HR Definitions

The Talent and HR Tech market is full of changing jargon, buzz words and sometimes specialist terms. How could we know what all the words mean?

We hope our list of HR definitions below helps!

9 Box Grid – Also known as the Performance/Potential Grid. A useful tool which plots talent into one of nine boxes measuring potential and performance. The top right box is the most valuable position (high in performance and potential). Each grid position typically has a name of ‘Talent Category’. You can see a Performance/Potential Grid being used in this video.

Critical Post / Critical Position – A role deemed as important and critical within an organisation.

Flight Risk / Tenure Risk – The likelihood that an individual will leave the organisation.  This is usually expressed in terms of high, medium, low.

High Potential – a characteristic (typically expressed as High, Medium, Low, Unknown) about an employee.  Its common interpretation relates to a prediction of the performance or ability of the person in the future when in a more senior or complex role. It is an opinion formed from a Talent Review that may include some form of evidence-based assessment.

HiPos – Employees identified as having high potential.

Readiness — Describe how ready a Successor is to take on a position or role.  This is typically expressed in terms of months or years.  It can also be used to identify those who could take on a role in a temporary, interim or ‘caretaker’ basis.

Succession Planning — The process of identifying and developing successors for key positions within an organisation. Often includes the identification of ‘critical posts’. Get a free eBook about Succession Planning. 

Succession Planning Approach – Typically organisations adopt one of three approaches: Fluid and Informal (creating talent pools of talent and using them when an appropriate opportunity emerges); Prescriptive and Formal (roles are defined clearly defined and key talent is tracked through the organisation); Flexible (data is captured to track the flow of talent but there is the ability to constantly review and monitor the efficacy of the process).

Succession Planning Model – The structure and process adopted by an organisation with regard to its succession planning policy. Often this is reflected in a Succession Planning Template that contains the relevant information about a person.

Succession Planning Software – Typically cloud-based software such as Talent Successor that helps structure, inform and manage succession planning.  Usually includes analytics and charts.

Succession Planning Template– Traditionally these are spreadsheet-based  but more commonly now (and more accurate and up-to-date) these are now within succession planning software. They collate the details of those critical positions identified by the business and the names of people who could take over – sometimes with a timeframe allocated. Flags the support needed for that individual to achieve the next role. These are used in Talent Review Meetings.

Succession Risk – key risks identified from analysing Succession Planning data.  An example would be an individual considered to be high flight risk, in a critical post and have no immediately ready successor.

Successor— A person consider to be capable of filling a specific role position in the future.

Talent Gap — Also known as a Skills gap. This is the situation when an organisation has more jobs than qualified people to fill them.  At an individual or group level it can be a consolidation or ‘roll-up’ of a group of skills gaps exhibited by that group of people.

Talent Mapping — Links the talent currently available to the talent needed in the future. Typically used to inform talent strategy, to assess shortfalls or gaps and inform development planning.

Talent Pipeline — A systematic and visible process of identifying candidates for succession, combined with the processes for their development.  Often a visual representation of how successors ‘flow’ through the organisation when personnel changes are made and successors appointed.

Talent Planning – An essential Talent Management activity to ensure that organisations have the right talent and people to deliver the business strategy.

Talent Pool — A group of people typically containing Successors with the potential to fill one or more jobs or roles in the future.  This could be a person’s role of a role described by a number of characteristics, competences, skills or behaviours.

Talent Review – The meeting at which senior management and HR discuss those in the talent pool and amends needed. Without robust information, can be subject to a range of biases.  Succession Planning Templates or software outputs are used at these reviews as discussion and action points.

Talent Strategy – The strategic plan of the talent that needs to be acquired, developed and retained to reflect the organisation’s future plans.

Talent Category – Typically a short name that describes the performance/potential combination or the intended designation of a person from a talent perspective.  A typical example would be ‘Future Leader’. Other Talent Categories are:

  • Future Leader – The Highest potential — best for senior succession; top talent; ready for immediate advancement
  • Growth Employee  – Demonstrates high potential to advance further; valued talent.
  • High Impact Performer – Likely to have scope to move one level; challenge is necessary as under-performing. May have lost pace with the changes in the organisation; strong contributor.
  • Trusted Professional – Specialised or expert talent—reached career potential.
  • Core Employee – Likely to have scope to move one level; challenge is necessary as under-performing. May have lost pace with the changes in the organisation. Steady and dependable but capable of more.
  • Enigma – High potential to advance further, but underperforming; may be new in job or in wrong job/wrong manager.
  • Dilemma – Likely to have scope to move one level; challenge is necessary as under-performing. May be new in job or organisation, or may have lost pace with the changes in the organisation.
  • Effective – Specialised or expert talent, steady and dependable—reached career potential.
  • Under Performer – Has reached job potential and is underperforming.

Trajectory – Used to describe the individual’s current and near-term expectation in terms of career growth, promotion potential or mobility within an organisation.

Appraisal Process — The process of evaluating an individual’s performance and goals.

Aligning Objectives – The process by which individual objectives work alongside or support organisational or team objectives.

Benchmark — A quantitative level of performance which may be used to define a performance standard.

Cascading Objectives – The process by which organisational objectives are passed downwards though the organisations to individuals so that individuals’ goals are guaranteed to be supportive those of the organisation.

Continuous Performance Management – The on-going and more conversational approach to performance management that is replacing the traditional annual appraisal.  Also known as Agile Performance Management and/or Conversational Performance Management. Get your copy of a free eBook about Continuous Performance Management.

Development Plan — Long-term development plan used to set, track and measure development for individuals.

e-Performance Management – Part of e-HRM or HR information systems (HRIS). This is the performance review component of such a system.

Feedback Culture – The development of an organisational culture in which feedback in sought, welcomed and willingly given.

Goal Setting— Creating an action plan designed to motivate and guide a person, group, or organisation toward a goal. Goals can be Corporate Goals, Team Goals, Individual Goals.

Job Performance — How well the individual is carrying out the work-related activities which are demanded by the role.

PDR or Performance Development Review – An alternative term for Performance Management.  Also known as ePDR when the process is carried out online.

Performance Appraisal software or Performance Appraisal system – The software that supports the performance appraisal or continuous performance management within an organisation. Other terms commonly used instead of this: Performance Review Software, Performance Management Software. Talent Performance is such a system.

Performance Evaluation Form – the template or form to be completed as part of performance review.

Performance Feedback — Responses from those in a position to comment on the performance of an individual (what worked and what didn’t).

Performance Management – A process which supports business processes by setting goals and objectives for employees which align with organisational and team objectives. This is carried out by the individual and manager together. Traditionally a once or twice a year activity, there is a tendency now to move to a more Continuous Performance Management approach in which regular review takes place. Sometime includes coaching by the line manager as to how to improve or redirect activities. Also known as Performance Review.

Performance Management Best Practice – The good or best practice in deploying performance management to ensure that it adds value to the organisation and the individual.

Performance Review — An alternative name for Performance Management.

Performance Management Software / Performance Management System – The software that supports the performance appraisal or continuous performance management within an organisation. Other terms commonly used instead of this: Performance Review Software, Performance Appraisal software or Performance Appraisal system. Talent Performance is such a system.

Performance Management Software Companies / suppliers / vendors – Those businesses which have developed systems or software to support Continuous Performance Management such as Head Light. Find out the sort of questions you may want to ask.

Smart Goals – Goals that are specific, measurable, action-oriented, results-focused, and time-bound (SMART) with qualitative and quantitative content.

360 Degree Feedback – A technique that provides individuals with a view of themselves based on feedback gathered via a 360 questionnaire or 360 survey from multiple stakeholders from both within and outside of the organisation and from different job levels. Typically includes a self-assessment and feedback from the line manager, direct reports and peers as well as suppliers, customers or partners. The Feedback Providers are typically asked to rate him or her against defined competencies. Ratings and feedback are combined into a report and a 360 degree feedback discussion held.

360 Degree Feedback Best Practice – The good or best practice in deploying 360 degree feedback to ensure that it adds value to the organisation and the individual. Request a copy of Head Light’s Best Practice for using 360 degree feedback.

360 Degree Feedback Software / 360 Degree Feedback System – The software that supports 360 degree feedback. Talent 360 is such a system.

360 Degree Feedback Software Companies / Suppliers / Vendors – Those businesses which have developed systems or software to support 360 degree feedback such as Head Light. Find out the sort of questions you may want to ask.

360 Feedback Questions – The statements or items included within the 360 questionnaire or 360 survey that feedback providers need to answer.

360 Feedback Training / 360 Reviewer Training / 360 Facilitator Training – Training given to those needing to review, consolidate and feedback the outputs from a Participant’s 360 review. Read about the 360 Facilitator training that Head Light offers.

360 Focus – The individual at the centre of the 360 review. An alternative to the term 360 Participant.

360 Participant – The individual at the centre of the 360 review. An alternative to the term 360 Focus.

360 Questionnaire – The questionnaire or assessment that is used to gather the feedback as part of 360 degree feedback. An alternative term to 360 survey or 360 degree feedback questionnaire.

360 Rating Scale – The 360 scale included within the questionnaire against which the participant is rated. It is used by feedback providers to provide a numerical response to a feedback question.  A typical scale would be a Frequency scale (i.e. Never (1) to Always (6)). Request a copy of the most useful 360 Review Scales.

360 Review or 360 Campaign – The term given to the 360 degree feedback process.

360 Survey – The questionnaire or assessment that is used to gather the feedback as part of 360 degree feedback. An alternative term to 360 questionnaire.

Competency — Competencies are behavioural descriptions of the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform a job effectively.

Development Actions – The actions to be taken as part of the Development Plan.

Development Goals – Development statements to help an employee increase their job proficiency.

Development Plan or Personal Development Plan – An action plan created based on feedback from the 360 review which sets goals within the context of training or career progression.

Feedback provider – The person invited to provide feedback on a 260 participant. An alternative to the term Reviewer.

High Potential – A characteristic (typically expressed as High, Medium, Low, Unknown) about an employee.  Its common interpretation relates to a prediction of the performance or ability of the person in the future when in a more senior or complex role. It is an opinion formed from a Talent Review that may include some form of evidence-based assessment.

HiPos – Employees identified as having high potential.

Multi-rater feedback – An alternative to the term 360 degree feedback.

Peer Review – The reviews carried out by a participant’s co-workers and colleagues.

Reviewer – The person invited to provide feedback on a 360 participant. An alternative to the term Feedback provider.

Skill — A person’s range of skills or abilities. Something an individual knows and can learn.

Skills Gap – The difference between an individual’s current skill level and that desired or required by the role or the organisation.

Values / Organisational Values – Those states that are important to us, typically stated in abstract terms e.g. honesty, integrity, freedom. Organisational values are reflected in the culture and actions of the organisation.

Career Mapping – The process which involve an individual being able to map out job moves from his or her current job position to his or her aspirational job role. An alternative to the term Career Pathing.

Career Path – The specific path that an employee has identified that which take him or her from the current job role to the next and detail the competencies and skills needed, and highlighting skills gaps.

Career Pathing – The process which involve an individual being able to map out job moves from his or her current job position to his or her aspirational job role. An alternative to the term Career Mapping.

Career Path Software or Career Path System – The software or system that support the Career Path Mapping Process such as Talent Navigator. Also known as Career Mapping Software.

Job Family – A group of related jobs typically built around a department, a common level of responsibility or a common functional area.

Job Fit — The match between an individual’s strengths and competence against a specific job or work environment. A good job fit is found when the employee and role are aligned.

Skills Gap – The difference between an individual’s current skill level and that desired or required by the role or the organisation.

Skills Management – The practice of understanding, developing and deploying people and their skills. Includes identifying the skills that job roles require, the skills of employees, and any gap between the two (Skills Gap).

Skills Management Software or Skills Management System – The software that supports and enables skills management such as Talent SafeGuard.

Skills Management Software companies / suppliers / vendors – Those businesses which have developed systems or software to support Skills Management such as Head Light. Find out the sort of questions you may want to ask.

Engagement Enabler – a characteristic of an organisation that is considered important or valuable by its employees, and one in which the organisation excels.

Engagement Inhibitor – a characteristic of an organisation that is considered important or valuable by its employees, and one in which the organisation performs below expectations.

Employee Engagement – Considers creating the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day and be committed to their organisation’s goals and values and motivated to contribute to organisational success.

Employee Engagement Software or Employee Engagement System – The software that supports, delivers and analyses employee engagement surveys such as Talent En-Gauge.

Employee Engagement Software Companies / suppliers / vendors – Those businesses which have developed systems or software to support employee engagement such as Head Light. Find out the sort of questions you may want to ask.

Engagement Survey – Traditionally a once a year survey of an organisation’s employees asking each some straightforward questions.

Pulse Survey – A shorter engagement survey that is designed to take a snapshot of the engagement of the employees at a particular time.

HRIS – Human Resource Information System – A form of human resources software that combines a number of systems and processes to ensure the easy management of human resources, business processes and data. Separate to but capable of integration with, talent management software such as Talent Cloud.

Talent Management – The activities associated with the deployment and management of employees to ensure that they are working optimally for the organisation. Often includes recruitment, learning and development, succession planning, leadership development, employee engagement, skills management. Supported by Talent Management Software such as Talent Cloud.

Talent Software or Talent Management Software – The software system that supports Talent Management activity such as Talent Cloud. Sometimes known as HR Talent Management Software.

Talent Management Software Companies / Suppliers / Vendors – Those businesses which have developed systems or software to support Talent Management such as Head Light. Find out the sort of questions you may want to ask.