What is People Operations?

Definition, resources, and frequently asked questions.

People Operations

September 30th, 2020

People Operations, also known as People Ops, is the management of labor within an organization. It is a business function that falls under the HR umbrella focusing on employee development, engagement, and retention.

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People Operations VS Human Resources:

In many ways, People Ops and Human Resources are the same thing. The exact role and definition of each title varies by company and industry with the general consensus being that People Operations is a reinvention of HR for the modern workplace.

Many of the largest and most successful companies have replaced traditional HR teams with People Ops with the aim of building tools that optimize people practices. Where HR is focused on enforcing compliance and reducing liability, People Ops is focused on maximizing the value of employees with a holistic business approach.

Traditional HR Teams

People Ops Teams

Focused on enforcing compliance.

Focused on increasing employee value.

Executes decisions made by top management.

Consulted on major business decisions.

Works within the narrow constraints of HR practices.

Employes a holistic approach to address business goals using customized people tools.

Maintains the employee database and executes pay changes as requested.

Creates and executes goal-based initiatives with a total-rewards philosophy.

Responds to issues if and when they come up.

Understands key business goals and designs proactive programs to help achieve them.

The Function of the People Ops Team:

  • Cultivating a great reputation as an employer.
  • Creating a sustainable brand image from the inside out.
  • Designing and implementing organizational structures.
  • Attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent.
  • Creating and implementing goal-based initiatives.
  • Onboarding employees and ensuring they have access to resources.
  • Tracking and analyzing HR metrics.
  • Modernizing outdated HR systems.
  • Supporting and engaging employees.
  • Developing employee talent with training and development programs.
  • Recognizing and rewarding top-performing employees.
  • Assessing and improving working conditions.
  • Measuring and improving employee satisfaction.
  • Managing a contingent workforce.
  • Designing and delivering employee benefits.
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations

Why is People Ops Important?

Business Managers are quickly realizing that the value of a company comes from people functions, whether it be sales, marketing, engineering, design, or management.

As we move further into the digital age, the importance of intellectual property, and the quality of employees has never been greater. At the same time, the power has shifted from companies to the people who work in them. Employees are switching jobs with increasing frequency, forcing employers to focus on retention and employer branding to retain top talent.

Research has shown that companies with strong company culture and high employee engagement outperform their rivals in almost every business metric including employee turnover, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Major companies like Google and IBM have already shown that moving away from traditional HR practices and instituting a People Operations model is the way forward.

FAQs:

What is meant by People Operations?

People Operations is a business function similar to Human Resources that focuses on employee development, engagement, and retention.

Is People Ops and HR the same thing?

In many ways, People Operations is the same as HR. However, while HR is focused on enforcing regulations and reducing liability, People Ops is focused on maximizing employee efficiency.

Which companies use People Operations?

  • Google.
  • IBM.
  • Yelp.
  • Propel.
  • Relativity Space.
  • Atomic.
  • Credible.
  • Route.
  • Noom.
  • Cloudflare.
  • Zoox and many more.

What is the function of the People Ops team?

The function of the people ops team is to develop and implement organizational structures and strategies that help employees be more productive at work.

How does People Ops improve business operations?

  • Improving employee engagement.
  • Increasing employee retention.
  • Establishing a strong company culture.
  • Improving the company image.
  • Reducing time-to-hire.
  • Optimizing business performance.