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Essential Human Resources Vocabulary for Business English Learners

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Anyone who uses English for Work knows how important a company’s Human Resources department is. Human resources (HR) is the department within a business that is responsible for all things related to the employees of that company. This includes recruiting, hiring, training, managing and terminating employees. HR departments are also responsible for employee benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans. 

The most common terminology used for HR departments is “personnel” or “people operations.” Personnel refers to the people who work in an organisation, while people operations refers to the management of those personnel.  

Other common terms include “human capital management” (HCM) and “talent management.” HCM encompasses all aspects of managing people in an organisation, from recruitment and hiring to training and development. Talent management is a more strategic approach that focuses on identifying, developing and retaining the best talent in an organisation. 

Both HCM and talent management are important functions of HR departments. By understanding the most common terminology used for HR departments, you can better understand the role that HR plays in a business. 

There are many different terms used in HR. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most common ones: 

Human resources: This is the term used to describe the department or function within an organisation that deals with all aspects of employee management, from recruitment and training to performance management and salary administration. 

Employee: An individual who is employed by an organisation. 

Employer: An organisation that employs one or more individuals. 

Job: A role or set of responsibilities within an organisation that an individual is employed to perform. 

Role: The specific tasks and responsibilities assigned to an individual as part of their job. 

Career: The progression of jobs and roles held by an individual over the course of their working life. 

Compensation: The financial rewards and benefits provided to employees in exchange for their work. 

Benefits: A type of compensation that typically includes health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks. 

Performance: How well an individual fulfils their job responsibilities and meets the expectations of their role. 

Development: The process of acquiring new skills and knowledge or expanding on existing ones. 

Training: A type of development activity that focuses on providing employees with the specific skills and knowledge required to perform their jobs. 

Recruitment: The process of attracting and selecting individuals to fill vacant positions within an organisation. 

Selection: The process of choosing the most suitable candidate from a pool of applicants to fill a vacant position. 

There are many other terms used in HR, but these are some of the most common ones. By understanding these terms, you will be better equipped to navigate the world of HR.  

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