Glossary of HR Terms – Terms starting with Alphabet A

Ability tests: Tests that assess an individual’s abilities, mental or physical skills level ( i.e. problem solving, manual dexterity, etc.)

Absenteeism: Refers to time lost when employees to not come to work as scheduled.

Achievement test: A standardized testing instrument used to measure how much an individual has learned or what skills he or she has attained as a result of education, training or past experience.

Acquisition: The process of acquiring control of another corporation by purchase or stock exchange.

Active practice: The performance of job-related tasks and duties by trainees during training.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome(AIDS): A blood-borne pathogen transmitted through intimate contact.

Action learning: A learner-driven, continuous learning process where learning revolves around the need to find solutions to real problems.

ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act): Act that determined that older workers may not be discriminated against by performance-based pay systems.

Administrative investigations: Investigations conducted by local management, local Personnel Representatives and/or Employee Relations in response to complaints or concerns that generally are non-criminal in nature.

Administrative management: A classical management approach that attempted to identify major principles and functions that managers could use to achieve superior organizational performance.

Adult learner: Individual who are beyond post secondary education age, are employed on a full or part-time basis and are enrolled in a formal or informal educational program.

Adverse action: Any act by an employer that results in an individual or group of individuals being deprived of equal employment opportunities.

Adverse impact: A substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion or other employment decision that works to the disadvantage of a race, sex or ethnic group.

Adverse selection: Situation in which only higher-risk employees select and use certain benefits.

Advisory committee: A group or panel of internal or external members with no decision-making authority, assembled to identify and discuss specific issues and make recommendations.

Affirmative action: A process in which employers identify problems areas, set goals, and take positive steps to guarantee equal employment opportunities for people in a protected class.

Affirmative action plans: Plans that focus on the hiring, training and promoting of protected classes where there are deficiencies.

Agency shop: A firm that requires employees who refuse to join the union to pay amounts equal to union dues and fees for the union’s representative services.

Alternative staffing: Uses recruiting sources and workers who are not regular employees; also known as flexible staffing.

Analytical thinking: The ability to analyze facts, generate a comparison and draw correct inferences or conclusions from available information.

Anecdotal: Information that is based on observations or indications of individual actions instead of any organized process.

Annual leave: A form of paid time off available to eligible employees. Time typically accrues based on length of employment and may be used for excused absences from work such as vacations, personal reasons, religious/cultural observances, absences due to adverse weather conditions, and illness(in lieu of sick leave).

Anti-nepotism policy: A policy or practice that limits the employment of two or more members of the same family.

Applicant files: Application forms/resumes and other relevant items maintained by an employer and used during the selection process.

Applicant flow log: A chronological compilation of applicants for employment or promotion, showing the persons categorized by race, sex and ethnic group, who applied for each job title (or group of job titles requiring similar qualifications) during a specific period.

Applicant for employment: Someone who

  • submits expression of interest through the proper on-line application process.
  • Is considered for employment in a particular position.
  • Has submitted an expression of interest that indicates the basic qualifications for the position and
  • does not remove him/herself from consideration prior to job offer.

Applicant pool: All persons who are actually evaluated for selection.

Applicant population: A subset of the labor force population that is available for selection using a particular recruiting approach.

Applicant tracking: Any paper or computerized system that tracks the organization’s data such as resumes/applications and internal job posting information.

Apprenticeship: A system of indenture or other agreement, written or implied, to train a person in a recognized trade or craft in accordance with specified standards.

Aptitude tests:  Tests that measure general ability to learn or acquire a skill.

Arbitration: Process that uses a neutral third party to make a decision.

Assessment centre: A  collection of instruments and exercise designed to diagnose a person’s development needs.

Attendance policy:  An employer’s written standards regarding the requirement for employees to be on time and present  at work during regularly scheduled work periods.

Attitude survey: Organizational feedback and communication mechanism that asks employees to provide opinions on given topics, feelings and benefits about their jobs or the organization; also known as climate survey.

Attorney: A professional individual who is authorized to practice law and can be legally appointed by either a plaintiff or a defendant to provide legal advice or act as a legal agent on their behalf during legal proceedings.

Attrition: A term used to describe voluntary and involuntary terminations, deaths and employee retirements that result in a reduction to the employer’s physical workforce.

Autonomy: The extent of individual freedom and discretion in the work and its scheduling.

Availability analysis: An analysis that identifies the number of protected class members (minorities and women) available to work in the appropriate labor markets in given jobs.





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