Business English Vocabulary: HR

Human Resources, or HR, is all about getting the best out of a company’s employees and nurturing their talents. You need to be good with people, which of course means having excellent communication skills, especially in one-to-one situations. If you’ve spent some time improving your English for your career or have taken a Business English course, working in a sector such as this is a great way to put your new language skills to work. You can get a head start in the profession by learning these key terms.



This is a formal assessment of performance, normally held every 12 months. Depending on the company, your appraisals can also be every 6 months, or after the probation period has finished for a new starter.

Business English HR – appraisal
How well do you think you're doing at your job?



Pairing a junior-level employee with someone more senior and experienced, known as coaching or mentoring, can really be beneficial in transferring the skills and knowledge required to perform well in the job, as well as making both employees feel valued and important.



A company’s culture is the beliefs and values it embodies and how it behaves and interacts with the outside world. Employing and developing the right staff is crucial to creating a successful culture.



You may have heard the more informal terms “fired” or “sacked,” but this is the correct terminology to use when an employee is let go (i.e. dismissed) from the company.

Business English HR – dismissal
This usually only happens in extreme circumstances, like breaking company rules

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Job analysis

A business needs to know what it requires its employees to do in their specific job roles, most importantly when advertising for a new position. Conducting a job analysis provides detailed information on the activities of each job.


Key Result Area (KRA)

KRA refers to the main activities of a job that are considered crucial. These key activities will deliver the desired results. For example, strong customer relations will result in high customer satisfaction levels.


Key Performance Area (KPA)

KPA is different to KRA because these activities will not necessarily deliver direct results, but they are important to overall performance. For example, attending weekly sales meetings won’t create more sales but it can improve performance and increase the likelihood.

Business English HR – skills
How well is your business performing?


Performance management

This is a process of feedback and recording individual goals for employees which link to helping the company achieve its objectives. It is different to an appraisal because it is less formal and more frequent, often monthly.



When a new employee starts, its normal for them to begin with a probationary period, which is usually 3-6 months long. During this period their suitability for the role will be observed, and at the end of the probation the decision will be made whether they continue in the job or not.



An employee who wishes to leave the company must resign from their position and give formal notice, usually by way of a letter, of their intention to leave.

Business English HR – resignation
A post-it probably won't cut it is a formal resignation letter


If you would like to improve your English in order to pursue a career in HR, or in a related field, then find out more about what we can offer in the way of Business English and start your journey today.

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