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Safe Harbor

Guidelines regulated by the Department of Labor, which, when fully complied with, may reduce or limit the liability of a plan fiduciary.


Sales budget

A budget that displays a companys projected sales by month, product type and geographical area.


Sales quota

A goal set for a person, product, territory or market segment in selling activity.



A relatively small subset of a population that represents the population to be analyzed during a research study and must include identical characteristics to those contained in the entire population.


Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was enacted to increase accountability of corporations to their shareholders in the wake of recent accounting scandals. There are many financial provisions that are not germane to HR basics. Two provisions are of special interest to HR professionals are the whistleblower protection provision and the 401(k) blackout notice provision.


S corporation

Business enterprise allowed by the IRS for most companies with 75 or fewer shareholders, enabling the company to enjoy the benefits of incorporation while being taxed as if it were a partnership.



The degree to which a computer application or component can be expanded in size, volume or number of users served and continue to function properly.


Scenario planning

The process of identifying economic, social, political and technological trends and exploring the implications of projecting them forward.

Secondary offering

A public offering subsequent to an initial public offering.


Secured bond

A bond, secured by the issuers guarantee of a specific asset, that serves as collateral on the loan.


Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC is charged by the U.S. government with responsibility for ensuring fairness in stock market transactions and enforcing laws governing insider stock trading. The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.


Sequential time

People with this view regard time as incremental, do one thing at a time, make appointments and generally stick to schedules.



An individual or corporation that owns shares in the corporation.


Short-term debt

Debts payable in full within a period of one year or less.


Short-term orientation

The cultural perspective that values quick and immediate results, not long-term benefits.



An investment strategy in which a fund sells a security it does not own in expectation of a deterioration in the market value of that security.


Signature guarantee

The endorsement of a signature in the form of a stamp, seal or written confirmation by a bank or other acceptable guarantor.

Silent partner

An investor who does not have any management responsibility but furnishes capital and shares in the liability losses experienced by the company.


Six Sigma

A disciplined, data-driven methodology used to eliminate defects and improve processes and cut costs from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.



False defamation expressed as spoken words, signs or gestures that cause damage to the character or reputation of the individual being defamed.


Slush fund

A fund that does not have a designated purpose.


Small business investment company (SBIC)

An organization that provides loans and other equity investments to small businesses.


Small business organization (SBO)

An independently owned and operated company or nonprofit association that does not have a prevailing presence in its field of enterprise.


Social capital

The part of the intangible capital of an organization that relates to personal networks, mentoring relationships, know-who and corporate culture.


Social Security

A federal program under the Social Security Act that provides for retirement, disability and other related benefits for workers and their eligible dependents.


Social Security card

A card issued by the Social Security Administration displaying an individuals full legal name and Social Security number assigned to the individual.


Sole proprietorship

A business enterprise in which an individual is fully and personally liable for all the obligations of the business, is entitled to all profits and exercises complete managerial control.


Solvency ratio

One of the many ratios used to gauge a companys ability to meet its long-term financial obligations based on current assets and liabilities.


Specific culture

A culture that focuses on interactions for specific purposes and separates work, family and social roles.



A distribution to shareholders of more than one share per each share that is owned.



The differentiation between what a potential buyer will bid for a stock and what a potential seller is asking for the stock.


Staffing metrics

Measures used to determine costs associated with recruitment and hiring, time-to-fill and time-to-start for open positions, and recruiter workload/activity.


Stages of globalization

The stages that a company goes through in progressing from a domestic to a fully global organization.



Someone with a vested interest in the successful completion or outcome of a project.


Standard & Poors rating

An organization that provides ratings (opinions) regarding the creditworthiness of issuers or capital market obligations operating under the four major principles of: independence; objectivity, analytic integrity and disclosure


Standard deviation (SD)

A statistical measure of the dispersion or variation in a distribution, equal to the square root of the arithmetic mean of the squares of the deviations from the arithmetic mean.


Standard error

Statistical estimate of possible size error present in a test score or other group measure.


Standard operating procedures

A prescribed written procedure outlining how recurring tasks, duties and functions are to be performed organization-wide.



Design and implementation of consistent specifications for procedures, practices, materials, machinery or other equipment or other types of products and services.



A relatively new small business supported primarily by venture capital in line with the technology sector.


Statement of financial position

A financial statement of a companys incomes and outflows during a certain period of time (a term generally used by nonprofit organizations as a reference to a balance sheet).


Statement of work (SOW)

A detailed pragmatic statement of a companys needs and requirements on which prospective suppliers base their bids or proposals to provide products or services.


Statistical significance

A situation or occurrence where a researcher can show through specific tests for significance that it is unlikely that the obtained results occurred by chance.


Statute of limitation

Laws prescribing deadlines for filing lawsuits within a certain period of time after events that are the source of the claim occur.


Stop-loss order

An order that becomes a market order if and when a stock sells at or below a specific stop price.


Straight line depreciation

A depreciation method that produces a regular charge that is proportional to the life expectancy of a fixed asset.


Strategic alliances

Two or more companies coming together to enhance business operations.


Strategic planning

The process of identifying an organizations long-term goals and objectives and then determining the best approach for achieving those goals and objectives.


Strategic staffing

The practice of hiring smaller core numbers of permanent employees and using temporary employees to fill more highly specialized positions within the organization.



A situation that occurs when employees deliberately refuse to perform their jobs and/or form picket lines outside the employers premisses to prevent or discourage others from working in their place or conducting business with the employer.


Strike price

The specified price on an option contract at which the contract may be exercised (also referred to as exercise price).



A smaller grouping within a culture that has similar characteristics.


Subject matter expert (SME)

An individual who has expertise in a business process or specific area.



A company that has more than half of its stock owned by another company or is completely owned by another company.


Succession planning

The process of identifying long-range needs and cultivating a supply of internal talent to meet those future needs. Used to anticipate the future needs of the organization and assist in finding, assessing and developing the human capital necessary to the strategy of the organization.


Summary annual report

A summarized report containing information on the financial status of an employee benefits plan.


Sunshine law

Statutes granting the public with access to government agency meetings and records.


Supply chain

A network of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers that produce and provide finished goods or services to consumers.


Supply and demand

The amount of goods or services available to consumers at a specific price and the level of consumer need or demand for those goods or services at the specified price.



Involving more than one country or having authority that transcends one country (i.e., the European Union).


Surrender value

The amount of money available upon the voluntary termination of an insurance policy before the benefits have become payable.



An additional tax levied on certain types of income that has already been taxed.



A data collection method used to assist organizations with such things as problem identification, measuring employee morale or expectations, and determining areas of concern.


Sweat equity

Work performed in return for a share in ownership.


SWOT analysis

A strategic planning tool used to collect and evaluate information on an organizations current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a specific project or business venture.

Synchronous time

People with this view often see time as flexible and intangible with commitments desirable but not absolute.

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