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HR Vocabulary

In this section, we’ll extend our understanding of the theories that underpin modern HR practice. To begin, we’ll introduce you to some fundamental HR vocabulary.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

In this section, we’ll extend our understanding of the theories that underpin modern HR practice. To begin, we’ll introduce you to some fundamental HR vocabulary.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity recognises that, although people have things in common with each other, they are also different in many ways. Inclusion is where those differences are seen as a benefit, and where perspectives and differences are shared, leading to better decisions.


Everyone should have a right to equal access to employment and, when employed, should have equal pay and equal access to training and development.

Equal Pay

Equal pay is the right for men and women to be paid the same when doing the same, or equivalent, work.

Employee Relations

‘Employee relations’ has replaced the term ‘industrial relations’, which referred to collective relationships between employers and their workforce. Today’s interpretation of employee relations is much wider and refers to individuals as well as collective workplace relationships. It reflects the increasing individualisation of the employment relationship, following the rise of individual workplace rights and the decline in trade union reach and influence.

Employee Turnover

Employee turnover refers to the proportion of employees who leave an organisation over a set period (often on a year-on-year basis), expressed as a percentage of total workforce numbers.

Health and Safety

Health and safety at work encompasses a wide range of duties and initiatives aimed at maintaining a safe working environment for employees. There are many relevant pieces of legislation and case law that impose legal duties on matters ranging from the provision of insurance and written policies on health and safety to education and training for staff, risk assessments and inspections.

Human Resource Planning

Human resource planning is a process of analysing the current workforce, determining future workforce needs, identifying the gap between the present and the future, and implementing solutions so that an organisation can accomplish its mission, goals and strategic plan. It’s about getting the right number of people with the right skills employed in the right place at the right time, at the right cost and on the right contract to deliver an organisation’s short- and long-term objectives.


Induction refers to the process where employees adjust or acclimatise to their jobs and working environment.

Performance Management

Performance management is the continuous process of identifying, measuring and developing the performance of individuals and teams, and aligning their performance with the organisation’s goals.


Retention relates to the extent to which an employer retains its employees and may be measured as the proportion of employees with a specified length of service (typically one year or more) expressed as a percentage of overall workforce numbers.

Talent Management

Talent management is the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation-critical roles.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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International Human Resources Management: An Introduction

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