HR Glossary

It can be confusing to keep track of new HR terminology. Changing workplace procedures, different attitudes to work and new HR procedures all bring with them new terms and definitions. With that in mind, the team at Positive People HR have compiled a list of some prominent HR terms that crop up regularly.

Absenteeism policy

Absenteeism is when an employee regularly fails to attend their place of work. It is outside of the accepted notion that people may be away from the office for legitimate causes. Therefore, an absenteeism policy is a performance management system in the form of guidelines and procedures which look to reduce the time people are off work.

Annual leave

The amount of days employees of a company are allowed to take away from the employment position. This is not unpaid leave, this is paid time and the employee is allowed to request this time at any time for any reason. The amount of annual leave is defined in the employment contract.


A gradual reduction of staff, on purpose, that happens when people reach retirement age or resign from their employment contract. This term can also apply to companies that lose customers/clients as they go beyond the target market and are not replaced by a younger generation.

Behavioural competency

This refers to an employee’s behaviour attributes, traits, knowledge or people skills that will determine how successful that person will be for the job that they are applying for. During a selection procedure, employees can look for specific qualities in a person for the role that they are advertising for.


A measurement of the quality of an organisation’s policies, procedures, programmes, employment practices and strategies. This measurement is then compared with other standard measurements or against competitors. It is a quality assurance tool to ensure a company is improving year on year.

Career path

A career path is a group of similar jobs that share common features but require more work experience to reach the next step on the path. A good example would be receptionist to office clerk to office manager. New essential functions are needed to be learned by the employer before they can consider moving forward to a newer role.


You may think compensation is just about the current employee’s salary but compensation goes beyond salary and paid time. It includes a range of expenses like health care or life insurance, commissions, allowances and other employment relationships.

Conditions of employment

This is a clause in an employment contract that the employer and the employee agree upon before the person starts their employment position. These conditions could help improve job satisfaction, dress code, holiday days, sick days or other work-related responsibilities.

Employee relations

This is a company or organisations efforts to ensure there are positive relationships with their employees. It’s something all companies should be looking to focus on for their current employees and is a good strategic planning tool to ensure employees stay loyal and keep employee engagement high.

Employee retention

Where employees choose to stay with their current company and don’t look for a new job in a different work environment. The opposite of employee retention is turnover where employees leave a company either at the end of their contractual term or they resign.

Flexible work arrangements

In a world where the usual 9-5 is not as prominent as it once was, flexible work arrangements are employment practices that allow people to fulfil the duties of their role in a way that suits them. This type of employee benefit and working conditions could be working from home to help raise children or altering working hours to fit around their personal schedule.

HR Compliance

These are the policies, selection procedures, recruitment, workflows, reporting and employment practices that a company creates to ensure that it stays in check with current legislation and regulation.

HR Strategy

The action plan that supports a business meeting its goals and objectives through its people. The HR strategic planning sets the tone for all key areas of HR such as the selection procedure, performance appraisal, training and development.


When a business no longer has a use for, or can’t afford to keep, an employee in their current position they will make them redundant. This termination of employment is not like resignation or sacking, very often companies will offer redundancy packages/unemployment compensation to incentive staff to leave as opposed to forcing them to. The business cannot refill the same position later on without significant change.

Remote Working

Thanks to modern technologies and more flexible management systems, remote working is now more and more commonplace. Removing the need for a physical workforce all locating in once place and instead of opening up to remote working allows a business to cast a wider net during their selection procedure, increasing the chances of finding better-qualified persons.


A term used to describe a change in the employment status of an employee. This leave of absence term that has become more popular during the lockdown as a result of COVID-19.

Employer Brand

Branding isn’t just about a nice logo or good PR, it’s also about making your place an attractive place to work for potential future employees. For top talent, when it comes to decision making they are going to be more attracted to a company that offers great benefits. It’s important that all outward-facing parts of the business clearly communicate this message.

Employee Engagement

This is an action plan that ensures the right conditions are in place for all members of an organisation to enjoy peak job performance each day, feel motivated to succeed as a company and enjoy an enhanced sense of their own well being.


The process of creating a job description, advertising it and interviewing candidates for a vacant role in a company.

Get in touch

We hope that this HR Glossary was useful. If you’re looking for outsourced HR services and you’re a business owner based in Leeds, Huddersfield or the wider Yorkshire area then Positive People HR are the team for you – get in touch today!