Understanding HR and Management Acronyms and Abbreviations

Get to know the abbreviations that are used in HR and management

Grid of hexagonal portraits of people with a hand adding new person.

Dimitri Otis/Getty Images

Have you ever spoken to a Human Resources practitioner and had trouble understanding various portions of the conversation? Learning and understanding Human Resources and management acronyms and abbreviations is a challenge.

As in any other occupation, people familiar with the field start talking in abbreviations because it's easy and familiar—they do it out of habit, unaware the other person doesn't know what they're saying. It can sound as if they're speaking in a foreign language.

If you work in manufacturing, you know what this means. You'll toss about the term QC (Quality Control) as though it's in the dictionary. If you're working in payroll, you think nothing about giving your AP (Accounts Payable) or AR (Accounts Receivable) an invoice. And, how many people even think of Human Resources when they tell you to go see HR about your problem.

With this in mind, the following acronyms are common HR and management lingo.


  • AAP: Affirmative Action Plan
  • AARP: American Association of Retired Persons
  • ABM: Activities Based Management
  • ADA: The Americans With Disabilities Act
  • AD&D: Accidental Death & Dismemberment
  • ADEA: Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • ADL: Activities of Daily Living
  • AE: Account Executive
  • AFL-CIO: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • AFSCME: American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees 
  • AJB: Americas Job Bank
  • ANSI: American National Standards Institute
  • AP: Accounts Payable
  • APR: Annual Percentage Rate
  • AR: Accounts Receivable
  • ATD: Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD: American Society for Training and Development)
  • AWOL: Absent Without Leave


  • B2B: Business to Business
  • B2C: Business to Consumer
  • BA: Bachelor of Arts
  • BBB: Better Business Bureau
  • BCP: Business Continuity Plan
  • BS: Bachelor of Science
  • BC/R: Benefits Cost/Ratio
  • BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • BOD: Board of Directors
  • BU: Bargaining Unit


  • CCL: Center for Creative Leadership
  • CCP: Certified Compensation Professional
  • CEBS: Certified Employee Benefits Specialist
  • CEO: Chief Executive Officer
  • CFO: Chief Financial Officer 
  • CHRO: Chief Human Resources Officer
  • CIO: Chief Investment Officer, Chief Information Officer
  • CMO: Chief Marketing Officer
  • COO: Chief Operating Officer 
  • CSO: Chief Security Officer
  • COB: Close of Business
  • CEU: Continuing Education Unit
  • CAI: Computer Assisted Instruction
  • CBT: Computer-Based Testing
  • COBRA: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
  • CTO: Compensatory Time Off
  • CPE: Continuing Professional Education
  • COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment
  • CV: Curriculum Vitae


  • DOB: Date of Birth
  • DOI: Date of Injury
  • D&O: Directors and Officers
  • DB: Defined Benefit
  • DBPP: Defined Benefit Pension Plan 
  • DCPP: Defined Contribution Pension Plan
  • DOL: Department of Labor
  • DOJ: Department of Justice
  • DOT: Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Department of Transportation
  • DW: Dislocated Worker 
  • DBA: Doing Business As
  • DINKS: Dual Income No Kids
  • DRP: Disaster Recovery Plan


  • EBT: Earnings Before Taxes
  • EAP: Employee Assistance Program
  • EBSA: Employee Benefits Security Administration
  • EBO: Employee Buyout
  • EDT: Electronic Data Processing, Employee Development Plan
  • EE: Employee
  • EIN: Employer Identification Number
  • EI: Employee Involvement
  • EI: Emotional Intelligence
  • EPLI: Employment Practices Liability Insurance
  • ERISA: Employee Retirement Income Security Act
  • ESO: Employee Stock Option
  • ESOP: Employee Stock Option Plan
  • EOD: End of Day
  • EOY: End of Year
  • EEO: Equal Employment Opportunity
  • EEOC: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • EPA: Equal Pay Act, Environmental Protection Agency


  • FCRA: Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • FEP: Fair Employment Practice
  • FLSA: Fair Labor Standards Act
  • FMLA: Family Medical Leave Act
  • FEIN: Federal Employment Identification Number
  • FUTA: Federal Unemployment Tax Act
  • FSA: Flexible Spending Account (Healthcare)
  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
  • FT: Full Time
  • FTE: Full-Time Equivalent


  • GATB: General Aptitude Test Battery
  • GED: General Equivalency Diploma
  • GPHR: Global Professional in Human Resources
  • GTL: Group Term Life Insurance


  • HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
  • HMO: Health Maintenance Organization
  • HCE: Highly Compensated Employee
  • HCM: Human Capital Management
  • HPT: Human Performance Technology
  • HR: Human Resources, Human Resource
  • HRCI: HR Certification Institute
  • HRD: Human Resources Development, Human Resource Development
  • HRIS: Human Resources Information System
  • HRM: Human Resources Management, Human Resource Management
  • HRMS: Human Resources Management System
  • HSA: Health Savings Account


  • IRCA: Immigration Reform and Control Act
  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service


  • JD: Job Description, Juris Doctorate
  • JTPA: Job Training Partnership Act (Now the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.)
  • OA: Joint Operating Agreement
  • JSSA: Jury Selection and Service Act


  • KPI: Key Performance Indicator
  • KPM: Key Performance Measures
  • KSA: Knowledge, Skills, or Abilities


  • LOA: Leave of Absence
  • LOS: Length of Service
  • LMS: Learning Management System
  • LR: Labor Relations
  • LTC: Long-Term Care
  • LTD: Long-Term Disability
  • LWOP: Leave Without Pay
  • LWP: Leave with Pay


  • M&A: Merger & Acquisition
  • MBO: Management by Objectives
  • MBTI: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • MHPA: Mental Health Parity Act
  • MOP: Measure of Performance
  • MQ: Minimum Qualifications


  • NE: Non-Exempt
  • NLRB: National Labor Relations Board
  • NEO: New Employee Orientation


  • OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • OOH: Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • OPM: Office of Personnel Management 
  • OMB: Office of Management and Budget
  • OJT: On-The-Job-Training
  • OE: Open Enrollment for Benefits
  • OCF: Operating Cash Flow
  • OE: Operating Expense
  • OI: Operating Income
  • OD: Organization Development
  • OT: Overtime


  • PA: Performance Assessment
  • PERT: Project Evaluation and Review Technique
  • PIP: Performance Improvement Plan
  • P&L: Profit and Loss
  • PM: Performance Management, Project Management
  • PPO: Preferred Provider Organization
  • PHR: Professional in Human Resources
  • PT: Part-Time
  • PTO: Paid Time Off


  • QR: Quarterly Review
  • QWI: Quarterly Workforce Indicators


  • RIF: Reduction in Force
  • RPA: Retirement Plan Alternative
  • RTW: Return to Work


  • SBA: Small Business Administration
  • SE: Salaried Exempt
  • SNE: Salaried Non-exempt
  • SME: Subject Matter Expert
  • SHRM: Society for Human Resources Management
  • SPHR: Senior Professional in Human Resources
  • SSA: Social Security Administration
  • SSN or SS#: Social Security Number
  • STD: Short Term Disability
  • SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats


  • TM: Talent Management
  • T&D: Training and Development
  • TBD: To Be Determined
  • TDA: Tax Deferred Annuity
  • TDB: Temporary Disability Benefits 
  • TESSA: Tax-Exempt Special Savings Account
  • TEUC: Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation 
  • TL: Time and Labor
  • TPA: Third Party Administrator
  • TPD: Temporary Partial Disability
  • TTD: Temporary Total Disability
  • TSA: Tax-sheltered Annuity


  • UAW: United Auto Workers
  • UCI: Unemployment compensation insurance
  • UFW: United Farm Workers
  • UGMA: Uniform Gifts to Minors Act
  • UIC: Unemployment Insurance Commission
  • UN: United Nations
  • USC: United States Code
  • USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • U. S. DOJ: United States Department of Justice
  • U.S. DOL: United States Department of Labor
  • USERRA: Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act


  • VA: Veterans Administration/Affairs 
  • VETS: Veterans Employment and Training Service
  • VP: Vice President
  • VPN: Virtual Private Network
  • VOC-REHAB: Vocational Rehabilitation


  • WARN: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
  • WC: Worker's Compensation
  • WIA: Workforce Investment Act
  • WIP: Work in Progress
  • WTO: World Trade Organization
  • WTW: Welfare to Work
  • W-2: Income tax form issued by employers
  • W-4: Federal income tax withholding form
  • WPS: Work Performance Standards


  • XRA: Expected Retirement Age
  • XML: Extensible Markup Language (Code)


  • YTD: Year to Date


  • ZBB: Zero Based Budgeting