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HR Glossary

Your source for understanding the latest workplace trends 

Stay up to date on the latest trending hashtags, phrases, and terms in HR. We’ve put all the terms into this #trending glossary: 

Activate: At Virgin Pulse, activation means getting populations (employees, members, patients, etc.) to take positive health actions to improve their overall wellbeing. This could include going in for preventative care, refilling a prescription on time, drinking more water, and much, much more. 

Belonging: An employee’s sense that their uniqueness is accepted and even treasured by their organization. Belonging is an accumulation of day-to-day experiences that enables a person to feel safe and bring their full, unique self to work. Great Place to Work 

Benefits utilization: A measure of whether members are using their healthcare benefits 

Burnout: Employees have defined burnout as ‘feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job and reduced professional productivity in relation to chronic workplace stress.’ Burnout is not just an empty term used to define when employees have had a long week; it’s a severe and real issue affecting their long-term wellbeing and ability to perform effectively. World Health Organization 

Caregiver: A person who gives tends to the physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of another person. This may include a child, parent, and more. LinkedIn Pulse 

Career cushioning:  A plan B, safety net, or alternative option to your current job without necessarily looking for another job. Something that can prepare you for your next role. Employees are using this to protect their professional and financial future among uncertainty and company layoffs. SHRM 

Company culture: How you do what you do in the workplace. It’s the sum of your formal and informal systems and behaviors and values, all of which create an experience for your employees and customers. Great Place to Work 

Corporate wellbeing challenge: A wellbeing challenge cultivates healthy competition among employees while encouraging positive lifestyle behaviors, such as working out or eating right. Challenges can be fully customized depending on the needs of the employees or the company. MediKeeper 

Diversity: Diversity in the workplace means having a workforce inclusive of different backgrounds and national origins. This encompasses a wide range of personal characteristics and experiences, including age, culture, visible and invisible disabilities, gender identity and expression, neurodiversity, socio-economic circumstances, and much more… BetterUp 

Employee benefits: Any kind of tangible or intangible compensation given to employees apart from base wages or base salaries. Things like insurance, stock options, or gym reimbursements would fall into this category. Workable 

Employee experience: Employee experience encapsulates what people encounter and observe during their tenure at an organization. Every company invests in the customer experience. And as organizations increasingly recognize people as their greatest assets, they also invest in the employee experience. Culture Amp 

Employee engagement: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals. Forbes 

Employee retention: Employee retention refers to the ability of a company to prevent employee turnover. In other words, it is the company’s concerted efforts to keep their existing staff and keep their best employees on board to succeed as a business. 

Employee retention rate = Total # of employees – Total # of employees that left   x100 

Total # of employees 

Employee wellbeing: The overall mental, social, physical, and financial health of your employees. Employee wellbeing impacts how people show up at work for themselves, their teams, and your business. Wrike  

Employee Wellbeing Month: Founded off the belief that if you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your business. This June marks the 15th year of bringing awareness to physical, emotional, mental, financial, social and community needs. Employee wellbeing month is about removing stigma, supporting employees globally, and ensuring accessible and equitable health and wellbeing resources. #ShowUsYourWellbeing 

Episodic care: Isolated primary medical care focused on presenting concern(s), identifying medical condition(s), and eliminating symptom/condition(s). CPSM 

Flexible work: An alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week. It allows employees to vary their arrival and/or departure times. US Department of Labor 

Equity: fair treatment, access and advancement for each person in an organization. Gallup 
Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities—historic and current—that advantage some and disadvantage others. Equal treatment results in equity only if everyone starts with equal access to opportunities. University of Iowa 
Financial wellbeing: How much your financial situation and money choices provide you with security and freedom of choice today and in the future. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

Gender Pay Gap: The gender pay gap is the difference in average gross hourly earnings between women and men. It is based on salaries paid directly to employees before income tax and social security contributions are deducted. European Parliament 

The Great Break Up: Women are demanding more from work and they’re leaving/breaking up with companies in unprecedented numbers to get it. McKinsey 

The Great Resignation: Refers to the higher-than-usual number of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs since late 2020 and early 2021, although resignation data show that this phenomenon began over a decade earlier. The quit rate nearly doubled from around 1.6% in early 2020 to about 3% by late 2021. The Street 

Hang up and hang out: A saying to put your phone down and be present in the moment around you. Designating a “No Phone Zone.” 

Health advocacy: Empowering people to make informed choices regarding their health and wellbeing. By improving access to care, navigating the healthcare system, addressing health equity, and focusing on behavior change, a health advocate can provide human-to-human connection to help employees feel confident in their choices. Learn more… 

Health equity: Health equity is the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Achieving this requires focused and ongoing societal efforts to address historical and contemporary injustices; overcome economic, social, and other obstacles to health and healthcare; and eliminate preventable health disparities. CDC 

Health disparities: Preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. CDC 

Health coaching: Person-to-person support to transform health and wellbeing goals into action. Whether you want help implementing a lifestyle change, managing a condition, or achieving a wellness goal, coaches guide you in creating daily routines and habits toward your unique vision for a thriving life.

Hybrid Work: An approach to the workplace where team members have greater flexibility and the option to work from home—or other locations where they can be productive. With hybrid work, the workplace is no longer inside the four walls of a corporate office; it’s an ecosystem of employees working from home, in coworking spaces and the office.  Webex 

Incentives: Employee incentives are monetary or non-monetary (but still tangible) rewards, like points or gift vouchers, designed to motivate and engage employees. Striving for ambitious goals, managing tight deadlines, or improving efficiencies are all scenarios in which an incentive could be a valuable investment for a company. WorkHuman 

Inclusion: Refers to how the workforce experiences the workplace and the degree to which organizations embrace all employees and enable them to make meaningful contributions. McKinsey  

Mental health: Our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Mental health impacts how we think, feel, and act in addition to how we cope with the stresses of life, interact and form relationships, and function daily. WHO, NHS 

Onboarding: Refers to the processes in which new hires are integrated into the organization. It includes activities that allow new employees to complete an initial new-hire orientation process, as well as learn about the organization and its structure, culture, vision, mission and values. SHRM 

Panini generation: A modern version of the Sandwich Generation, that captures the unique challenge faced by individuals who find themselves sandwiched between caring for their aging parents and balancing the needs of their own children. Initially associated with Baby Boomers in the 80s and 90s, this term has evolved to encompass Gen X’ers and older millennials grappling with this very same issue in the 2020s, feeling burned at both ends. Morning Consult  

Physical wellbeing: The ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get the most out of our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. It includes taking care of our bodies and recognizing that our daily habits and behaviors have a significant impact on our overall health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Australian National University 

Preventative care: Healthcare measures and services aimed to prevent diseases. Routine procedures may include screenings, check-ups and patient counseling to prevent illnesses, disease or other health problems.  

Quiet Quitting: The term “quiet quitting” became a corporate buzzword and a cultural phenomenon in 2022 in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Quiet Quitting boils down to doing only the required tasks associated with one’s job and not going “above and beyond” one’s job description. In other words, it is the middle ground between underperforming and overperforming. The Street 

Remote working: Also known as working from home. A type of flexible working arrangement that allows employees to work from remote locations outside of the traditional office setting. Gartner 

Social determinants of health (SDOH): are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. US Dept of Health & Human Services 

Social wellbeing: The sharing, developing, and sustaining of meaningful relationships with others. This allows you to feel authentic and valued, and provides a sense of connectedness and belonging. Better Up 

Stress: A state of mental tension or worry caused by a difficult or challenging situation. Unlike burnout, stress has an end in sight, which can be difficult to see or get there. Doctor on Demand 

Stress management: Tools, strategies or techniques aimed to better control, reduce, or cope with stress. Berkley Wellbeing 

Sunday Scaries: The dread, anxiety, and stress that happens the day before heading back to work. Fast Company 

Survivor syndrome: The emotional, psychological, and physical effects of employees who remain in the midst of a company downsizing. BJC Healthcare 

Team building: The process of using daily interactions, activities and exercises to organize a group of people into a cooperative and cohesive group. The goal is to encourage members to work together to accomplish shared objectives, ultimately making a company more effective. 

Upskilling: Developing new skills to advance your career through additional education and training.  Southern New Hampshire University 

Wellbeing: A holistic view of health—including physical, mental, social, financial—that accounts for the whole person, lifestyle, and external factors that impact total health. WebMd 

Wellness: Refers to one specific aspect or dimension of overall health, like physical health for example. WebMd 

Whole Person Wellbeing: The integration of an individual’s multiple dimensions into positive beliefs and meaningful activities. It is relative to the individual, has nothing to do with age, and the process and attainment are behavior specific.  

The core dimensions of wellbeing include emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. Center for Successful Ageing  
Work-life balance: The state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one’s career and the demands of one’s personal life. It’s important to remember that work-life balance is unique to the individual. Business News Daily