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February 11, 2016
November 17, 2020
A couple of weeks ago in our HRIS Buzzwords & Trends post, I mentioned that we were working on the Big Book of People Management Terms – and here it is!
As with any vocation, People Management has a language all its own. All those acronyms and terms can be confusing. Even a seasoned practitioner can feel like they have opened up a can of alphabet soup as they try to keep up with all the different terms in use.
To help out, we have put together a list of jargon, acronyms and abbreviations to help you work through the jumble of letters that are in play as they relate to Payroll and Human Resources. After all, your employees, managers, and executive may have mastered texting acronyms like LOL and TTYL, but they are probably puzzled when they see acronyms like HRIS, HCM or HRMS used interchangeably around your office.
So feel free to share this link with them so you can all speak the same language together.
Tracking of employee time off reasons such as: illness, jury duty, bereavement, etc.
The extent to which an employer’s facility is readily approachable and does not inhibit the mobility of individuals with disabilities, particularly such areas as the personnel office, worksite and public areas.
Mobile apps are the future of HRIS – and they are different and more powerful than typical browser-based web systems. As an example, progressive companies are already starting to utilize culture and feedback apps.
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Any system that tracks hiring data such as resumes/applications and internal job posting information.
Background Screening / Pre-Employment Screening
Testing to ensure that employers are hiring qualified and honest employees and that a prospective employee is capable of performing the functions required by the job. The screening can involve background checks, drug screening, skills assessment and behavioral assessments.
A strategic planning and management system that is used to tie business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor performance against goals. The balanced scorecard measures four areas of business: internal business processes, financial performance, customer knowledge, and learning and growth.
A technique using specific standards to make comparisons between different organizations or different segments of the organizations, with the intent of improving a product or service.
Software that helps companies manage and track employee participation in benefits programs such as healthcare, flexible spending accounts, pension plans, etc. This software helps automate and streamline the complex and otherwise time-consuming tasks of benefits administration. Often included in HCM software packages.
Typically refers to the practices of an organization that enables them to achieve superior organizational performance results.
The ability for HR to leverage their employee data to improve operational performance.
A workforce is comprised of permanent full-time, part-time, temporary employees and independent contractors.
A boomerang employee is one that leaves a company only to return later. With social interaction platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook it makes it easier for former employee’s to stay connected with former employers. More and more companies are rehiring former employees as they are familiar with the company culture and take less time to onboard, allowing them to be productive team members quickly upon their return.
BPO (Business Process Overview)
An overview of an organizations current business processes and state to determine areas for improvement and streamlining. Often captured in workflow diagrams.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
A term used to describe the growing trend of employee-owned devices within a business such as smartphones tablets, laptops and other devices. Many employers have policies that govern the use of employee-owned devices in the workplace.
Business Intelligence (BI)
An umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.
Cafeteria Benefits Plan
A plan in which an employer offers employees a variety of different benefits. The employee is able to choose which benefits would fit their individual needs. Examples of benefits offered in the cafeteria include group-term life insurance, dental insurance, disability and accident insurance, and reimbursement of healthcare expenses.
Canadian Pension Plan (CPP)
One of three levels of Canada's retirement income system, which is responsible for paying retirement or disability benefits. The Canada Pension Plan was established in 1966 to provide a basic benefits package for retirees and disabled contributors. If the recipient dies, survivors receive the plan's provided benefits.The CPP pays a monthly amount, which is designed to replace about 25% of the contributor's earnings on which initial contributions were based, and is indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
A Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) is a corporate officer who oversees all aspects of human resource management and industrial relations policies, practices and operations for an organization. Similar job titles include: Chief People Officer, Chief Personnel Officer, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Senior Vice President of Human Resources.
Roles and responsibilities of a typical CHRO can be categorized as follows:
Storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive or local server.
CNESST (Formerly CSST)
Equivalent of WCB in Québec. See WCB definition.
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
Collective bargaining is a process of voluntary negotiation between employers and workers' organizations (generally trade unions) aimed at reaching agreements which regulate items such as governing wages, benefits and working conditions.
An alternative scheduling method that allows employees to work a standard workweek over less than a five-day period in one week or a 10-day period in two weeks.
Consumerised HR Technology
This term refers to building solutions that are easy for your employees and managers to navigate so they can easily find, enter or update their information, and collaborate with their team. Instead of designing HRIS software and applications solely to make the jobs of people management professionals easier, applications are now being designed with the end users in mind – managers and employees.
The skills, knowledge and abilities which employees must possess in order to successfully perform job functions that are essential to business operations.
Cost of Benefits
The total cost of all employee benefits paid by a company on an employee’s behalf.
Cost of Labour
The total payments in the form of gross salary and wages, bonuses, and other cash allowances paid to employees.
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
An annual adjustment in wages to offset a change in purchasing power, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
A means of measuring the costs associated with a specific program, project, activity or benefit compared with the total benefit or value derived.
The direct and indirect costs that are calculated to measure the costs associated with filling a vacant position in an organization.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
Canada Revenue Agency, a federal agency that administers tax laws for the Government of Canada.
An incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data has been viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.
See Big Data definition.
Payment for services under any employer-sponsored plan or arrangement that allows an employee (for tax-related purposes) to defer income to the future.
Defined Benefit Plan
A retirement plan that is not an individual account plan and pays participants a fixed periodic benefit or a lump-sum amount, calculated using specific formulas that include such items as age, earnings and length of service.
Defined Contribution Plan
An individual account plan in which the employer contributes a specific amount of money into each year that is to be distributed among the accounts of each plan participant.
The physical characteristics of an employee population, such as age, sex, marital status, family size, education, geographic location and occupation.
Training or educational programs designed to stimulate an individual’s professional growth by increasing his or her skills, knowledge or abilities.
All compensation (base salary and/or incentive pay) that is paid directly to an employee.
Disaster Recovery Plan
A set of guidelines and procedures to be used by an organization for the recovery of data lost due to severe forces of nature, such as earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, floods or hurricanes.
The means of reprimanding employees who fail to abide by the organization’s performance standards, policies or rules.
Dynamic scheduling is a process that creates a resource-specific working plan that is based on a set of activities. This working plan adapts to react to events. For example, if a large amount of inventory is ordered the system will add the required employees to the schedule to accommodate fulfillment of the large order.
An unemployment insurance program in Canada that allows individuals who have recently lost a job to receive temporary financial assistance. Employment insurance can also be extended to individuals who are unable to work because of illness or who are caring for a young child or a seriously ill family member. In additional to financial assistance, the program assists the unemployed with job search services.
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
The electronic transfer of money from one bank account to another, either within a single financial institution or across multiple institutions, through computer-based systems and without the direct intervention of bank staff.
The delivery of formal and informal training and educational materials, processes and programs via the use of electronic media.
The means of creating a work environment that empowers employees to make decisions that affect their jobs.
A broad term used to refer to the general management and planning of activities related to developing, maintaining and improving employee relationships by communicating with employees, processing grievances/disputes, etc.
Organizational policies and practices designed to meet the diverse needs of employees and create an environment that encourages employees to remain employed.
Employee Self-Service (ESS)
A web based interface that allows employees to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR (such as benefits enrollment, updating personal information and accessing company information).
Employee Stock Purchase Plan
An employer-sponsored plan that allows employees to purchase company stock below the fair market value.
This terms reflects promoting a company, or an organization, as the employer of choice to a desired target group, one which a company needs and wants to recruit and retain. Often a joint effort between the HR and Marketing teams.
Employment Agreement / Contract
A formal, legally binding agreement between an employer and employee outlining terms of employment such as duration, compensation, benefits, etc. Often in place of a union agreement.
A specified amount provided to the employee for vacation time, personal time off, banked time, absence time, etc.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Enterprise Resource Planning, a system that is used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business. An HCM integrates with ERPs usually through the ERP’s financial module.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
A policy statement that equal consideration for a job is applicable to all individuals and that the employer does not discriminate based on race, colour, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability or gender.
Recording of time beyond regular hours such as: overtime, vacation, training, etc.
Employees who work outside of the union agreement in an organization. Typically executive and administrative positions.
An interview conducted at the time of an employee’s resignation, used to identify the underlying factors behind an employee’s decision to leave.
Flexible Benefit Plan
See Cafeteria Benefits Plan definition.
An alternative work arrangement providing employees with greater flexibility in meeting their own personal needs by allowing them to work non-traditional schedules (i.e. compressed workweek, summer hours or flextime).
Variable work hours requiring employees to work a standard number of core hours within a specified period of time, allowing employees greater flexibility in their starting and ending times.
A business analysis conducted in order to assess what future trends are likely to happen, especially in connection with a particular situation, function, practice or process that is likely to affect the organization’s business operations.
Employment benefits granted to employees in addition to their current base salary or wages (i.e. cash, merchandise, services, health insurance, pension plans, holidays, paid vacations, etc.)
A value assigned to signify the number of full-time employees that could have been employed if the reported number of hours worked by part-time employees had been worked by full-time employees instead.
In an employment or HR context, gamification refers to a process of making systems, processes or other employment related activities more enjoyable and motivating through game design elements. For example, using game elements to make a mundane activity like benefits enrollment more enjoyable. Gamification has been applied to recruiting, learning and development, employee surveys and many more areas of talent management.
A court order requiring an employer to withhold a certain percentage from an employee’s pay in order to settle a debt with a creditor.
The term used to describe individuals born between 1965 and 1980.
The term used to describe individuals born between 1985 and the present.
A formal complaint from an employee against the employer for perceived violation of the union or collective agreement conditions.
The amount of income, exclusive of any deductions, paid to employees during the calendar year which may include pay for earnings such as: regular earnings, sick and vacation leave, discretionary day, holiday, longevity, compensatory time, etc.
Refers to average number of people employed directly by the company on a full-time and part-time basis.
Health & Safety Administration
Tracking of any workplace incidents or accidents. Using the data recorded for trend analysis, providing training, outreach and education; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace health and safety.
Health Spending Account
Health Spending Accounts are specified maximum Annual Allocations of funds exclusively for the purpose of health care spending. Eligible Claims are reimbursed to the employee to the defined maximum.
HR can get buried in the content avalanche—which includes paper, video, recruiting materials, employee communications, total rewards, email, social media, portals and other formats.
Allows a company to: manage employee data, and automate management of employees and the interaction they have with managers and company policies. HR software starts managing employees and their data at their initial job applications, continuously through to processing the employee’s departure from the company. Typically includes recruiting, performance management, training and development, and position management modules.
See HR Software definition.
Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO)
Human Resource Outsourcing occurs when a business instructs an external supplier to take responsibility (and risk) for HR functions and perform these tasks for the business.
Human Capital Management (HCM) Metrics
Measurements used to determine the value and effectiveness of HR strategies. Typically includes items such as cost per hire, turnover rates/costs, training and human capital ROI, labour /productivity rates and costs, benefit costs per employee, etc.
Human Capital Management (HCM) Vendor
A company that sells Payroll, Human Resources and/or Time & Attendance software.
When an HCM Vendor provides services to a client in order to have their software used by a client in the client’s environment.
Additional compensation used to motivate and reward employees for exceeding performance or productivity goals.
Typically refers to software that allows Payroll, HR and Time & Attendance functions to pass data between each function without any re-keying of data or need for imports/exports. Typically done through the use of one data source.
A method of evaluation used for job comparisons, which groups jobs into a prearranged number of grades, each having a class description and a specified pay range.
Used for compensation planning purposes, it is the process of comparing a job with other jobs in an organization to determine an appropriate pay rate for the job.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.
Long Term Disability (LTD)
Long Term Disability insurance pays a percentage of an employee’s salary if they become permanently disabled.
Managed Hosted Solution
HCM Vendor provides access to its software to be located and stored at a data storage facility; on the HCM Vendor’s servers. HCM vendor is responsible for infrastructure and software maintenance.
Management by Objective (MBO)
A performance appraisal strategy in which subordinates determine and set goals for themselves based on the overall goals and objectives for the organization.
Manager Self-Service (MSS)
A web-based interface that allows managers to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR (such as time approvals, running reports, looking up information about employees).
Bargaining between two or more parties with the goal of reaching consensus or resolving a problem.
A contract restricting an employee from obtaining employment with a competitor within a specified industry, distance and/or time frame.
A contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information.
Notice of Intent (NOI)
A NOI is usually issued by a company to notify prospective vendors that they will be entering the process of procuring a good or service.
The period of time that an employee must mandatorily work in their job after they have applied for resignation or they have been asked to leave the organization.
The process of moving a new hire from applicant to employee status ensuring that paperwork is done, benefits administration is underway, and orientation is completed.
Additional compensation awarded to employees who are required to remain on call during off-duty hours.
Used to define periods of time when an employee is off duty but is required to remain on or close to the company premises or to respond to a call or page within a specified period of time, resulting in the employee being unable to effectively use such time to attend to his or her own personal activities.
HCM Vendor provides a licence to its software to be located and stored at a client’s location; on a client’s servers.
Open Enrollment Period
The period of time designated by the employer’s health or other benefit plan when employees may enroll in new benefit plans or make changes to existing benefit plans.
A graphical representation outlining how authority and responsibility are distributed within an organization.
The design of an organization that identifies the organization’s hierarchal reporting and authority relationships.
A contractual agreement between an employer and an external third-party provider whereby the employer transfers responsibility and management for certain HR, benefit or training-related functions or services to the external provider.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
A benefit program granting employees a specific number of vacation or personal days off which that are paid by the employer. The number of days is generally based on the employer’s policy for accrual of paid time off.
A method used to group jobs together that have approximately the same relative internal worth and are paid at the same rate.
Associated with pay grades, the range sets the upper and lower compensation boundaries for jobs within that range.
A structure of job grades and pay ranges established within an organization. May be expressed as job grades or job evaluation points.
Documentation created and maintained by the employer, which contains information regarding hours worked, salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, vacation/sick pay, contributions to qualified health and pension plans, net pay and deductions for all employees on the employer’s payroll for the year.
See Outsourced definition.
Allows a company to: import time worked by salaried and hourly employees, apply finance and tax calculations, manage employee data, deliver paycheques to employees, deliver remittances to government, and provide export to a company’s financial system or ERP.
Peer Appraisal / 360 Appraisal
A performance appraisal strategy whereby an employee is reviewed by his or her peers who have sufficient opportunity to examine the individual’s job performance.
An employer benefit plan funded through insurance, a trust, general assets or other separately maintained funds designed to provide employees with a monthly income benefit upon retirement.
A periodic review and evaluation of an individual’s job performance.
A variable pay strategy that pays employees based on their individual performance and contributions, rather than the value of the job they are performing.
Performance management is evolving from something that was typically completed by managers in a set time frame, to a more frequent feedback system that includes employee’s manager, peers and clients.
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.
A benefit designed to provide employees with an allotment of paid days off in addition to holidays, sick days or vacation days, which they can use to attend to personal matters.
A per-piece rate system that pays employees based on the number of pieces produced.
A workforce planning tool that imposes certain rules or restrictions on the creation, and filling of positions as a means to manage and control the costs associated with any given position within the organization.
Adding predictive analytics to your people management reporting takes data beyond simply reporting numbers – predictive models take patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify potential risks and opportunities, and predict future outcomes and trends for your business.
Additional compensation paid for work performed outside of regularly scheduled work hours.
A specified period of time (typically 30-90 days) where a newly hired, promoted or transferred employee’s job performance is evaluated. Primarily used by supervisors to closely observe an employee’s work, help the employee adjust to the position and reject any employee whose performance does not meet the required standards.
Profit Sharing Plan
A qualified retirement plan established and maintained by an employer which enables employees and their beneficiaries to participate in the profits of the employer’s business.
Quality Oriented Position Management
An approach that focuses on quality improvement through the targeted applications of training and professional development opportunities; improvement plans are carefully crafted for each position, and these are typically based upon a careful job analysis that identifies critical tasks and Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities each job.
Record of Employment (ROE)
The Record of Employment is (ROE) an official form that is required to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. It tells how long you worked and how much you earned with an employer. When an employee terminates their position for whatever reason, the employer provide a Record of Employment within 5 days after the last day of employment.
The practice of soliciting and actively seeking applicants to fill recently vacated or newly created positions using a variety of methods (i.e., internal job postings, advertising in newspapers or electronic job boards/sites, utilizing search firms, or listing position with trade and professional associations, etc).
Registered Pension Plan (RPP)
A pension plan under which employers and employees (or employers only) make contributions to a retirement fund. There are two types of RPPs: money purchase and defined benefit plans.
Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
A type of Canadian account for holding savings and investment assets. RRSPs have various tax advantages compared to investing outside of tax-preferred accounts. They were introduced in 1957 to promote savings for retirement by employees and self-employed people.
Red Circle Rate
A pay rate that is above the maximum range assigned to the job grade. Employees are usually not eligible for additional pay increases until the range maximums exceed the individual pay rate.
Payments due to third party payees (e.g. Receiver General) such as taxes, benefit plans, garnishments, pension contributions, etc.
An ad-hoc HCM reporting tool designed by Avanti, specifically for people management professionals.
Report on Hirings (ROH)
The Report on Hirings (ROH) program is a voluntary verification program that allows employers to submit the Social Insurance Number and the first day worked for newly hired or recalled employees to Service Canada each month using a secure online application.
Request for Bid (RFB)
A document an organization sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit a bid for a specified project.
Request for Information (RFI)
A document an organization sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit information about a product or service.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
A document an organization sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit a bid for a product or service.
Request for Quote (RFQ)
A document an organization sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit a quote for a specified project.
Wages due for past services at newly negotiated rates, applicable usually where wage negotiations extend beyond the last date of the previous wage agreement.
Return on Investment (ROI)
A ratio of the benefit or profit derived from a specific investment, compared with the cost of the investment itself.
A compensation level expressed as a salary range, which has been established for each position within the organization.
A range of pay rates, from minimum to maximum, set for a specific pay grade.
A structure of job grades and pay ranges established within an organization. May be expressed as job grades or job evaluation points.
The degree to which a computer application or component can be expanded in size, volume or number of users served and continue to function properly.
Additional compensation, usually expressed as cents per hour, paid as an incentive for employees to accept working a less-then-desirable work shift (i.e., 2nd or 3rd shift).
Short Term Disability (STD)
Short Term Disability insurance pays a percentage of an employee’s salary if they become temporarily disabled.
The difference between the skills required for a job and the actual skills possessed by the employee.
A list of skills or competencies possessed by an individual.
Social HR is the name given to the practice of using social media platforms for HR functions. Social HR is often used for recruitment, but is now used to boost employee engagement, improve employee development, and facilitate internal discussions.
The process of recruiting potential job candidates through the use of social networking platforms and/or websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Social recruitment software is used to search social networks for passive candidate information, manage active social recruiting efforts, as well as distribute job postings and information related to open positions to job posting websites.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
A software licencing and delivery model in which software is licenced on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software”.
The process of identifying long-range needs and cultivating a supply of internal talent to meet those future needs. Used to anticipate the future needs of the organization and assist in finding, assessing and developing the human capital necessary to the strategy of the organization.
Self-Funded (Self-Insured) Plan
A health care insurance program in which employers (usually larger companies) pay the specified health care costs of their employees rather than insuring them. Self-funded plans may be self-administered, or the employer may contract a third party administrator (TPA) for administrative services only (ASO).
Service Canada offers single-window access to a wide range of Government of Canada programs such as processing ROE’s for EI claims.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
A SIN number is required to work in Canada or to be able to access government programs and benefits.
Structured Query Language (SQL)
SQL is a standardized query language for requesting information from a database.
Broadly defined as the implementation of an integrated strategies or systems designed to increase workplace productivity by developing improved processes for attracting, developing, retaining and utilizing people with the required skills and aptitude to meet current and future business needs.
Time & Attendance Software
Allows a company to: collect time worked by hourly employees, apply calculations in order that employees can receive the correct pay, and export that data to Payroll.
Total Compensation Summary
An employee document outlining the complete pay package they receive on an annual basis, including all forms of money, benefits, services and in-kind payments.
Training & Development
A process dealing primarily with transferring or obtaining knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to carry out a specific activity or task.
The process of forecasting an organization’s staffing needs by analyzing past employment patterns to identify trends that may be expected to continue.
The number of terminations in a given period, including voluntary and involuntary separations. The turnover rate is calculated by taking the number of separations during a month divided by the average number of employees on the payroll, multiplied by 100.
Union Agreement / Contract
See Collective Bargaining Agreement definition.
A position is considered vacant when it is unoccupied and a job requisition has been approved to begin the recruitment process.
The use of various types of technology to provide employees with self-serve options. Voice response systems, employee kiosks are common methods.
Benefits that are paid for by the employee through payroll deductions. The employer pays for administration. Examples of these benefits include life insurance, dental, vision, disability income, auto insurance, long-term care coverage, medical supplement plans and homeowners insurance.
An employee termination can either be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary termination is an employee initiated termination of employment contract either by resignation or retirement.
Wage and Salary Survey
A benchmark report consisting of market pay data for a variety of jobs conducted either on a local or nationwide basis. Used to evaluate an organization’s own current pay structures and as a future compensation planning tool.
Wearable technology (also called wearable gadgets) is a category of technology devices that can be worn by employees and often include tracking information related to health and fitness. Other wearable technology includes devices that have sensors to collect data or images and sync with mobile devices or databases.
Software that allows employees and managers to access a client run portal to enter and approve time and vacations and get access to employee information (e.g. T4s) and company communications and tools (e.g. reports).
A form of insurance to reimburse employees who are injured or contract an illness in the course of preforming their job, in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the sort of negligence. Laws vary by province, but employers are required to carry appropriate workers’ compensation insurance, to ensure sufficient funding to cover the types of injures that are likely to occur in their workplace. Such insurance types include disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance, or a wage replacement provision.
Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB)
Workers’ Compensation is a liability and disability insurance system set up in each Canadian province and territory. The Workers’ Compensation Act (varies by province) protects both employers and workers against the impact of work-related injuries.
An advanced set of data analysis tools and metrics for comprehensive workforce performance measurement and improvement such as: recruitment, staffing, training and development, personnel, and compensation and benefits
Workforce Management / Time Collection
See Time & Attendance Software definition.
The assessment of current workforce content and composition issues used to determine what actions must be taken to respond to future needs.
XML and HR-XML
Extensible Markup Language. A common system used for defining data for import or export purposes.
The completion of a payroll fiscal year including review and filing of all tax slips, and reporting total compensation and remittances paid.
Each year, building out your HR budget from a zero base, every HR expense must be justified at the start of each fiscal year.