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Our lexicon is the most comprehensive source of definitions and associated knowledge for learning and HR professionals. Based on our research, you can use the lexicon to give you clarity and consistency on key terms in our industry.
A "360-degree assessment" refers to feedback from the worker, and his / her manager, peers, superiors, subordinates, and customers. It is called a "360" because it does not solely refer to assessment by the manager or leader.
In the "70-20-10 Model of Development," 70 percent of learning is through practice and on-the-job experiences; 20 percent is through other people by exposure to coaching, feedback, and networking; and, 10 percent is through formal education-based learning interventions.
“Action learning” is a process in which groups of learners collaborate to solve actual workplace problems. In this way, organizations benefit from gaining solutions to critical challenges and participants benefit by learning from their experiences.
“Actionable information” provides data that can be used to make specific business decisions. Actionable information is specific, consistent, and credible.
An "activity stream" is a stream of updates, changes, and comments from people in an internal network (e.g., team, workgroup, organization, special interest group, etc.) all on a single page.
“ADDIE” is a standard instructional design model that stands for analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate. A generally accepted approach to developing instructional (traditional) programs, the ADDIE model was developed in 1975 by Florida State University.
In today's informal learning programs, designers must add on-demand, social, and embedded learning into their learning environments. It is also very important to do detailed audience analysis, which often involves building "personas" which describe various learner types.
These other approaches to learning (described in our Enterprise Learning Framework) go beyond the traditional approach to instructional design. We have also published a model for the development of e-learning, the Four Stages of E-Learning, which allow the instructional designer to consider the goal for an e-learning course from among four categories:
“Balanced scorecard” is a process for establishing a “strategy-focused organization,” which sets measurable targets for each operational process and support unit. It breaks business strategy into four levels of goals—financial, customer, process, and people. The Bersin Talent Management Framework fits into this process.
A "behavior" is the way in which someone expresses general character, state of mind, or a response to a situation or other people. Typically, there are a number of behaviors that comprise a single competency.
“Bench strength” refers to the capabilities and readiness of potential successors to move into key professional and leadership positions. The term comes from baseball, for which it refers to a team's lineup of highly skilled players who can step in when a player is hurt or replaced.
Please see "biases."
A “calibration meeting” brings together managers (who are peers) to finalize ratings of all salaried employees within their groups.
"Candidate pools" are generated from the process of engaging and grouping candidates by interest level, background, skills, and experiences.
The term “dashboard” refers to a graphical tool that allows users to view data using charts, dials and other visual approaches to understand business data. Dashboards are often included in HR and LMS software systems, and can typically be customized to include many different potential measures. Bersin has a list of high-impact talent management measures that organizations can use to benchmark and measure their enterprise learning and talent management programs. The term also refers to the general use of such metrics without software – often used for monthly review meetings and other management processes.
"Datafication" is a new term used to describe the process of turning an existing business into a "data business."
In HR it refers to our increasing ability to use Talent Analytics to understand more and more about our people, HR practices and processes, and external demographics. For more information read http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2013/07/19/the-datafication-of-human-resources/ .
“EBITDA” stands for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.
Bersin's WhatWorks methodology defines High-Impact organizations as those which succeed in three ways: effectiveness, efficiency, and alignment.
A “factor analysis” is a statistical method used to group variables (or, in the case of surveys, items) by the closeness of their relationships to each other. Closely related items are thought to measure the same issue or aspect of work; the factor is interpreted and named by using the items which belong in the group. Ideally, the statistics show that each item only belongs in one factor. Factors are often called “dimensions” in survey research, although not all dimensions have been determined through a factor analytic process.
For organizations whose training audiences include anyone involved in U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-related testing, the FDA has established strict guidelines for how information in captured and stored. These guidelines are outline in a section of U.S. Federal law, entitled Section 21 CFR Part 11.
"Games” are abstractions that may or may not reflect reality, and which set up a construct of rules that must be followed to achieve a desired outcome. The point of a game is to master the rules. “Serious games” are those for which the purpose is to support a business or organizational objective, such as training a skill.
“Generation-Y” (also known as “Millennials”) are those individuals who were born between 1981 and 2000, and are culturally thought to be confident, impatient, socially conscious, family-centric (or “tribal-oriented”) and technology-savvy.
HR or solution provider staff, online or on the phone, dedicated to answering employee questions about HR programs, such as benefits, wellness plans, and EAP programs.
A “high performer” is an employee who is a key contributor, demonstrates high performance, is capable of a lateral move, may be qualified for a broader role within the same profession and has reached the potential to move “upward’ in a management capacity.
In many companies performance ratings are developed using "forced ranking" - e.g. only 10% of all employees can be rated 5 out of 5, for example. The "high performers" are typically considered to be those with a certain rating.
In contrast, the second method for describing employee value is "potential" - which is often considered an individual's potential to grow at least two additional levels (managerially or professionally) in the organization. In most companies performance and potential are evaluated seperately, and combined in a 3X3 matrix called a "9-box grid."
A “high-potential employee” is an employee who has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for successive leadership positions within the company. Often, these employees are provided with focused development as part of a succession plan and are referred to as “HiPos.”
The Bersin by Deloitte "High-Impact Methodology" is a proprietary research process invented and used by Bersin to identify the HR, talent, and learning practices which drive consistent and verifiable business results.
The methodology includes extensive quantitative analysis (surveys using specially designed questions), correlation and causal analysis, case studies, and extensive vendor and solution provider analysis. The methodology produces a variety of actionable findings, including maturity models, leading practice descriptions, frameworks, and case studies.
The philosophy behind this methodology is that people-related practices do, predictably, drive certain business outcomes under certain conditions. Unlike disciplines like accounting, there is never a "perfect solution" to any people practice, but research does show that many practices do result in certain results, and our methodology identifies these practices and most importantly, shows when and where they apply. We use the marketing term "WhatWorks" to describe this process, showing that the focus is based on continuously studying what is driving results under real-world business conditions.
An “idea storm” is a web-based suggestion system that allows customers or clients to input ideas, and then vote on them. The system automatically aggregates all votes, and moves those suggestions or ideas with the most “votes” to the top. Dell’s IdeaStorm and Starbucks’s MyStarbucksIdea are examples. These are now easy to develop and many platform providers can enable such functionality.
Job profiles define the required skills, competencies, certifications, work experiences and other attributes required for success in a particular job or role.
Job profiles are a fundamental building block for any strategic talent strategy: they establish the ground-rules and criteria for hiring, they establish standards for evaluation of performance, and they are used by managers to make sure teams are organized in an efficient manner. Most companies have job profiles defined in job families (e.g. a database programmer fits into the family of database professionals, which fits into the family of IT professionals). These families can be purchased off-the-shelf from many providers but are often custom developed as part of HR and organization design.
Job rotation involves moving a leader through a series of jobs or assignments that are designed to broaden his / her knowledge of business operations and prepare for career advancement.
A “key performance indicator” is a quantifiable measure of success, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of a company, department or project.
Donald Kirkpatrick’s four-level Measurement Model has been widely published in many articles and its terminology is well-known to most training professionals. The original model was published in Training and Development Handbook, R. L. Craig, McGraw-Hill, 1976.
Learning and development.
Organizations typically initiate a “leaders-teaching-leaders” model by having executives kick off a leadership initiative. Mature companies go much further by having leaders involved in the program design, delivery, and interacting in many stages throughout the initiative. Leaders may play a number of roles in a development initiative, such as:
Any positions within your organization that have managerial or oversight responsibilities for at least one or more internal audiences.
“Natural Language Processing” (NLP) is a related field of computer science that focuses on the use of computers to process written and spoken language for some practical, useful purpose.
“Net Promoter” is a simple survey sent to a customer at any point in the support process that asks the customer to rate the vendor on a scale of one to 10 in terms of how well the customer would recommend this vendor to others.
A “nine-box grid” is a matrix tool that is used to evaluate and plot a company’s talent pool, based on two factors, which most commonly are performance and potential. Typically on the horizontal axis is "performance" - measured by performance reviews. On the vertical axis is typically "potential" - referring to an individual's potential to grow one or more levels in a managerial or professional capacity.
OLAP (online analytic processing) is a term used in analytics to describe tools or technology that arranges data into what are called "information cubes."
“Package Exchange Notification Services” (PENS) is an interoperability specification that makes it easier for learning content management system (LCMS) and learning management system (LMS) products to cooperate on the staging, transfer and submission of "LMS-ready" packages. The specification simplifies deployment of content for key e-learning standards, supporting content packages in either AICC or SCORM content package formats.
“Rapid development” seeks to increase the speed by which content is developed and delivered to the learner.
The tactical component of attracting and identifying job candidates.
refers to the processes, systems, behaviors, and performance of an
organization—not just the recruiting team—as it relates to the sourcing,
selecting, and hiring of talent.
In the “SaaS delivery model,” the vendor hosts and operates the technology platform at its facility. The application is offered in a multitenant architecture with all of the vendor’s customers accessing a single code base.
A "tag cloud" is a graphical representation of tags that shows (typically by font size) the frequency of tags or frequency of documents containing a tag, making it easy for people to navigate large amounts of tagged information.
“Usability” simply refers to the ease of use for both end-users and administrators.
A position or perspective that is intrinsically important to someone.
“Web 2.0” refers to a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services (such as social-networking sites, wikis, folksonomies, weblogs / blogs, social bookmarking, podcasts, RSS feeds, social software, web application programming interfaces / APIs, and online web services), that aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration and sharing between users. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways in which software developers and end-users use the web.
“XML” is extensible markup language, which improves the functionality of the web by allowing users to identify information in a more accurate, flexible and adaptable way. It is “extensible” because it is not a fixed format like HTML (which is a single, predefined markup language). Instead, XML is actually a meta-language – a language for describing other languages – that lets users design markup languages for limitless different types of documents.
“Y2K” literally stands for “year 2000.” This abbreviation was used prior to the year 2000 and especially with regard to the forecasted coding limitations in software programs, which did not take into consideration the millennium change (from 1900 to 2000) when originally developed.