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15 Human Resource Terminologies You Need to Know of 01 December, 2020   

Being engaged in human resources jobs always calls for effective communication skills and knowledge of some terminologies and jargon that most people are sometimes unaware of. If you plan on getting a job in human resources, it is quite mandatory to ensure that you end up knowing the tasks and other forms of terminologies essential not just for you to know but for you to know of while you are interviewing someone else. 

Not just for interviewing purposes, if you are planning on moving back to school for a Business degree, ensuring that you are well versed with all the jargon concerning Human resource terminologies is a must. To make it a bit easier for you, we have enlisted some of the common terminologies that you will often encounter when in the field of HR. Let’s go alphabetically, shall we?


Attrition refers to the voluntary and involuntary terminations, a record of employee retirements, and even death records that end up causing a salient reduction in the company's total physician workforce. This work aspect might not be that much of a big deal when it comes to small firms and start-ups. The same can be a job in itself when it concerns a big multinational company or global organization.

Balanced scorecard

A balanced scorecard was something that dates back to the days in the early 1990s when Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton introduced it to the field of HR. It is nothing but a compiled approach to the management and measurement system, which moves across four aspects: internal business processes, customer knowledge, financial performance, and the company's learning and growth.

Behavioral Competency

Just as the name suggests, behavioral competency is nothing but evaluating employees' behavioral and character traits. The prospect of how these competencies are evaluated primarily depends on what the employer has in their mind. For the most part, these skills often tend to revolve around people skills, communicational skills, achievement skills, and the individual's managerial skills.


It is possibly one of the most commonly heard human resource terminologies in existence. It assesses the overall organization's performance based on customer satisfaction rate, sales, retention, and even the other available metrics. Benchmarking cannot just assess the company's internal performance, but the external performance, too, regarding the competitors to witness whether or not there have been any impactful changes and progress.


Broadbanding is a form of pay structure that emphasizes the hierarchy rather than job duties, performance, or even skills. It is one of those types of pay structure that encourages the upscaling of the employee skills and growth, but the same comes with a fair share of downsides – the lack of promotion being the very first thing. The companies with a broadband pay structure will hire one person with higher pay than different people with a lower salary.

Confidentiality agreement

It is as simple as the terminology states. The confidentiality agreement is nothing but an agreement between the employer and the employee. The employee must keep certain things about their jobs confidential and patented. Several companies and brands have their fair share of information, which can inflict negative implications to the organization's entirety if leaked—the confidentiality agreement.

Distributive bargaining

Distributive bargaining is the complete negotiation between the competing parties that encompasses the distribution of any finite resource. In this kind of situation, it is one of the parties that prevails to the other one's detriment. 

Due diligence

It is quite a common term too, and in general terms, they mean the easy steps taken to ensure compliance with the complete facet of the laws and regulations. When it involves any collaboration and merging, due diligence is a process that readily involves examining the details involved in the investment or the purchase to ensure that all of the paperwork and the documentation related to the product are up to date. 

Emotional intelligence

Not just restricted to the realms of human resource terminologies, emotional intelligence (EI) is the measure of the person’s ability to perceive, assess, and manage one’s overall emotion and the people it's surrounding. It is quite mandatory and a must for HR people to have a very high EI rate because the situation does call for it. 

Freedom of Association

Just as easy and straightforward as the term suggests, freedom of association is the kind of leeway that individuals get when it comes to who they want to associate with and who they don’t want to. Not just that, the involved group can easily be involved in taking collective action in concern with one’s perception of member interest. In the simplest of human resource terminologies, it means the employees' ability to form labor parties. 

Gross Misconduct

Judging by the term itself, gross misconduct is a situation so drastic that it calls for the immediate sack of the involved employee. While the situations need to be something out of the realm of misconduct, it is generally believed that mistreating, physical or sexual harassment in the work premises tends to be the common ground behind the same. 

Hawthorne effect

Another common Human resource terminologies discussed the influence of the physical output of the employee’s productivity when they are being watched. Regarding human resource terminology, Hawthorne Effect means the kind of influence on the productivity of an employee’s work based on their awareness concerning how they are being observed and judged in their work premises.


Not just used for celebrities, nepotism is quite a common term in the field of HR too. Regarding human resources, nepotism alludes to friends and relatives' preferential hiring even if there are people with better caliber and capability. This kind of favoritism is mainly portrayed by people in higher authorities, like CEOs, managers, etc.


Onboarding is the simple term referring to when an application turns to employee status. It is not the same as initial hiring because it is much like the full end to the process, including completing all the paperwork and the involved orientation.

Retention strategy

These are the set of processes and strategies implemented by the management to ensure that the employees stay in the company and are satisfied and don’t leave the company. It is completely in the hands of the people with authority to ensure how they manage their employees to ensure that they are happy and satisfied with what they are doing but are producing a similar kind of outcome and productivity in the end well. It is necessary to ensure a perfect balance between the organizational goals and the work the employees are putting into the job. 

Human resource terminologies are fundamental to be well aware of if it involves any negotiation and contracts. Irrespective of whether or not you will pursue HR as a career, it is beneficial to know about all the terminologies to establish your company's place.

Human resource terminologies Human resources Business Jargons

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