Your A-Z Guide of HR Acronyms & Abbreviations

HR acronyms and abbreviations form the backbone of the unique language spoken fluently by HR professionals. Much like any living language, this wordbook is continuously enriched with new terms and acronyms, making it essential to understand HR today.

Written by Neelie Verlinden
Reviewed by Paula Garcia
14 minutes read

HR acronyms and abbreviations are a vital part of the industry’s jargon. Understanding these terms is like second nature for seasoned HR practitioners, but the vast amount of HR acronyms can be overwhelming (and confusing!) for those just starting out.

This article unpacks 60 Human Resources acronyms and abbreviations, including a usage example for each. A handy resource to jump back to next time you encounter a cryptic acronym.

A list of HR acronyms and abbreviations categorized by different HR functions.



1. ACR: Application Completion Rate

The Application Completion Rate (ACR) is a recruiting metric that measures how many candidates who started a job application successfully completed it.

  • HR acronym usage example: “An organization’s ACR reflects the effectiveness of its application process.”

2. ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in areas such as employment, transportation, and public accommodations. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “Under the ADA, ‘reasonable accommodation’ means that employers need to take appropriate steps to accommodate employees with disabilities so that they can enjoy the same employment opportunities as their non-disabled colleagues.

3. ADDIE: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate

The ADDIE model is a systematic framework used to guide the process of creating and implementing effective training and development programs for employees.  

  • HR acronym usage example: “The ADDIE training model was developed in the 1970s and remains the most widely used model for instructional design because it is simple and highly effective.”

4. AIHR: The Academy to Innovate HR

AIHR is an e-learning company on a mission to future-proof HR by offering world-class online training programs for HR practitioners worldwide. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “AIHR is the perfect place to learn the skills you need to advance your career and secure a job at the forefront of HR.”

5. AOR: Agent Of Record

An Agent Of Record (AOR) is a third-party service that handles all the necessary hiring and administration of independent contractors while ensuring full compliance.

  • HR acronym usage example: “An AOR plays a crucial role as an intermediary connecting businesses with contractors all over the world.” 

6. ATS: Applicant Tracking System

An ATS is a software solution that helps organizations manage and streamline their recruitment and hiring processes.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Key features of ATS software often include resume parsing, advanced search, and candidate sourcing.”


7. BIK: Benefits In Kind

Benefits In Kind (BIK) refer to any non-monetary compensation that employers provide to their employees.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Examples of a BIK include healthcare benefits, meal vouchers, retirement plans, childcare assistance, and accommodation.”


8. C&B: Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and Benefits (C&B) is the term used to describe the total package of monetary and non-monetary rewards an employee receives from their employer in exchange for their work. 

9. CHRO: Chief Human Resources Officer

The CHRO is an organization’s HR and culture leader. They sit in the company’s executive team and are often also referred to as Chief People Officer.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The CHRO is usually viewed as the most senior HR position within the scope of careers in HR.” 

10. CPH: Cost Per Hire

Cost Per Hire (CPH) is a recruiting metric that measures how much it costs a company to hire new employees. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “If you hire 30 people for the year, and you spend an estimated $60,000 on the hiring process annually, your CPH is $2,000.”


11. DEIB: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) are four separate concepts that hold a lot of weight on their own, but together, they boost morale, engagement, productivity, and innovation within the workplace.  

  • HR acronym usage example: “In our DEIB Certificate Program, you will learn how to develop and implement meaningful DEIB strategies.”  
Did you know

Research conducted by McKinsey shows that organizations ranking in the top 25% for diversity are 36% more likely to surpass the financial averages of their sector. Another study reveals that nearly 80% of workers expect their executive team to both initiate and enhance DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) efforts to foster significant change in the workplace.

12. DTO: Discretionary Time Off

Discretionary Time Off (DTO) is a leave policy that gives eligible employees more flexibility to take personal time off. There is no limit on the amount of paid time off per year. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “Key benefits of DTO include the fact that it increases job satisfaction and improves retention.”


13. EAP: Employee Assistance Program

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a workplace benefit program that offers professional assistance to employees with personal or work-related problems that could impact their well-being and job performance.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Implementing an EAP benefits your organization in multiple ways.”

14. EB: Employer Branding

Employer Branding (EB) is the process of managing and influencing your organization’s reputation as an employer through policies, programs, rewards, benefits, culture, work environment, values, and more.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Employer branding plays a key role in talent acquisition because it can help you clarify what your unique proposition is and what your organization stands for.” 

15. EEO: Equal Employment Opportunity

The EEO is the concept of equal opportunity for everyone to pursue employment, promotion, training, and other personnel actions based on merit and regardless of characteristics such as race, sex, age, physical or mental disability, etc.

16. EEOC: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The EEOC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The EEOC has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law.” 

17. ELC: Employee Life Cycle

The Employee Life Cycle (ELC) refers to an employee’s entire journey with their company, from attraction and recruitment to offboarding and beyond.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The typical ELC consists of seven stages, starting with attracting a candidate and ending with a departing employee.”

18. ELTV: Employee Lifetime Value

Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV) is a metric that measures the total expected future value of an employee’s contributions to the organization during their employment.

  • HR acronym usage example: “A high ELTV has a positive impact on business outcomes as the employees truly bring value to the organization.” 

19. eNPS: Employee Net Promoter Score

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a metric that indicates how engaged your employees are and how likely they are to recommend your organization as a great place to work.

  • HR acronym usage example: “HR can use a standardized eNPS questionnaire to gauge the likelihood of employees recommending their company.”

20. ER: Employee Relations

Employee Relations (ER) is the term used to describe an organization’s efforts to build and maintain a positive relationship with its employees.

  • HR acronym usage example: “ER is typically a Human Resources department function. It can fall under the general duties of an HR professional, or there may be a manager or team dedicated to ER.

21. EVP: Employee Value Proposition

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the unique set of benefits and values an employee receives in return for their skills, experience, and commitment to the company.

  • HR acronym usage example: “A company’s EVP defines what employees gain from working there, while a company’s employer brand tells other people about it.”

22. EX: Employee Experience

Employee Experience (EX) is how employees feel about their interactions and encounters with the organization throughout their employee journey.

  • HR acronym usage example: “EX is the HR equivalent of customer experience.” 
Did you know

A study by Harvard Business Review, analyzing three years of data from a global retail giant, revealed that improving a store’s employee experience from the bottom to the top quartile can boost its revenue by over 50% and nearly as much in profits.


23. FJA: Functional Job Analysis

A Functional Job Analysis (FJA) is a type of job analysis that offers detailed insights into the tasks, duties, responsibilities, and interactions required for a role, as well as the necessary worker qualifications for successful performance.

  • HR acronym usage example: “FJA is one of the most common job analysis methods. Other popular methods are critical incident technique (CTI) and task inventory.”

24. FLSA: Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a United States labor law establishing the right to a minimum wage, overtime pay, and youth employment standards.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Understanding an employee’s FLSA status is crucial for compliance with wage and hour laws.”

25. FMLA: Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a United States labor law that allows certain employees to take job-protected, unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Download our free AIHR checklist to finalize your FMLA procedures and to determine whether an employee is eligible for FMLA leave.”

26. FTE: Full-Time Equivalent

A Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is a metric used to calculate the total hours worked by all employees in a business, equating them to full-time hours.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The company’s strategy boosted revenue per FTE, significantly improving overall financial performance and employee efficiency.”

Discover more HR terms

The AIHR HR Glossary provides over 200 definitions of HR terms that you can refer to whenever you need to look up a new (or unknown) HR word.


27. GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European privacy regulation that harmonizes the different privacy rules across the EU and governs how the personal data of individuals in the EU may be processed and transferred.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The GDPR has a significant impact on HR departments since they collect and manage large amounts of employee (and candidate) data.”

28. GRPI: Goals, Roles and Responsibilities, Processes and Procedures, Interpersonal Relationships

The GRPI model is a simple and comprehensive framework that describes the most important elements that teams need to function more effectively. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “The GRPI model can help teams function better, and it’s easy to explain to managers and team members.”


29. HCA: Human Capital Analytics

Human Capital Analytics (HCA) is a classical approach that helps organizations understand the financial impact their employees make through data.

  • HR acronym usage example: “HCA is not often used anymore as it gave way to newer approaches such as People Analytics, which involve much more than what HCA focuses on.” 

30. HCROI: Human Capital ROI

Human Capital ROI is a metric that represents the financial value employees contribute compared to the money spent on them, including compensation, talent management, training, etc.

  • HR acronym usage example: “HCROI can be a good indicator of the value employees provide individually and collectively.”

31. HRBP: HR Business Partner

An HR Business Partner is a (senior) HR professional who helps align the organization’s people strategy with its business strategy. As such, they form a strategic link between HR and the business.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Our HRBP 2.0 Certificate Program helps HR professionals prepare to become a truly strategic partner to the business.”

32. HRIS: Human Resources Information System

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a software solution that standardizes HR tasks and processes and facilitates accurate record-keeping and reporting.

  • HR acronym usage example: “An HRIS can help HR practitioners save 2 hours per day on administrative tasks.”
Did you know
  • It is anticipated that by 2028, the HR software market will expand to $33.57 billion, with a growth rate exceeding 10% annually.
  • On average, companies spend 15 weeks selection an HRIS
  • In the process of choosing an HR information system, 98% of companies are evaluating the adoption of a cloud-based HRIS.
  • 30% of organizations operate with 10 or more different HR systems.

Sources: Verified Market ResearchSoftwarepathApplaudHR


33. KSA: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) are a person’s unique recipe for success in a particular field and role. It’s what sets them apart and what they bring to the table. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “HR uses KSA to assess, evaluate, and develop employees.”


34. L&D: Learning and Development

Learning and Development (L&D) is an essential function of HR and a crucial part of a company’s overall people development strategy.

  • HR acronym usage example: “In our L&D Certificate Program, you will learn how to design and implement an L&D strategy with key business priorities.” 

35. LOA: Leave of Absence

A Leave Of Absence (LOA) is an extended period off that an employer grants an employee for a fixed set of reasons, such as the arrival of a new child, illness and disability, bereavement, family emergencies, sabbatical, or continuing education. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “There are two main types of LOAs – mandatory and voluntary leave.” 


36. OD: Organizational Development

Organizational Development (OD) is an interdisciplinary field of behavioral science research that helps organizations build their capacity to change and improve their effectiveness.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Our OD Certificate Program will get you the Organizational Development expertise you need to future-proof your organization.” 

37. OKR: Objectives and Key Results

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are a collaborative goal-setting methodology for individuals, teams, and organizations. It helps them to define measurable objectives and observe key results.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Developing HR OKRs is a great way for HR teams to prioritize initiatives and focus their efforts in the right direction.” 

38. OPL: Optimum Productivity Level

Optimum Productivity Level (OPL) is the ideal level of productivity that a new hire achieves throughout or after their onboarding. Businesses often use it as an onboarding metric to measure the cost of getting to OPL, which is the total cost of getting a new hire fully operational.”

  • HR acronym usage example: “The cost of getting someone to their OPL includes things like recruitment and onboarding costs, training costs, the salary of the employee (and the trainers), and more.”

39. OT: Overtime

Overtime (OT) refers to the time an employee works in excess of their regular working hours. The term is also used to refer to the pay an employee receives from their employer for this time.

  • HR acronym usage example: “For most organizations in the U.S., OT only applies on a workweek basis, as required by the FLSA.”


40. PEO: A Professional Employer Organization

A PEO is a service provider that allows (small) businesses to outsource their key HR functions such as payroll, benefits, tax administration, and more through a co-employment relationship.

  • HR acronym usage example: “In a co-employment relationship, the primary employer maintains control over the day-to-day tasks and directs the employee’s work, while the secondary employer – often the PEO – takes care of the administrative functions.”

41. PILON: Payment in Lieu of Notice

Payment in Lieu of Notice (PILON) is compensation paid to employees for their notice period when they are terminated immediately (instead of working through their notice period).

  • HR acronym usage example: “In the UK, your employment can be terminated without notice if a PILON clause is included in your employment contract.”

42. PIP: A Performance Improvement Plan

A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is a document that identifies where and how an employee’s performance is falling short, what needs to be done to improve this, and within what timeframe.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Every PIP is unique to the needs of an employee and can be a powerful communication tool that supports a growth-mindset culture of continuous learning and improvement.”

43. PTO: Paid Time Off

Paid Time Off (PTO) is the time that employees can take off work while still receiving regular wages. This does not include the time during which an employee works remotely or is commuting. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “An organization’s PTO policy often combines vacation, personal, and sick days.”
Did you know

Research from the NCBI shows that beyond giving employees a well-deserved break, paid leave policies are closely associated with increased productivity, higher morale, greater job satisfaction, and lower turnover rates, all of which contribute to a more positive financial outcome for businesses.

44. P4P: Pay for Performance

Pay for Performance (P4P) is a compensation strategy that ties employee earnings directly to their performance, rewarding high achievers with bonuses or higher pay.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Many companies are adopting a pay for performance model to incentivize productivity and reward top performers.”


45. RACI: A Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed

The RACI matrix is a simple yet effective tool that clarifies who does what in a project. A RACI matrix provides a comprehensive overview of who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for every project task.

  • HR acronym usage example: “A RACI chart can be useful for many projects, but it is particularly beneficial when tasks involve multiple resources, run simultaneously, or depend on other tasks.”

46. ROI: Return on Investment

Return on Investment (ROI) is a metric that tries to measure the gains of a particular investment compared to the cost of that investment.

47. RPE: Revenue Per Employee

Revenue Per Employee (RPE) is an efficiency ratio that measures how much revenue is generated per individual working at the company.

  • HR acronym usage example: “RPE remains one of the most important but often still overlooked business and HR metrics.”

48. RPO: Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) refers to a type of business process outsourcing where an organization transfers all or part of its recruitment functions to a third-party provider.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Over the past few years, RPO has emerged as a leading approach for tackling talent acquisition challenges.”


49. SOH: Source Of Hire

Source Of Hire (SOH) is a recruiting metric that shows the percentage of candidates hired through a particular channel, method, or source.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The SOH metric helps companies keep track of the effectiveness of their different recruiting channels.”

50. SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is a technique to assess these four aspects of, for example, your HR department.

  • HR acronym usage example: “An HR SWOT analysis enables HR teams to identify internal and external factors that affect them.”


51. TA: Talent Acquisition

Talent Acquisition (TA) encompasses the entire hiring process, from identifying and attracting to selecting and retaining qualified candidates.

  • HR acronym usage example: “An organization’s TA strategy should always align with its people (or HR) strategy.”
Did you know

Finding the ideal candidate for a position has become increasingly difficult. An astonishing 77% of companies are experiencing talent shortages, marking a 17-year peak in this challenge. Consequently, for ensuring long-term success, it’s crucial to not only attract but also retain top talent, making talent acquisition a key strategy for businesses today.

52. TABP: Talent Acquisition Business Partner

A Talent Acquisition Business Partner (TABP) is a talent acquisition professional who offers strategic guidance to the company on various elements of the hiring process, such as attracting, developing, and engaging the right talent.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The role of the TABP has evolved from the traditional recruiter role, which was mostly focused on sourcing and screening candidates.”

53. TM: Talent Management

Talent Management (TM) is the strategic process of bringing employees on board and helping them grow to their optimal capabilities.

54. TNA: Training Needs Analysis

Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is a vital tool for L&D professionals to identify the gap between the actual and the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) in a job that gets in the way of achieving organizational goals.

  • HR acronym usage example: “The need for TNA is often due to an organizational problem like a lower-than-expected quarter for the sales team, for example.”

55. TOIL: Time Off In Lieu

Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) means an employee receives paid time off as compensation for working overtime instead of receiving overtime pay.

  • HR acronym usage example: “In some companies, TOIL is used when a public holiday falls on a non-working day.”

56. TTC: Total Target Cash

Total Target Cash (TTC) refers to the total amount of all the cash-based compensation an employee receives when they achieve the expected results, including their annual base salary and a performance-based target bonus.

  • HR acronym usage example: “TTC and Total Target Compensation are similar, but there are some important differences between the two.”

57. TTF: Time To Fill

Time To Fill (TTF) is a recruiting metric measuring the number of calendar days it takes to hire a new candidate from the moment the job requisition is approved to when the candidate accepts the job offer.

  • HR acronym usage example: “Even though the time to hire and TTF metric are often used interchangeably, the two should not be confused.”

58. TTH: Time To Hire

Time To Hire (TTH) is a recruiting metric that measures the number of calendar days it takes to hire a new candidate from the moment the candidate applies to the moment they accept the job offer.

  • HR acronym usage example: “TTH provides information on two important recruitment processes: recruiting efficiency and candidate experience.”


59. VTO: Voluntary Time Off

Voluntary Time Off (VTO) is a leave category that gives employees the option to take unpaid time off work. Certain companies use this, for example, when more employees are available to work than needed.

  • HR acronym usage example: “VTO can refer to two different leave categories: voluntary time off or volunteer time off.” 

60. VTO: Volunteer Time Off

Volunteer Time Off (VTO) is a relatively new employee benefit where employees get paid time off to volunteer and give back to their community. 

  • HR acronym usage example: “VTO typically ranges from 8 to 40 hours per year.”

Key takeaway

  • HR acronyms and abbreviations are unavoidable for those who work in Human Resources. While HR professionals will know most acronyms, especially if they’ve been around for a while, new terms keep being added.
  • Bookmark this page so that next time you’re unsure what an HR acronym or abbreviation stands for, you can take a peek at the list in this article.
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Neelie Verlinden

Neelie Verlinden is a digital content creator at AIHR. She’s an expert on all things digital in HR and has written hundreds of articles on innovative HR practices. In addition to her writing, Neelie is also a speaker and an instructor on several popular HR certificate programs.

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