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The delivery of formal and informal training and educational materials, processes and programs via the use of electronic media.


Early retirement plan

A benefit plan offered by an organization providing incentives geared toward encouraging employees who are approaching retirement age to voluntarily retire prior to their normal retirement age.


Early return to work program

Modified work programs designed to get employees who have been out of work due to injury or illness to return to the workforce sooner by providing them with less strenuous alternative jobs until they are able to resume their full regular duties.


EEO-1 category

One of nine broad job categories used on the EEO-1 Report. They are officials & managers, professionals, technicians, sales workers, office & clerical, craft workers, operatives, laborers and service workers.


EEOC guidelines

Interpretations of Title VII expressed by the EEOC that don't have the force of law, but tend to be supported by the courts. These positions are outlined in various EEOC publications ("Discrimination Because of Religion," etc.)


Eighty-percent rule

Method of determining adverse impact. Selection rates for any group that are less than 80 percent (four-fifths) of the rate for other groups is evidence of a violation of this rule.



Used to refer to a NLRB ruling declaring that, in nonunion companies, labor management cooperation (i.e., quality circles, employee involvement programs, etc.) is illegal because the committees through which such cooperation takes place are equal to a labor organization, as defined by the NLRA.


Electronic monitoring

An employee surveillance practice where items such as telephone calls or e-mail/Internet usage are observed for general business, training or performance-related reasons.


Emergency planning

The process of establishing specific measures or actions to be taken when responding to catastrophic events or tragedies (i.e., fire, earthquake, severe storms, workplace violence, kidnapping, bomb threats, acts of terrorism or other emergency situations) in the workplace.

Employability Defined as the skills that make the available talent pool ready for absorption into the corporate environment. These skills help to close the gaps between the campus/academic education and an organization’s expectations, In addition to this, ensuring re-skilling of existing talent that may have become redundant due to technology changes, business environment, organizational changes and so on.

Emotional intelligence

Describes the mental ability an individual possesses enabling him or her to be sensitive and understanding to the emotions of others, as well as to manage his or her own emotions and impulses.


Employee assistance program (EAP)

A work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems (i.e., marital, financial or emotional problems, family issues, substance/alcohol abuse) that may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance.


Employee-driven idea system

A type of suggestion program where employees are rewarded for being ultimately responsible for the management and implementation of any idea they submitted.


Employee engagement

The means of creating a work environment that empowers employees to make decisions that affect their jobs. Also referred to as employee involvement. Further defined by the Corporate Leadership Council in the in their 2004 study, “Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement” as “the extent to which employees commit to something or someone in their organization, how hard they work, and how long they stay as a result of that commitment.”



Employee handbook

A written or electronic document containing summaries of the employer’s policies and benefits designed to familiarize employees with various matters affecting the employment relationship.


Employee leasing

A staffing alternative whereby employers form a joint-employment relationship with a leasing agency or professional employer organization (PEO) that takes on the responsibility for various HR-related functions, such as labor law compliance, compensation and benefits administration, record-keeping, payroll and employment taxes.


Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988

Prohibits most private employers from requiring employees or candidates for employment to submit to a lie detector test. The only time an employer may ask (but not require) an employee to take a polygraph test is in the conduct of an ongoing investigation into theft, embezzlement or a similar economic loss; or if the employee had access to property that was lost and the employer has a reasonable suspicion that the employee was involved. Employees who take a polygraph test may not be discharged or suffer any other negative consequences solely on the basis of the test, without other supporting evidence. The Act strictly mandates how polygraph tests may be administered and how the results are used.


Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)of 1974

ERISA sets requirements for the provision and administration of employee benefit plans. Employee benefit plans include health care benefits, profit sharing and pension plans, for example.


Employee referral program

A recruiting strategy where current employees are rewarded for referring qualified candidates for employment.


Employee relations

A broad term used to refer to the general management and planning of activities related to developing, maintaining and improving employee relationships by communicating with employees, processing grievances/disputes, etc.


Employee retention

Organizational policies and practices designed to meet the diverse needs of employees and create an environment that encourages employees to remain employed.


Employee self-service

A trend in human resource management that allows employees to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR (such as benefits enrollment, updating personal information and accessing company information) through the use of a company's intranet, specialized kiosks or other Web-based applications.


Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP)

A trust established by a corporation that operates as a tax-qualified defined contribution retirement plan, but unlike traditional defined contribution plans, employer contributions are invested in the company's stock.


Employee stock purchase plan

An employer-sponsored plan that allows employees to purchase company stock below the fair market value.


Employer of choice

A term used to describe a public or private employer whose practices, policies, benefits and overall work conditions have enabled it to successfully attract and retain talent because employees choose to work there.


Employment agency

An organization that provides job placement assistance, either on a temporary or permanent basis, to individuals seeking employment opportunities.



A legal doctrine that states that an employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or employee at any time and for any or no reason.


Employment agreement/contract

A formal, legally binding agreement between an employer and employee outlining terms of employment such as duration, compensation, benefits, etc.


Employment branding

A combination of marketing, communication and technology used by an organization intended to give it greater visibility amongst a large population within a short timeframe.


Employment cost index

Conducted annually as part of the Department of Labor’s National Compensation Survey program, the Employment Cost Index measures the relative changes in wages, benefits and bonuses for a specific group of occupations.


Employment displacement

Occurs when an employee is terminated as a result of position elimination.


Employment practices liability audit

An assessment of an employer’s current policies and practices to determine potential areas of liability (i.e., discrimination, wrongful discharge and other violations of employee rights) typically conducted by an outside consulting or legal firm.


Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI)

An insurance plan that provides employers with protection against claims of discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment or other employment-related issues made by employees, former employees or potential employees.


Employment torts

The grounds on which a lawsuit is based, such as wrongful discharge, negligence or invasion of privacy.


Employment visas

An immigration-issued document that allows aliens to obtain temporary residency for the purpose of pursuing employment opportunities within the United States.



Under EEOC Policy Guidelines, a person or persons engaging in an industry affecting commerce who has 15 or more employees for each working day in each of the 20 or more weeks in the preceding year or any agent thereof. Includes state and local governments, any federal agency subject to the provisions of Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Also includes any federal contractor or subcontractor or federally assisted construction contractor covered by Executive Order 11246, as amended.


Employer information report EEO-1

Also known as Standard Form 100, this annual report shows the representation of female and minority employees in an employer's total workforce as well as in standard job groupings (i.e., officials and managers, professionals, etc.). This report must be filed each year by any employer with 100 or more employees (50 or more for government contractors).


Employment practice

Any recruitment, hiring, selection practice, transfer or promotion policy, or any benefit provision or other function of the employer's employment process that operates as an analysis or screening device.



Enabling an individual to have responsibility, control and decision-making authority over the work he or she performs.


English-only rules

An employer policy or work rule that requires employees to only speak in the English language at all times while on the job or in the workplace.


English as a second language (ESL)

English language training provided to individuals who do not speak English as their primary language.


Environmental Scanning

A process that systematically surveys and interprets relevant data to identify external opportunities and threats.


Equal employment opportunity (EEO)

A policy statement that equal consideration for a job is applicable to all individuals and that the employer does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability or sex.


Equal opportunity clause

The seven subparagraphs in Section 202 of Executive Order 11246, as amended. These paragraphs are required to be part of all contracts covered by the executive order.


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The federal agency responsible for publishing guidelines, enforcing EEO laws and investigating complaints of job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age or disability.


Equal opportunity survey

This report is sent to a substantial portion of all non-construction contractors each year. It requires them to provide to the OFCCP information regarding applicants, hires, promotions, terminations, compensation and tenure by race and gender. Non-construction contracts can expect to receive and complete this report every other year.


Equal Pay Act of 1963

A federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating between male employees and female employees in terms of pay when they are performing jobs that are essentially the same or of comparable worth.


Equal Treatment

A legal doctrine used in discharge cases to determine whether an employer’s policies and practices are applied in a fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory manner.


Equivalent position

According to section 825.215 of the FMLA regulations, an equivalent position is one that is virtually identical to the employee's former position in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions, including privileges, perquisites and status. It must involve the same or substantially similar duties and responsibilities, which must entail substantially equivalent skill, responsibility and authority.



The design of the equipment, furniture, machinery or tools used in the workplace that promotes safety, efficiency and productivity and reduces discomfort and fatigue.


Error of central tendency

A rating error occurring when the rater displays a propensity to assign only average ratings to all individuals being rated.


Error of contrast

An error occurring when raters assign ratings based on comparisons between individuals being rated instead of using previously established organizational standards.


Error of halo

A rating error occurring when the rater assigns a rating based on individuals’ positive or negative characteristics.


Error of inconsistency

Occurs when no established organizational standards for rating an individual exist, and raters use different strategies for assigning ratings.


Error of projection

An error in rating, which occurs when raters are inclined to allow their own personal characteristics or values to affect the ratings they assign.


Error of recency

Occurs when raters assign a rating based on the individual’s short-term versus long-term job performance.


Error of standards

Occurs when a rating is assigned based on impracticable standards established by the rater.


Errors and omissions insurance

An insurance policy providing businesses with coverage and protection against potential lawsuits from clients or customers.


Essay appraisal

An appraisal strategy requiring the rater to provide a narrative description of an individual’s performance based on the rater’s performance observations.


Essential functions

The primary job functions or tasks that an individual must be able to perform with or without a reasonable accommodation.


Ethical Leadership

Broadly defined , as the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and promotion of such conduct among followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making processes (M.E Brown and L.K. Trevino, Measures for Leadership Development Ethical Leadership Scale)



A philosophy principle concerned with opinions about appropriate and inappropriate moral conduct or behavior by an individual or social group.


Ethnic categories

A grouping of individuals who are of the following decent: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and White.


Executive compensation

Compensation packages specifically designed for executive-level employees that include items such as base salary, bonuses, perquisites and other personal benefits, stock options and other related compensation and benefit provisions.


Executive development

Training and educational programs designed to increase performance and further the development of leadership skills for executive and senior-level managerial employees.


Executive Order

An official presidential directive that has the same force as a law.


Executive Order 11246 of 1965

Administered and enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in government business in one year, from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Executive Order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.


Executive outplacement

A program designed to provide displaced senior-level managerial and professional employees with career management and transition services that go above and beyond what is typically offered through a customary outplacement program.


Executive retreat

A team building and development approach designed for executive-level managers; conducted off-site and typically lasts from a few days to a week.


Executive search firm

An agency or organization used by employers to assist them with the selection and placement of candidates for senior-level managerial or professional positions.


Exempt employees

Employees who meet one of the FLSA exemption tests and who are paid on a fixed salary basis and not entitled to overtime.


Exit interview

An interview conducted at the time of an employee’s resignation, used to identify the underlying factors behind an employee’s decision to leave.



An employee who is transferred to work abroad on a long-term job assignment.


Expectancy theory

A motivational theory concluding that individuals feel a sense of pleasure and gratification when they have completed a challenging task and therefore are generally more motivated.


Expedited arbitration

A dispute resolution method used by the American Arbitration Association to resolve cases in accordance with a prescribed set of guidelines.


External benchmarking

The process of comparing an organization’s current policies and practices to that of a competitor organization(s) to determine current and future trends in areas of employment and business practice (i.e., compensation, benefits, HR practices).


Extrinsic motivator

Organizationally controlled incentives, such as pay, benefits, incentives, achievement awards, etc., used to reinforce motivation and increase performance.


Extrinsic reward

Work-related rewards that have a measurable monetary value, unlike intrinsic rewards, such as praise or satisfaction in a job well done.

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