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Exploring People Operations' Role

People Operations is an increasingly popular term within the Human Resources world. What is it and how does it differ from traditional HR?  


People Operations, or People Ops, was coined by previous Google HR Executive Laszlo Bock. It can fall under the HR umbrella as its own team, or it can replace the HR department while taking on traditional HR duties in addition to People Operations centered tasks.

One of the main purposes of rebranding to People Operations is to turn the focus on the employees. Traditionally, Human Resources is more about the operational needs of a company, such as HR complaints, payroll, benefits, and more. Within People Operations, employees are seen as internal customers, and the People Ops team focuses on putting the employees first and investing in them. Employees are given dedicated attention during the onboarding and initial training process to create a positive start to their employment with a company. This attention continues throughout the entire employee lifecycle. Businesses are continually seeing that much of the health and success of their business depends on the employees and how engaged they are in their job.  


People Operations focuses on helping the employees immerse themselves in company culture and becoming part of the company’s team. An important value within People Operations is open communication and transparency, which creates trust between employees and their company. This transparency is critical especially in instances of change management when organizational transitions occur within a company. People Operations departments ask for transparency from their employees as well; feedback from employees is consistently taken and analyzed to determine what is working or not working at a company. Under a People Operations structure, employees are recognized for their work and the value that they bring to the company. Employees are given opportunities to grow within the company and feel empowered to learn and bring ideas and knowledge to their work.  


There are many different jobs within People Operations. Jobs include a People Operations director, manager, specialist, analyst, coordinator:

  • The director is the leader for the whole People Operations team.

  • A manager oversees managing the whole People Operations team.

  • A specialist will perform data checks and confim records within the company, while also assissting with the employee lifecycle such as onboarding, recruiting, and customer service.

  • An analyst is responsible for researching flaws within the company and providing improvement implementation ideas as well as keeping the business in compliance with state and federal laws.

  • A coordinator will work on the administrative duties, as well as project management.

A smaller company may opt to have one person oversee every aspect of People Operations, while a larger company may choose to hire a whole team.


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