Some companies may use the terms “people operations” and “human resources” interchangeably. However, while people operations falls under the umbrella of human resources, the two are separate entities and maintain a few key differences.
These differences include varying goals, strategies and functions. Let’s start with some definitions.
First, What is People Operations?
Human resources has been around for decades. In fact, the first human resources department might have originated in 1901! So, where did this new term “people operations” come from?
The answer is: Google in the early 2000’s. After Google pioneered the term, it quickly began gaining popularity throughout human resources. Let’s take a look at its definition.
People Operations – also referred to as People Ops or POPs– is a people-focused approach to managing a workforce.
How is People Operations Different from Human Resources?
Human resources tends to focus on elements such as productivity and compliance, whereas people operations places emphasis on employee satisfaction, happiness and development.
Let’s review a few examples.
The main focuses of traditional HR may include enforcing rules and reducing liability. The main focus of people operations, on the other hand, includes valuing employees and contributing to employee growth, engagement, and retention.
Conflict Prevention and Resolution
Old HR often responds to issues as or after they arise. People operations make an effort to proactively prevent issues through people, purpose, and processes.
Hiring and Role Alignment
Old HR fills vacant positions at organizations. People operations place more emphasis on retaining employees.
Further, traditional human resources may speak with employees about poor performance. People operations value role alignment and place employees in the best position for success.
While this shift may seem small, there are significant impacts. For instance, a people-first approach results in higher employee engagement and retention.
What Are the Main Responsibilities of People Operations?
Any People Ops department has several key priorities they’re striving to meet in an organization. While some of these goals may differ, there are a few that every People Ops department likely shares. Let’s take a look.
Connecting With Employees
The main goal of people operations is to strengthen the connection between HR and employees. At Culture Works, we believe that successful HR practitioners put their people first.
Making HR a Resource Instead of Policing Employees
Some may associate HR with awkward conversations enforcing rules and policies. People operations shifts these impersonal conversations into humanized processes. The new HR will use these processes not to enable people, but rather to empower them.
Operating With a Mindset of Growth
People operations places importance on the growth and development of employees.
How Is People Operations Implemented?
All of these benefits sound pretty great, right? We think so too. However, many HR practitioners may be wondering: how exactly does people operations work?
Shifting From Manual to Automation
Use technology instead of humans for repetitive tasks. These tasks can include, for example, payroll, data entry, or processing and reporting.
Prioritizing Data Over Guesswork
Capture, review and share insights driven by data about the workforce. What kind of data, you may ask? We’re all about HR metrics and KPIs.
HR metrics and KPIs help human resources (HR) professionals guide the development of their organization and track its efficiency. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are quantifiable measures of performance over time for a specific objective. KPIs clearly articulate what an organization needs to achieve to reach its long-term objectives.
Through using this data – and not just gut feelings or quick conversations – HR practitioners can focus on concrete improvements and where the organization is thriving.
Learn more about HR metrics and KPIs, here.
We understand that some parts of HR will have to stay. However, many of these systems and processes can be upgraded or automated.
This is the New HR. Ready to Get Started?
Consider Culture Works. Our goal is to work with you for as long as you and your stakeholders need us! We do this by operationalizing your culture, fostering the development of your leadership teams, and driving HR initiatives.
We build Quarterly Game Plans that are focused on Culture, Talent, and HR initiatives and real results.
Learn more about our services, here.