Employee Benefit and Regulations HR Terms You Should Know

Protect your rights by learning what human resources HR terms mean in terms of current and potential employer policy, regulations, and employee benefits. Check out our extensive HR Term Glossary.

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By Ho Lin 3 minute read

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What Are HR Terms?

HR professionals regularly use certain terms to refer to the goings-on in a company. No matter your job title, it’s a good idea to know these terms because many of them refer to how a company might regulate your job or the things you’re allowed to do. If you’re looking to learn more about employee benefits and regulations, then here’s what you need to know.

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HR Term Glossary

Employee engagement
A conceptual idea regarding whether employees are interested in their job above just getting paid for it. Low engagement may impact employees’ job performance.

Employee performance
Whether an employee is doing well at their job or not. Measurements associated with this concept will differ depending on the field.

Employment law: Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO/EEOC), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Legal requirements regarding the process of talent management. These laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against eligible applicants based on protected characteristics like race, sex, and disability.

Exit interview
An interview that an HR manager might have with you when you quit a job. This is typically to see what they might do to improve the workplace.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
A set of legal requirements that indicates minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. This makes sure everyone gets paid properly and isn’t overworked.

Full-time/Part-time
Employment that fits within specific standards for a workweek, most frequently 40 hours per week for full time and 20 hours per week for part-time. This determination can impact what benefits you’re eligible for.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)
A calculation to determine how much of a full-time workweek an employee is working. It helps organizations understand profits and comply with certain legal standards.

Human Capital Management (HCM)
The process of staffing the right people and optimizing productivity. It’s one of the most common elements of management.

Human Resource Information System (HRIS)/ Human Resource Management System (HRM)
Types of software that help employers manage elements of human resources.

Job description A description of the requirements and expectations at a specific job. Employers may write a description for a job posting; job seekers may write a resume job description to explain previous jobs.

Minimum wage
The least amount of money a company is allowed to pay you per hour or day in a specific state or country.

Misconduct
Any situation where an individual does not conduct themselves appropriately. More egregious issues may be called “gross misconduct.”

New employee/New hire
An individual who is new to the organization.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
A regulatory agency of the United States concerned with the safety of workplaces. It publishes safety regulations that workplaces have to abide by.

Onboarding
The process of training and development for new hires.

Performance management
An HR process that ensures organization initiatives are being met.

Performance review/Performance appraisal
A process whereby managers ensure that your performance is meeting requirements. They may also give you suggestions to improve.

Retention
The number of individuals who stay with a company. This may be discussed as employee retention, which refers to employees not seeking new jobs, or customer retention, which refers to customers coming back to the company after making a purchase.

Risk management
The process of making sure that an organization isn’t taking more risk than is necessary to function as a business.

Sick leave
Time allotted to employees to stay home because of sickness. Separate from other types of paid leave.

Small business
A business that is not one of the larger ones in its industry. This typically has to do with both how many employees the business has and how much money the business is making.

Succession planning
A process of identifying the most crucial leadership roles in a company, then ensuring you have a plan for someone to move into those roles if they end up becoming vacant.

Work environment
The place where you work. This may be an office building, a room in your home, a construction area, or somewhere else entirely.

Workers’ compensation
A U.S. Department of Labor program for people who are injured at work or acquire an occupational disease.

Working conditions
The physical and mental conditions of your work environment. OSHA regulates working conditions to ensure safety.

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FAQ: HR Terms

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Not necessarily, but many of them are helpful as you search for a job. If a job description mentions “Benefits available upon request,” for example, then you need to know what that means and whether you should ask for the list. They can also be helpful when writing your hr cover letter.

Yes. Key performance indicators, for example, vary dramatically from company to company. Additionally, while certain terms and programs are defined on the federal level, many are defined on the state level; so, each state may have different regulations.

If you want more accurate sourcing on different terms’ definitions, then talk to your company’s Human Resources team or ask a manager. They will be able to tell you what a specific term means. They may even have their own glossary.

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WRITTEN BY Ho Lin

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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