Human resources keywords aren't merely buzzwords -- they define separate HR functions and workforce management topics. The list of HR keywords is practically endless and some keywords are seen more often in large organizations than businesses. For example, small businesses might stick to "recruitment and selection," while large organizations use phrases such as "talent acquisition." Keywords also are useful for job seekers who want to use keywords and phrases in tailoring their resumes and cover letters to match HR job requirements.

Recruitment and Selection

The keywords "recruitment and selection," also referred to as "talent acquisition," represent the process that includes accepting applications, interviewing candidates and choosing the most suitable candidate for the job. Small businesses might have just one person handling various steps in the recruitment and selection process. For example, the interview stage in a large organization could consist of a preliminary phone screening and two face-to-face interviews -- one with the recruiter and another with the hiring manager. The third interview with the hiring manager is the final meeting, after which the manager makes her selection. In a small business, there might be two interviews with the company founder or highest-ranking manager with the authority to hire personnel.

Performance Expectations

When a new employee comes on-board, he's given a job description, which provides a list of job tasks, duties and responsibilities that make up the employer's performance expectations. For example, a job description may include, "Produce monthly journal entries for review by the company's accounting manager." This says the employer's performance expectation is for the employee to handle monthly journal entries; the performance standard is that those entries are both accurate and delivered in a timely manner. Performance expectations are the tasks the employee is hired to perform and performance standards refer to the manner in which the employee must perform his tasks to meet the employer's expectations. Small businesses can communicate their performance expectations and performance standards in a less formal way, such as meeting individually with new employees to discuss what's expected of them and how the company will evaluate their performance.

Performance Evaluation

Supervisors evaluate employees' job performance in a number of ways. Performance appraisals -- whether they are annual or on a more regular basis -- are the basis for meetings during which a supervisor and employee discuss the employee's job performance. Annual performance appraisals, verbal and written disciplinary actions, and performance improvement plans are ways to evaluate job performance. They're also elements of an overall performance management system.

Employee Relations

The HR keywords "employee relations" generally refer to an HR discipline responsible for addressing workplace issues in a nonunion work environment; "labor relations" are keywords generally used in a union work environment. The employee relations or labor relations HR function includes such activities as administering employee opinion surveys or resolving union employees' grievances in-house before they escalate to arbitration hearings. Theoretically speaking, the phrase "employee relations" refers to HR's focus on strengthening the employer-employee relationship.

Leadership Training and Professional Development

The phrases "leadership training" and "professional development" describe work-related learning that prepares employees to take on more responsible roles in the organization. This includes in-house training provided by the HR department or the employer's sponsorship of formal training through continuing education workshops and seminars. Examples of topics are supervisory communication skills, handling workplace conflict and time management. Providing leadership training is an effective method for helping newly hired or promoted supervisors ease into their leadership roles. Also, professional development seminars prepare employees for management positions to which they might be promoted in the future. In this case, employers are supporting succession-planning steps.