The Essential Guide to HR Software Terminology

September 12, 2016
HR Software Terminology

So, you’ve heard of “HR Software”, and you have a rough idea of what it does… but people keep throwing confusing terms and cryptic acronyms your way, and it’s giving you a headache!

To help you on your way, here are a few common abbreviations, terms and references you might come across quite often during your quest to find the perfect HR system. We’re also including a few general HR terms that people often ask us about.

Are you ready? Then let’s bust some HR software jargon!

(You might want to bookmark this page for future reference)

HR Software Terminology


ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. This is a feature that lets you manage your recruitment cycle, from posting jobs and receiving applications, to reviewing candidates and on-boarding new starters.

RSS Feed

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. The RSS Feed is what lets your system send information to other platforms. For example, if you create a job within your HR software, it might use an RSS feed to post it to your company’s careers website.


API stands for Application Programming Interface. Your HR software’s API is a set of technical instructions that tell your IT team how to make your software work with other programs and applications.


URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is what you type into your browser’s address bar to reach a specific website! In terms of HR software, your login URL is the website address you need to visit to access your system.

Broader Human Resources Terminology

TOIL (Time Off in Lieu)

TOIL stands for Time Off in Lieu.  This refers to employees working extra hours, in return for extra time off in the future. For example, an employee may agree to stay an extra few hours one evening, in return for half a day of TOIL.

Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor is a simple formula that helps you assess the risk level of employee absence patterns. The main idea behind the formula, is that lots of individual instances of absences are more damaging than one long period of absence. You can learn more here.


CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. The term covers any learning or training activities undertaken by professionals on a regular basis to enhance their skills and improve their careers. Ongoing training programs within a company could be classed as a way of supporting CPD.


121 is a numerical abbreviation of “One To One”. This is used to describe several kinds of meetings which involve only two people – most commonly, a manager and one of his or her team members. A 121 will normally be used to describe a private coaching session, or a performance review or appraisal.

Any Other Terms that Baffle Your Brain?

If there are any other HR software terms that puzzled you when you first heard them, let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them in.

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