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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.
“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
For more information on balanced scorecard, consult http://balancedscorecard.org/.
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 outlined 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.
Please see "human capital management / HCM (and applications implementation maturity model)."
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.”
Our research shows that top-performing companies separate the evaluation of "performance" from "potential," using tools such as two-dimensional grids (nine-box, etc.) to compare high performers with high potentials. Our research also shows that there are five elements to a world-class HiPo strategy:
Fewer than 15 percent of companies have strong programs that encompass these areas; most fall short in the identification of HiPos, as well as in the transition and management of HiPos in their new roles. In fact, one of the biggest derailers of leaders is a tendency for organizations to move them into high-powered positions without enough transition support.
For more information on this topic, we recommend learning about our
High-Potential Strategy Maturity Model.
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.
A "job analysis" is a formal process through which an organization identifies the specific duties and activities associated with a job, as well as the requirements needed to fill that job.
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 reflects 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.
The Kirkpatrick measurement model was developed to help in measuring instructor-led training. The four levels of this model are:
The Kirkpatrick model is a first-generation "thought model" for the measurement of training. While it is widely understood, training managers typically want more detailed tools and solutions. Josh Bersin's The Training Measurement Book describes the Bersin Impact Measurement Model and gives in-depth details on how to measure training.
Please see "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.
Nine-box grids are actively used during the talent review process. During this process, a group of managers works together to place individuals on the X-Y axis to help to identify who are the highest potential individuals, who needs development, and who needs coaching on performance improvement. It is also a very valuable tool to help in calibrating compensation decisions.
Each of the nine boxes has a different set of actions associated with it. People who are very high performing in their current roles, but not "high potential" yet, are possibly experts in their functional area who may or may not want to move into leadership. Our research and assessments have many examples of these tools and how to manage the talent review process.
OLAP (online analytic processing) is a term used in analytics to describe tools or technology that arranges data into what are called "information cubes."
Please see "platform-as-a-service."
“QR code” (quick response code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of that industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity, as compared with standard UPC barcodes. The QR code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be comprised of four standardized kinds (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, and Kanji) or through supported extensions—virtually any kind of data.
“Rapid development” seeks to increase the speed by which content is developed and delivered to the learner.
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.
"SaaS" stands for "software as a service."
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.
“Talent acquisition” is a strategic approach to identifying, attracting, and onboarding talent to efficiently and effectively meet dynamic business needs.
For more information on this topic, we recommend learning about our Talent Acquisition Maturity Model. (Also see "talent acquisition maturity.")
The Bersin by Deloitte Talent Acquisition Framework describes all of the elements of talent acquisition.
“Value webs” are groups of networks that span and connect whole ecosystems of people and companies. Value webs are characterized by complex, connected, and interdependent relationships, in which knowledge flows, learning, and collaboration are almost as important as the more familiar product flows, controls, and coordination.
Properly activated, these value webs can be more effective on multiple levels, such as reducing costs, improving service levels, mitigating risks of disruption, and delivering feedback-fueled learning and innovation. The trend toward value webs is likely to accelerate as new technologies generate more data, provide greater transparency, and enable enhanced connectivity.
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.
Please see "Experience API."
“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.