Every profession has its own unique language, and human resources is no exception. Here are some HR buzzwords or common terms you might hear coming out of an HR Manager’s mouth and what it all really means.


10 HR Buzzwords


Attrition is part of the natural life cycle of employment. It’s when employees voluntarily leave the business through resignation, moving away, retirement, raising a family or to study etc. Attrition is not the same as turnover. Turnover can be both voluntary and involuntary departures from the business. Turnover describes employees who leave of their own volition (for a better opportunity/environment), and employees who are involuntarily terminated or discharged.



Benchmarking is the process of measuring and comparing the practices in your business with those of other organisations in the same industry. It’s a way to define best practices and identify areas of improvement. Common areas to benchmark in business are salaries, employee benefits, and HR policies.


Business Partner

Business Partners are professionals who work closely with senior leaders across a business to develop strategies that align with the aims of the organisation. HR Business Partners and Talent Acquisition Business Partners often sit on a leadership team and are now part of the modern HR function in many forward-thinking businesses.


Cost Per Hire

Cost Per Hire is a recruitment metric that measures the time it takes to hire someone. Cost Per Hire is measured by adding up the recruitment costs and dividing this by the total number of hires made during a specific period of time.


Exit Interview

Exit interviews are carried out by the HR team when someone leaves the business voluntarily. Exit interviews are opportunities for exiting employees to communicate their reasons for leaving and provide feedback on their experience with the organisation and its management. HR can then use this information to gauge what company changes or improvements need to be made. This information, if acted upon, can reduce employee turnover and even reduce possible litigation if issues raised during the exit interview are addressed appropriately. All responses made by the employee are expected to be taken in confidence and only conveyed directly to a member of staff on the approval of the exiting employee.


Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is software that helps manage and improve the workflow of HR activities by automating many of the administrative tasks e. g creating employment contracts, setting up payroll, issuing policies and capturing employee superannuation and tax details etc. These systems are particularly useful for HR teams, managers and business owners as they easily manage small and large permanent and contingent workforces, thus enabling HR and manager to focus more on recruiting, staff development and engagement.


Inclusive Workforce

An inclusive workforce is a workforce that values the individual and group differences. Businesses can increase their ability to be innovative and creative by embracing the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of all their employees.



Changing market conditions, seasonality, customer trends and pivoting mean that HR and business leaders sometimes need to adjust their HR strategy. This may mean letting go of some employees, hiring more employees and/or moving other employees around. When this is done strategically, this is what we call rightsizing. This is different from downsizing, which involves reducing the number of employees to increase profitability and reduce redundancies.


Succession Planning

Succession planning is the process of identifying and developing employees so they can transition smoothly into business-critical roles within the organisation.


Work-Life Integration

Not to be confused with ‘work-life balance’, work-life integration is about incorporating all the different areas of one’s life (work, health, family, community, personal wellbeing) to create a more synergistic approach to managing our lives. Being more flexible and agile and prioritising each part of your life as you need to. In comparison, work-life balance is when you achieve stability by evenly distributing your time between each area of your life.


Need Help?

Need assistance with HR buzzwords within your business? Employment Innovations has been providing HR services to Australian businesses for over 25 years and has a team of skilled HR advisors who will work to get the right HR foundations in place for your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.