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15 Words from HR Jargon You Should Know


Every area of business has its own jargon – special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand. Here are 15 HR jargon words you should know – as an HR professional or simply as workers trying to make sense of e-mails or conversations with HR management in the workplace.


Deadlock  A situation reached (e.g. in a negotiation) between two opposing parties where no further action is possible.

Ex: We’ve reached a deadlock in the negotiations to hire Adam Smith.

Attrition A gradual reduction of workforce due to retirement, resignation or death

Ex: Unfortunately, budget cuts are worsening the fire department’s attrition problem.

Leverage Power, influence, advantage.

Ex: Caroline worked over the weekend in hope of gaining some leverage over her co-workers.

Flexi-staffing (also called temporary staffing) is the temporary hiring of a candidate to do the job for a stipulated period of time.

Ex: To finish this project on time we will need to do some flexi-staffing.

Redundancy It is a course of action taken with which an employee’s position is eliminated. It is due to genuine commercial reasons and does not indicate mere incapability or performance issue of an employee.

Ex: The company is downsizing so redundancy is unavoidable.

Retrenchment is an act of cutting down the expenses of a firm through forced layoff of employees.

Ex: The retrenchment was not expected by the employees but they knew it was a possibility from the very beginning of working there.

Talent pipeline It is a pool of potential candidates capable of assuming newly created job position or accept a position available due to retirement or promotion.

Ex: We must create a talent pipeline in order to fulfill future openings at the company.

Metrics Parameters or measurements required to calculate data quantitively, mostly to keep track of performance or production.

Ex: I was unable to give the employee a raise after his review because he failed to meet the metrics used to determine good performance.

Headhunting It is a systematic way of searching for a candidate with special skill sets, work experience and matching academic background

Ex: We found our newest CEO by using a headhunting agency.

Synergy Two or more people working together in a way that results in greater achievement than working individually.

Ex: John and Leah enjoy working together on work projects because they reach a synergy that produces great work well before the deadline.

Absenteeism A voluntary absence from work with no valid reason. It is an indication or disinterest towards the job.

Ex: One of the biggest problems of the food industry is the workers’ absenteeism.

Cold calling – Calling up a candidate without prior meeting to inquire about their interest in a job opening.

Ex: Cold calling is one of the things Karen is really good at. She found our last IT analyst using this method.

Employee branding Effective communication of a company’s culture and values to create the desired perception among employees and potential candidates to apply.

Ex: In order to create company loyalty we must first engage in employee branding.

Golden handshake  A compensation package for an executive leaving a company.

Ex: Jim has worked here for 25 years and now he has received the golden handshake.

360 Degree Feedback – In human resources, 360-degree feedback is employee development feedback that comes from all around the employee. The feedback would come from subordinates, peers, and superiors in the organizational hierarchy, as well as a self-assessment.

Ex: This year we have decided to change the process to get a 360-degree feedback instead of the usual interview.