HR Management··9 min read

40+ Human Resource Abbreviations Every HR Pro Should Know

human resource abbreviations

The world of human resources can be complex to a newbie and you may feel overwhelmed by all the industry jargon. However, we have some great news! Today, we’ve rounded up all the most important human resources abbreviations you should know about if you’re planning a career in HR.

Let’s get started with HR acronym meanings!

  • AARP - American Association of Retired Persons is a body dedicated to protecting the work interests of Americans over the age of 50.

  • AFSCME - American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is a union protecting the rights of public sector workers.

  • AFL - American Federation of Labor is the national federation comprised of different labor unions across the 50 states.

  • ANSI - American National Standards Institute is a government body overseeing business standards in the United States 

  • ASTD/AD - American Society for Training and Development is a national society of professionals dedicated to workplace learning, improving performance and enforcing performance measures for businesses.

  • AWOL - Away Without Leave is when an employee is absent from work without permission. They don't make an effort to contact the employer to give a reasonable explanation for the unauthorized absence.

  • BLS - Bureau of Labor Statistics is a government agency that analyzes the labor market and factors like working conditions and pricing to help private and public organizations make informed decisions.

  • BOD - Board Of Directors refers to a company's governing body, elected to represent shareholders. The board of directors can also include HR.

  • C&B - Costs and Benefits is a term usually used in the context of a cost-benefit analysis that compares the estimated costs and benefits of a particular project. This is done to determine if the project is financially worthwhile.

  • CCP - A Certified Compensation Professional is an individual with CCC certification, meaning they're qualified to oversee various compensation and pay programs.

  • CFO - A Chief Finance Officer is a C-suite executive that can also be in charge of HR. In that case, CFOs are required to develop both an HR strategy and a business strategy to set the company up for success.

  • CHRO - A Chief Human Resources Officer is a senior-level management executive who's in charge of recruiting and hiring employees. In addition, a CHRO is responsible for employee development and retention.

  • COLA - A Cost of Living Adjustment is when minimum wages, salaries, and benefits are increased to offset the effect of inflation and the average cost of living. It ensures that employers can maintain a standard of living that boosts employee satisfaction and retention in the workplace.

  • CTO - Compensatory Time Off is a plan where a compensated employee can take leave days as compensation for working extra working hours, for instance, on holidays or during the weekend.

  • DBP - A Defined Benefit Plan offers employees specified benefits when they retire. The benefits depend on years of employment, salary history, plus other factors, and it can be in the form of a lump sum or monthly payment.

  • DOJ - The Department of Justice is the US national department that enforces the law and protects the interest of United States. The United States Department of Justice is also known as Justice Department.

  • DOL - The United States Department of Labor enforces and administers a wide range of labor laws under the federal government.

  • DOT - The Department of Transportation is the United States’ top government body that manages federal transportation projects.

  • EAP - Employee Assistance Programs are typically sponsored by the employer and implemented to help employees resolve personal or work-related issues that affect performance.

  • EBSA - Employee Benefits Security Administration is an agency offering help for businesses who want to assist their employees with health benefits and retirement plans.

  • EBT or Earnings Before Taxes is the total gross salary an employee makes before taxes are paid on their salary.

  • EDP - Employee Development Programs are designed to improve employee performance by providing training to develop skills and abilities. This also helps organizations to attain more of their goals.

  • EE - Employee: This is a common addition to any employment abbreviation list used. It's one of the most popular human resource abbreviations and it typically represents payroll deductions from an employee's paycheck. The term can also refer to Equal Employment.

  • EEOC - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a federal agency that fights workplace discrimination.

  • EI - Employee Involvement simply means the inclusion of staff or employee engagement that helps organizations to better meet their goals, e.g. KPIs and metrics for a quarterly review.

  • EIN - An Employee Identification Number is a nine-digit number used by the IRS for the purpose of tracking a company's tax report. It's also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number.

  • EPLI - Employment Practices Liability Insurance is a type of insurance for employers that covers them against cases of employees who claim that their rights have been violated.

  • FSA - A Flexible Spending Account allows employees to spend their pre-tax dollars to pay for healthcare and related expenses. This reduces an employee's taxable income helping them to save money on health benefits costs.

  • FTE - Full-Time Equivalent is calculated by dividing an employee's scheduled hours with the designated hours for a full-time workweek. The resulting figure is used to determine the employee's workload.

  • HHS - the Department of Health & Human Services is top-level US federal agencies that aims to ensure the health benefits for all Americans.

  • HCM - Human Capital Management is the process of hiring the right people for the right roles and is in a way similar to HR. 

  • HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act is a federal act in the United States that protects healthcare businesses from disclosing sensitive information about their patients.

  • HMO - Health Maintenance Organization is a type of setup where healthcare for the employees is provided through a network of medical professionals for a quarterly or monthly fee.

  • HRIS - A Human Resources Information System helps HR practitioners collect, organize, and store data about an organization's employees. This software solution helps to streamline the management of valuable employee data for business owners.

  • HRMS - Human Resources Management System is HR terminology that encompasses a wide range of activities, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and developing an organization's employees. In essence, HRM involves employee management that contributes to an organization's success.

  • HRO - Human Resources Outsourcing is when a provider organization hires a third party to administer HR services, policies, and procedures.

  • IRS - Internal Revenue Service is the federal tax organization in the United States that handles all tax-related issues, including tax for businesses and their employees.

  • KPI - Key Performance Indicators are performance measurement tools. They help organizations determine the effectiveness of a policy or procedure by comparing results against a set target or objective that is a measure of performance.

  • LOA - A Leave of Absence is when an employee takes time off from. The leave is authorized by the company and may or may not be paid.

  • M&A - Merger & Acquisition is a process when one company purchases another or merges with them to form one business entity.

  • MBO - Management by Objectives or management by planning is a strategy that focuses on improving an organization's performance management by focusing on setting goals that are communicated to employees by management.

  • NEO - New Employee Orientation is a process designed to help new hires transition into their roles smoothly.

  • NIOSH - National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is a government entity in charge of ensuring employee health and safety.

  • NLRA - National Labor Relations Act or the National Labor Management Relations Act is a law from 1947 in the United States that restricts the power of labor unions.

  • NLRB - National Labor Relations Board is a federal agency in the United States that protects the rights of employees in the private sector.

  • OJT - On The Job Training is training, instruction, and practice that's provided to employees who need help developing the required skills and abilities for their roles. This ensures employees can complete tasks successfully in the future.

  • OMB - Office of Management and Budget is a national office in the United States that oversees how federal agencies spend their budgets.

  • OPM - Office of Personnel Management is the chief agency for human resources for the United States federal government.

  • OSHA - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an organization that helps businesses to stay compliant by ensuring that employers provide employees with a safe working environment. OSHA is one of the most popular HR acronyms that human resource management should thoroughly understand.

  • OT - Overtime refers to any additional hours worked by an employee above 40 hours per week.

  • PIP - A Performance Improvement Plan is designed to help underperforming employees who are failing to meet specific job goals or complete tasks according to the required quality level. Usually, performance improvement plans are personalized to address each employee's unique needs.

  • PHR - A Professional In Human Resources is an individual with a relevant HR certification, such as SHRM-CP credentials.

  • PPACA/ACA or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare is a law in the USA that aims to make affordable healthcare available to everyone.

  • PTO - Paid Time Off is when employees take authorized time from work and still get paid. It’s mostly valid for full-time employees. Contractors and part-time employees usually don’t have access to PTO.

  • RIF - A Reduction in Workforce is when a company shrinks the size of its workforce by getting rid of specific positions permanently. It’s an important process for business to consumer operations.

  • RTW - Return to Work involves onboarding current employees who have spent some time away from the workplace.

  • SHRM - The Society for Human Resources Management is a membership association that highlights HR issues and provides valuable resources for HR professionals.

  • SWOT - Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat – A SWOT analysis helps HR to better manage their workforce.

  • TEE - A Training Effectiveness Evaluation Plan helps HR to assess the efficacy of a particular training program.

  • TESSA - Tax-Exempt Special Savings Account is bank account that provides tax-free interest if it is maintained for a certain number of years.

  • TLM - Time and Labor Management systems are put in place to help organizations save money through the efficient management of resources.

  • USCIS - The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services oversees the country's immigration systems. When recruiting, HR practitioners have to be sure they're complying with immigration laws when handling employee records.

  • VA - Veterans Administration or Veterans Affairs is a term that falls under the human resource abbreviations for VA. VA human resources involve the recruitment and hiring of the VA community.

  • VETS or Veterans Employment and Training Service is a division in the US Department of Labor that prepares veterans for new careers after their lives in the military.

  • VEVRAA or Vietnam-Era Veterans Readjustment Act is an act in the United States that prohibits employers from discriminating against army veterans.

  • W-2: Income Tax Form is the wage and tax statement that the employer is required to send to each employee. It shows the federal income tax withholding form or the amount of money that goes from the paycheck for federal taxes.

Wrapping up

By now, we hope you got a good overview of the most common HR acronyms and you’re ready to get rolling with your new career in HR.

And if you need a helping hand with managing your team, grab a free Unrubble plan! We’ll help you do timesheets, payroll, time tracking, attendance and everything else you need to manage a modern workplace!

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