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Baby boomers

The term used to describe those individuals born between 1945 and 1970.

   

Baby busters

The term used to describe those individuals born between 1961 and 1972.

   

Background check/investigation

 

Background Investigations and Reference Checks are the principal means by which employers actively check into the backgrounds of potential hires. Background investigations and reference checks fall within the HR Discipline of Staffing Management. Each can involve both verifying information provided by applicants, and ascertaining pertinent information not provided by applicants themselves. A background investigation generally involves screening out persons who are not qualified due to criminal convictions, poor driving records, poor credit history, or misrepresentations on résumés or application forms about education or prior work history. Reference checks generally involve contacting applicants’ former employers, supervisors, co-workers, educators, and athletic coaches for information about the knowledge, skills, abilities (KSA’s), and character of applicants.

Back pay A common remedy for wage violations is an order that the employer make up the difference between what the employee was paid and the amount he or she should have been paid. The amount of this sum is often referred to as "back pay." Among other Department of Labor programs, back wages may be ordered in cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on the various federal contract labor statutes.
   

Baldridge National Quality Award

The Baldrige Award is given by the President of the United States to businesses—manufacturing and service, small and large—and to education and health care organizations that apply and are judged to be outstanding in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results.

   

Balanced scorecard

A popular strategic management concept developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton. The balanced scorecard is a management and measurement system that enables organizations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into action. The goal of the balanced scorecard is to tie business performance to organizational strategy by measuring results in four areas: financial performance, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth.

   

Bankruptcy

A federal law consisting of different chapters (i.e. chapter 7, chapter 11 or chapter 13) that allows individuals and businesses that are experiencing extreme financial duress and are unable to meet their financial obligations to eliminate or restructure their debts. 

   

Barrier analysis

The process of reviewing an organization’s policies and procedures to identify and eliminate impediments in recruitment, selection, transfer, or promotion of protected class individuals throughout the organization.

   
   

Behavioral-based interview

An interview technique that focuses on a candidate’s past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of when he or she has demonstrated certain behaviors or skills as a means of predicting future behavior and performance.

   

Behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS)

An appraisal that requires raters to list important dimensions of a particular job and collect information regarding the critical behaviors that distinguish between successful and unsuccessful performance. These critical behaviors are then categorized and appointed a numerical value used as the basis for rating performance.

   

Behavioral risk management

The process of analyzing and identifying workplace behavioral issues and implementing programs, policies or services most suitable for correcting or eliminating various employee behavioral problems.

   

Behavior modification

A conscious attempt to change or eliminate an individual’s undesirable behavior by specifying expected behavior and reinforcing and rewarding desired behavior.

   

Bell-shaped curve

The curve representing the normal distribution of a rating or test score.

   

Benchmarking

The systematic process of comparing an organization’s products, services and practices against those of competitor organizations or other industry leaders to determine what it is they do that allows them to achieve high levels of performance.

   

Benchmarks

The standards used as a basis for comparison or measurement.

   

Bereavement leave

An employer policy that provides a specific number of paid days off following the death of an employee’s spouse, parent, child, grandparent or in-law so that the employee may attend funeral proceedings, etc.

   

Best practices

Defined in a variety of ways, but typically refers to the practices of an organization that enables them to achieve superior organizational performance results.

   

Bidding

The practice of posting all job openings internally so that current employees may be allowed the opportunity to apply for vacant positions prior to the employer seeking qualified candidates through other external recruitment measures.

Bisexual An individual physically, romantically, emotionally and/or spiritually attracted to men and women. Bisexuals need not have had equal sexual experience with both men and women, nor any sexual experience at all, to identify as bisexual.
   

Blended workforce

A workforce is comprised of permanent full-time, part-time, temporary employees and independent contractors.

   

Blind ad

A job advertisement placed in a newspaper, trade journal/publication, magazine or Internet job board that contains no identifying information about the employer placing the ad.

   

Blood-Borne Pathogens Standard

An OSHA standard that sets forth requirements for employers with workers exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials. In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure, an employer must implement an exposure control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures. The plan must also describe how an employer will use a combination of engineering and work practice controls, ensure the use of personal protective clothing and equipment, provide training, medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, and signs and labels, among other provisions. Engineering controls are the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure and include the use of safer medical devices, such as needleless devices, shielded needle devices and plastic capillary tubes.

   

Blue collar workers

Hourly paid workers employed in occupations that require physical or manual labor.

   

Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)

A very narrowly interpreted exception to EEO laws that allows employers to base employment decisions for a particular job on such factors as sex, religion or national origin, if they are able to demonstrate that such factors are an essential qualification for performing a particular job.

   

Bonus plan

An incentive pay plan which awards employees compensation, in addition to their base salary, for achieving individual or group performance and productivity goals.

   

Boundaryless organization

Defined as an organization that removes roadblocks to maximize the flow of information throughout the organization.

   

Branding

The process of identifying and differentiating an organization’s products, processes or services from another organization by giving it a name, phrase or other mark.

   

Breach of contract

Occurring when an individual who is a party to a contract or agreement does not uphold or violates the terms of the contract.

   

Break-even analysis

A measure used to determine the approximate sales volume required to cover the costs associated with producing a particular product or service.

   

Broadbanding

A pay structure that consolidates a large number of narrower pay grades into fewer broad bands with wider salary ranges.

   

Buddy system

A form of employee orientation whereby a newly hired employee is assigned to another employee (typically within the same department) who shows the new employee the ropes, introduces him or her to coworkers, gives personal assistance and answers questions on an as-needed basis.

   

Budget

A numerical summary of an organization’s available resources and how those resources are to be allocated based on anticipated future expenditures for various items, such as equipment, training and development programs, benefits, implementing new processes or services, etc.

   

Bumping

The practice of allowing more senior level employees whose positions have been slotted for elimination or downsizing the option of accepting an alternative position within the organization, for which they may be qualified to perform and which is currently occupied by another employee with less seniority.

   

Burden of proof

The burden placed on an employer, as a result of a claim of discriminatory treatment, to provide a verifiable, legitimate and nondiscriminatory reason for any employment action taken which may have resulted in adverse treatment of a member(s) of a protected group.

   

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is an independent national statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other federal agencies, state and local governments, business and labor. BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor.

   

Burnout

Physical or emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation or decreased morale resulting from an individual being exposed to excessive or prolonged stress and frustration caused by personal problems, work pressures, financial difficulties, etc.

   

Business continuity planning

Broadly defined as a management process that seeks to identify potential threats and impacts to the organization and provide a strategic and operational framework for ensuring the organization is able to withstand any disruption, interruption or loss to normal business functions or operation.

   

Business literacy

The knowledge and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing and operational functions of an organization.

   

Business necessity

A defense available when the employer has a criterion for selection that is facially neutral but which excludes members of one sex, race, national origin or religious group at a substantially higher rate than members of other groups, thus creating adverse impact. The employer must be able to prove that the challenged practices effectively carry out the business purposes they are alleged to serve and that no alternative, nondiscriminatory practices can achieve the safe and efficient operation of its business.

   

Business plan

A document that provides relevant information about a company by outlining items such as the company’s business description, market or industry, management, competitors, future prospects and growth potential, etc.

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