It is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses and other entities for tax purposes. An EIN is used to identify a business entity, similar to how a social security number is used to identify an individual. Businesses use their EIN when filing tax returns, paying taxes, and conducting other business activities that require identification. EINs are required for most types of business entities, including corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLCs), as well as for certain nonprofit organizations and other entities. To obtain an EIN, businesses can apply online through the IRS website, by fax or mail using Form SS-4, or by telephone.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI), also known as emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ) or emotional quotient (EQ), describes an individual’s mental ability to be sensitive and understanding to the emotions of others as well as being able to manage their own emotions and impulses.

Employee Assistance Program

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems (e.g., marital, financial, or emotional problems; family issues; substance/alcohol abuse) which may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is an employee’s satisfaction with their work and pride in their employer, to the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do for work and have the perception that their employer values what they bring to the table.

Employee Referral Program

An employee referral program is a recruiting strategy where current employees are rewarded for referring qualified candidates for employment.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

An employee value proposition (EVP) is part of an employer’s branding strategy that represents everything of value that the employer has to offer its employees. Items such as pay, benefits, and career development are common, but employers also highlight offerings that are currently in demand—like technology, remote work, and flexible scheduling.

Employment at Will

Employment at will is a legal doctrine which states that an employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or employee at any time and for any or no reason as long as no laws are violated. Some form of employment at will is recognized in all states except Montana and can be nullified by an express or implied employment contract.

EPA (Equal Pay Act)

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is a federal law in the United States that prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of sex. The EPA was signed into law in 1963 and is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The EPA requires that employers pay men and women equally for doing the same job, with equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and under similar working conditions. The law covers all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which includes most businesses that engage in interstate commerce or that have employees engaged in interstate commerce. The EPA provides for both monetary damages and injunctive relief, and employees who prevail in an EPA lawsuit may be entitled to back pay, interest, and attorneys’ fees. The EPA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigates and prosecutes claims of wage discrimination based on sex.

ERISA: Employee Retirement Income Security Act – A U.S. law that sets standards for employee benefit plans.

Essential Job Functions

Essential job functions are those job duties that an employee must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation.

Exempt Position

Exempt positions are jobs that qualify for an exemption from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) white-collar and industry exemptions. Employees in exempt positions must generally be paid on a salary basis with limited exceptions.

Exit Interview

An exit interview is a conversation or questionnaire conducted at the time of an employee’s resignation used to identify the underlying factors behind an employee’s decision to leave.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) sets requirements for minimum wage, overtime, record keeping, and child labor.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer unpaid, job-protected leave to qualifying employees for medically related reasons. Amended in 2008 and 2009, it also provides for leave when a family member in the military is injured and needs care, and for other military service-related exigencies.


A work arrangement that allows employees to choose their working hours within certain limits.

Form I-9 or I-9 Form

The form I-9 (or I-9 form) is a document required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the U.S. Employers must complete form I-9 for every employee hired to work in the U.S. after Nov. 6, 1986.

FTE Count (Full-time Employee Count)

FTE count refers to the total number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions within an organization. To calculate the FTE count, an organization adds up the total number of hours worked by all employees in a given time period (such as a week or a month) and divides that number by the number of hours that represent one FTE. For example, if an organization has 10 full-time employees who work 40 hours per week and 5 part-time employees who work 20 hours per week, the FTE count would be:

10 FTEs (for the full-time employees) + (5 part-time employees x 20 hours per week) ÷ 40 hours per week = 11.25 FTEs

This calculation is useful for budgeting, planning, and other purposes, as it provides a standard measure of the organization’s workforce and can help identify staffing needs and trends over time.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

FTE stands for Full-Time Equivalent, which is a unit of measure used to represent the workload of an employee in a way that makes it easier to compare and standardize across different roles and organizations. An FTE is typically calculated based on the number of hours worked by a full-time employee during a standard workweek, which is usually 40 hours. For example, an employee who works 40 hours per week is considered one FTE, while an employee who works 20 hours per week is considered 0.5 FTE. FTEs can be used to determine staffing levels, budgeting, and other planning purposes, and they are commonly used in industries such as healthcare and education. The concept of FTEs is particularly important for organizations that employ part-time or hourly workers, as it allows them to better understand their workforce and compare it to industry benchmarks.

Gender Wage Gap

A gender wage or pay gap refers to the difference in pay between female and male employees who are performing the same or comparable jobs.

Genetic-Based Discrimination

Genetic-based discrimination refers to the practice of treating individuals unfairly or differently because of their genetic information. This can include discrimination in employment, health insurance, and other areas of life. Genetic information refers to information about an individual’s DNA, genetic tests, and family medical history.

In the United States, there are two federal laws that prohibit genetic-based discrimination: the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). GINA prohibits employers and health insurance providers from discriminating against individuals based on their genetic information. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their actual or perceived disabilities, which can include genetic conditions.

Genetic-based discrimination can have serious consequences for individuals, such as denial of employment or insurance coverage, loss of privacy, and stigmatization. It is important for individuals to understand their rights under the law and to be aware of any potential discrimination based on their genetic information.


A formal complaint raised by an employee regarding a workplace issue, typically handled through a grievance procedure.


Harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.” State laws may further define harassment to include additional protections.

Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

A health care flexible spending account (FSA) is a benefits plan designed to allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses such as co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket medical expenses. Unused FSA funds are forfeited to the employer at the end of each plan year.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the privacy of personal medical information, prohibits discrimination based on health status in group health plans, and allows for special group health plan enrollment opportunities.

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law in the United States that was enacted in 1996 to establish national standards for protecting the privacy and security of individuals’ health information. HIPAA applies to healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses that electronically transmit health information.

HIPAA provides strict guidelines for how healthcare providers and organizations must handle protected health information (PHI), which includes any information that can be used to identify an individual’s health condition or medical history. This includes information such as medical records, billing information, and personal health information.

Under HIPAA, healthcare providers and organizations must obtain written consent from patients before sharing their PHI with anyone other than those involved in their care or for billing purposes. Additionally, HIPAA requires that healthcare providers and organizations implement appropriate security measures to protect PHI, including physical, administrative, and technical safeguards.

Violations of HIPAA can result in significant financial penalties, as well as damage to an organization’s reputation. Therefore, it is important for healthcare providers and organizations to take HIPAA compliance seriously and to ensure that they are following all guidelines and requirements.

HR: Human Resources

The department responsible for managing employee-related matters within an organization.

HRBP: Human Resources Business Partner

HR professionals who work closely with business leaders to align HR strategies with organizational goals.

HRO: Human Resources Outsourcing

Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) is a practice in which a company contracts with an external provider to manage some or all of its HR functions. This can include tasks such as payroll administration, benefits administration, recruiting and hiring, employee training and development, and compliance with employment laws and regulations.

HRO can provide a number of benefits to organizations, such as cost savings, improved efficiency, and access to specialized expertise. By outsourcing HR functions, companies can focus on their core business activities while relying on the expertise of a third-party provider to manage their HR operations.

Human Capital Management (HCM)

Human Capital Management (HCM) is the process of managing and developing an organization’s workforce to maximize its value and potential. It involves activities such as recruitment and hiring, employee training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and succession planning.

HCM recognizes that people are a valuable asset for an organization and that managing them effectively can lead to improved business performance and competitive advantage. By developing a strategic approach to managing its workforce, an organization can ensure that it has the right people with the right skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve its goals and objectives.

HCM involves using a range of tools and techniques, including technology and data analytics, to identify workforce needs, attract and retain top talent, and develop employees’ skills and knowledge. It also involves creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that encourages engagement, collaboration, and innovation.

Effective HCM can lead to improved employee satisfaction and retention, increased productivity and efficiency, and improved financial performance. It is a critical component of any organization’s overall business strategy and can help ensure long-term success and sustainability.

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

A human resources information system (HRIS) is a software solution that maintains, manages, and processes detailed employee information and human resources-related policies and procedures such as benefits, payroll, recruiting, training, etc.

I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification Form

A U.S. government form used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment.

I-864: Affidavit of Support

A U.S. form required for sponsors of immigrants to show they have the financial means to support the sponsored individual.

Implicit Bias

Implicit bias refers to attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases can be positive or negative and are often rooted in our cultural or social experiences, upbringing, and media exposure.


Inclusion is the extent to which each person in an organization feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a team member.

Job Description (JD)

A job description (JD) is a document that outlines the duties, responsibilities, and requirements of a particular job. It provides a clear and concise description of the job and the qualifications necessary to perform it effectively.

A typical job description includes the following components:

  1. Job title: The title of the job position.
  2. Job summary: A brief summary of the job, including its purpose and scope.
  3. Responsibilities: A list of the specific duties and responsibilities that the job requires.
  4. Qualifications: A list of the necessary qualifications, skills, and experience required for the job.
  5. Education: A description of the educational requirements for the job, such as a specific degree or certification.
  6. Experience: A description of the minimum level of experience required for the job.
  7. Competencies: A list of the skills, abilities, and knowledge required for the job.
  8. Working conditions: A description of the working environment, including any physical demands, travel requirements, or other working conditions.

Job descriptions are used in a variety of ways, including to advertise job openings, to evaluate job performance, and to provide guidance and direction to employees. A well-written job description can help ensure that an organization hires the right person for the job and helps employees understand their roles and responsibilities.

Job Analysis

Job analysis is the process of gathering information regarding a specific job to determine the essential functions of the job; the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the job; the job’s relative importance in relation to other positions; and more.

Job Evaluation

Job evaluation is the process of comparing a job with other jobs in an organization to determine an appropriate pay rate for the job. Four primary methods of job evaluations used to set compensation levels are point factor, factor comparison, job ranking, and job classification.

Just-Cause Termination

Just-cause termination, in contrast to employment at will, indicates an employee’s employment will not be terminated without prior notice and process of informing the employee in writing of the job performance issues.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are measurable metrics used to evaluate the success and progress of an organization, team, or individual towards achieving their goals and objectives. KPIs are used to track performance, measure progress, and identify areas for improvement.

KPIs vary depending on the industry, organization, and specific goals. However, some common KPIs include:

  1. Revenue and profit margins
  2. Customer satisfaction and retention
  3. Sales growth and conversion rates
  4. Employee productivity and engagement
  5. Website traffic and online engagement
  6. Supply chain performance and efficiency
  7. Time-to-market for new products or services
  8. Project completion rates and timelines

KPIs can be measured using a variety of methods, such as data analytics, surveys, customer feedback, and employee performance reviews. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound to ensure they effectively measure progress and drive performance.

Effective use of KPIs requires ongoing monitoring and analysis to identify trends and areas for improvement. KPIs can be used to motivate and incentivize employees to achieve their goals, and to ensure that an organization is focused on the most important areas of its business.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) is a framework used in human resources to describe the requirements and qualifications for a specific job position. It is used to assess a candidate’s suitability for the job based on their demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Knowledge refers to an individual’s understanding of a particular subject or area of expertise. This can include formal education, training, or experience in a specific field.

Skills refer to an individual’s ability to perform specific tasks or activities related to the job. This can include technical skills, such as using computer software, or soft skills, such as communication and leadership.

Abilities refer to an individual’s innate talents or qualities that enable them to perform certain tasks or activities. This can include physical abilities, such as dexterity, or cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

Employers use the KSA framework to develop job descriptions, identify necessary qualifications for a job, and evaluate candidates during the hiring process. The KSA framework is also used to develop employee training and development programs to enhance an individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities related to their job.

Labor Force

The labor force, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the number of people ages 16 and older who are either working or actively looking for work.

Labor Relations

The management of relationships between employers and employees, often involving labor unions and collective bargaining.

Leadership Development

Programs and initiatives designed to develop leadership skills and competencies among employees.

Learning and Development (L&D)

The process of acquiring knowledge, skills, and competencies through training and education.

Learning Management System (LMS)

Software used to deliver, track, and manage employee training and development programs.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a period of time during which an employee is authorized to take an extended period of time off work while retaining their job and benefits. LOA policies are established by employers to allow employees to take time off for personal or medical reasons, such as illness, disability, or family care.

LOAs may be paid or unpaid, depending on the employer’s policy and the reason for the leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for qualifying medical or family reasons. Some employers may offer additional paid or unpaid leave beyond the FMLA requirements.

During an LOA, an employee may continue to receive health insurance, retirement benefits, and other employee benefits, depending on the employer’s policy. Employers may require employees to use up their paid time off (PTO) or vacation time before taking an unpaid leave.

Employees must follow their employer’s policy and procedures for requesting an LOA, which typically involves submitting a request in writing and providing supporting documentation, such as a medical certificate or proof of family care responsibilities. Employers may also require periodic updates from employees on their status and expected return to work date.

Maternity Leave

A period of authorized absence granted to female employees for the birth or adoption of a child.

Mission Statement

A mission statement is a concise explanation of the organization’s reason for existence. It describes the organization’s purpose and overall intention.

Negligent Hiring

Negligent hiring is a claim that can be made against an employer when an employee causes harm to others and the employer should have known of the individual’s potential to cause harm but did not take steps to mitigate the risk (i.e., not hiring the individual). Conducting thorough background checks is one tactic employers use to avoid negligent hiring liability.


Nepotism is the employment of relatives or the practice of favoring relatives in employment.

Non-compete Agreement

A non-compete agreement is a contract restricting an employee from obtaining employment with a competitor within a specified industry, distance and/or time frame.

Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA)

A nondisclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, is a contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information outside of the company.

Nonexempt Position

A nonexempt position, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is one that must be paid overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. By definition, it does not meet any of the exemptions to the FLSA that would allow an employer not to pay overtime.


Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into an organization and ensuring that they are adequately trained, supported, and informed about their role and responsibilities. The purpose of onboarding is to provide new hires with the tools and knowledge they need to become productive and successful members of the organization.

Effective onboarding typically involves several steps, including:

  1. Preparing for the new hire’s arrival by setting up their work area, equipment, and technology access.
  2. Providing an orientation that covers the company’s culture, policies, and procedures, as well as the new hire’s specific job duties and expectations.
  3. Introducing the new hire to their team members, supervisor, and other relevant staff.
  4. Providing training and support to ensure that the new hire has the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their job effectively.
  5. Establishing regular check-ins and feedback sessions to ensure that the new hire is acclimating to the job and company culture and has an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

Effective onboarding is important for both the new hire and the organization. For new hires, it can reduce anxiety and stress, enhance job satisfaction and engagement, and increase retention rates. For the organization, it can improve productivity, reduce turnover, and enhance the organization’s reputation as an employer of choice.

Organizational Change

Organizational change refers to organization-wide changes such as restructuring operations; implementing new programs; and introducing new technologies, processes, services, or products.

OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is a federal agency within the US Department of Labor that is responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for employees by setting and enforcing workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA’s mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths by promoting safe and healthy working conditions through education, training, outreach, and compliance assistance. OSHA establishes and enforces standards for workplace safety and health, conducts inspections to ensure that employers are complying with these standards, and provides information and assistance to employers and employees to help them improve workplace safety and health.

OSHA covers most private sector employers and their employees, as well as some public sector employers and workers in certain industries. OSHA standards cover a wide range of hazards, including falls, electrical hazards, hazardous chemicals, and machinery. Employers are responsible for providing a workplace free from recognized hazards and for complying with OSHA standards.

OSHA also provides a variety of training and educational resources for employers and employees to help them understand workplace hazards and how to prevent them. These resources include training courses, educational materials, and consultations with OSHA experts to help employers identify and address workplace safety and health hazards.

Pay Equity

Pay equity is the principle that individuals should receive equal pay for work of equal value, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics that are not job-related. It is a legal and ethical concept that aims to eliminate pay discrimination and ensure that all employees are fairly compensated for their work.

Pay equity can be achieved through a variety of measures, such as conducting regular pay equity analyses to identify and address any pay gaps, establishing clear job evaluation and compensation policies and procedures, and promoting transparency and communication about pay and compensation practices.

Performance Appraisal

A formal assessment of an employee’s job performance and contribution to the organization.

Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

A performance improvement plan (PIP), also known as a performance action plan, is a tool to give an employee with performance deficiencies the opportunity to succeed. It may be used to address failures to meet specific job goals or to mitigate behavior-related concerns.

Performance Management

Performance management is the process of maintaining or improving employee job performance through the use of performance assessment tools, coaching, and counseling as well as providing continuous feedback.

Professional Employer Organization (PEO)

A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a company that provides comprehensive HR outsourcing services to businesses. PEOs typically provide a wide range of HR services, such as payroll administration, employee benefits administration, workers’ compensation insurance, compliance management, and risk management.

Protected Class

A protected class refers to certain groups of individuals protected by anti-discrimination laws, such as women, older workers, people with disabilities, minorities, and others.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

Paid Time Off (PTO) refers to a policy that provides employees with a set number of days off that they can use for vacation, sick leave, personal days, or other reasons, while still receiving their regular pay. PTO policies consolidate various types of leave into a single pool of days that employees can use as needed.

PTO policies typically provide employees with a set number of days off based on their length of service with the company, job level, or other factors. Employees accrue PTO days over time, typically on a monthly or annual basis, and can use them as needed, subject to company policy.

PTO policies are different from traditional vacation and sick leave policies, which provide separate buckets of time off for each type of leave. With a PTO policy, employees have more flexibility to use their leave time as needed, without having to distinguish between vacation and sick days.

PTO policies are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, as they simplify the process of managing time off for both employers and employees. They also provide employees with more flexibility and control over their time off, which can be a valuable employee benefit.

Employers should establish clear policies and procedures for PTO, including guidelines for accrual, carryover, and use of PTO days. Employers should also ensure that PTO policies comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo (this for that) harassment occurs when someone in a position of authority over another (i.e., a manager or supervisor) directly or indirectly demands sexual favors in exchange for some benefit (a promotion, pay increase, etc.) or to avoid some detriment (termination, demotion, etc.) in the workplace.

Reasonable Accommodation

A reasonable accommodation, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a modification or adjustment of a job process or work environment that will better enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job.


Recruiting encompasses all aspects of hiring new individuals to work for a company. It includes attracting, identifying, and engaging candidates; ensuring qualifications and assessing background information; interviewing and selecting a quality candidate for hire; and making a job offer. Onboarding a new employee is often considered part of the recruiting process as well.

Religious Accommodation

A religious accommodation is an accommodation, such as time off from work, made for an employee so they may exercise their religious beliefs or practices. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs unless doing so would create an undue hardship.

Retirement Plan

A financial plan, typically involving employer contributions, to provide income to employees after they retire.

RIF (Reduction in Force)

A Reduction in Force (RIF) is a process that occurs when an organization needs to reduce its workforce due to financial constraints, organizational restructuring, or other reasons. RIFs are typically used as a last resort when other cost-cutting measures have been exhausted, and the organization is unable to maintain its current staffing levels.

RIFs involve the permanent termination of employment for some or all of the affected employees. Employers typically use objective criteria to determine which employees will be impacted by the RIF, such as job performance, skills, seniority, or other factors.

Employers must follow specific legal requirements and guidelines when conducting a RIF, particularly with respect to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The WARN Act requires covered employers to provide advance notice of a mass layoff or plant closure, typically 60 days in advance, to affected employees and government entities.

Employers should also take steps to ensure that the RIF process is fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory, and that affected employees are treated with dignity and respect. This includes providing clear communication about the reasons for the RIF, offering severance packages and outplacement services to affected employees, and minimizing the impact of the RIF on the remaining workforce.

RIFs can be a difficult and emotional process for both employers and employees. Employers should approach RIFs with care and sensitivity, and seek legal and professional guidance to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Right-to-Work State

A “right-to-work” state is a state that has enacted legislation guaranteeing that no individual can be forced as a condition of employment to join or pay dues or fees to a labor union. States have the right to enact these laws under Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management)

SHRM stands for the Society for Human Resource Management. It is the world’s largest HR professional society, with over 300,000 members in more than 165 countries. SHRM is dedicated to advancing the HR profession by providing resources, education, and certification to HR professionals around the world.

Situational Leadership

Situational leadership is a leadership model developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard that emphasizes the need for leaders to adjust their leadership style to fit the needs of their followers in different situations. The model proposes that there is no one “best” leadership style, and that effective leaders must be able to adapt their leadership style to meet the needs of their followers in different situations.

According to the situational leadership model, there are four basic leadership styles: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. These styles are based on two dimensions: the follower’s level of development and the task’s level of clarity.

The follower’s level of development refers to their competence and commitment to the task at hand. The task’s level of clarity refers to the clarity of the goals and the methods for achieving them. Based on these two dimensions, leaders are encouraged to adjust their leadership style to fit the situation.

For example, if a follower is new to a task and lacks the competence and commitment needed to succeed, a leader may need to use a more directive style, providing clear instructions and closely supervising their work. As the follower’s competence and commitment grow, the leader may shift to a more supportive or delegating style, giving the follower more autonomy and responsibility.

Overall, the situational leadership model emphasizes the importance of flexibility and adaptability in leadership. Effective leaders must be able to assess the needs of their followers and adjust their leadership style to fit the situation in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Skills Gap

A skills gap refers to the difference between the skills an employer needs and the skills employees and applicants have. When discussed broadly, it includes the idea that there is a shortage of workers to fill this gap.


Sourcing is the proactive search for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions within a company.

Stay Interview

A stay interview is an interview conducted with an employee to learn why the employee continues to work for the employer and what could trigger the employee to consider leaving.

Structure Interview

A structured interview asks the same questions of each candidate so that valid comparisons of the quality of responses can be obtained.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is the process of identifying long-range organizational human capital needs and cultivating a supply of internal talent to meet those future needs. Succession planning is used to anticipate the future needs of the organization and to assist in finding, assessing, and developing the human capital necessary to realize the strategy of the organization.

Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition, also known as recruiting, is the process of hiring individuals with the skills and abilities needed for the job. This includes sourcing and attracting talent, interviewing, background checking, and onboarding.


The process of ending an employee’s employment, whether voluntary or involuntary.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity or expression), and religion.

Time and Labor Management (TLM)

Time and labor management is the process of managing and optimizing employee time and attendance in order to maximize productivity and minimize costs. It involves tracking employee time worked, managing employee schedules, and ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations.

Time and labor management typically involves the use of technology such as time and attendance software, biometric devices, and mobile apps to track employee time and attendance. This technology can automate many of the tasks involved in time and labor management, such as time tracking, scheduling, and payroll processing, which can help to reduce errors and save time.

Total Compensation

Total compensation refers to the complete pay package awarded to employees on an annual basis, including all direct and non-direct compensation such as salary, health care, retirement benefits, incentive pay, and paid time off.

Turnover Rate

Turnover is the rate at which employees move in and out of a company. This metric is measured by the number of separations in a month divided by the average number of employees on payroll, multiplied by 100.

Unemployment Insurance

A government program that provides temporary financial assistance to employees who are unemployed.

Unfair Labor Practice

An unfair labor practice is an action by an employer or a union that violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). There are five categories of unfair labor practices for employers that are prohibited under the NLRA: 1) Interference, restraint, or coercion; 2) Employer domination or support of a labor organization; 3) Discrimination based on labor activity; 4) Discrimination in retaliation for contacting the NLRB; and 5) Refusal to bargain.

Values Statement

A values statement lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and its culture.

Vision Statement

A vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve. It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees.

Work From Home (WFH)

Work From Home (WFH) refers to a work arrangement where employees are allowed to work from their homes or remote locations instead of coming to the office. With advances in technology and the rise of the gig economy, many organizations have started offering remote work opportunities to their employees.

Remote work can offer a number of benefits to both employees and employers, including increased flexibility, reduced commuting time and costs, and improved work-life balance. For employers, remote work can also help to reduce office space and other overhead costs.

However, there are also some challenges associated with remote work, such as the need to maintain communication and collaboration among team members and ensuring that employees have the necessary equipment and technology to do their jobs effectively.

To implement a successful WFH program, organizations need to provide employees with the necessary tools and support, such as access to communication and collaboration tools, remote access to company networks and systems, and guidelines for managing their time and workloads.

Workforce Planning

Workforce planning is the process of identifying an organization’s current and future staffing needs and developing strategies to meet those needs. It involves analyzing the workforce and projecting future workforce requirements in order to ensure that the organization has the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles, at the right time.

Workforce planning typically involves several key steps:

  1. Analyzing the current workforce: This involves gathering data on the organization’s current workforce, including demographic information, job titles, skills, and performance metrics.
  2. Forecasting future workforce needs: Based on business goals and projections, organizations can estimate their future workforce needs and identify any potential gaps in staffing.
  3. Developing workforce strategies: Once future workforce needs are identified, organizations can develop strategies for recruiting, retaining, and developing employees to meet those needs.
  4. Implementing and monitoring workforce plans: Workforce plans should be implemented and regularly monitored to ensure that they are effective and aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.

Yellow-Dog Contract

A yellow-dog contract is an employment contract or agreement, either oral or in writing, that forbids employees from joining or continuing membership in any labor union as a condition for continuing or obtaining employment. These were made illegal under the Norris LaGuardia Act.