Are you looking for a new Head of People Operations? If yes, we have some great tips and advice to help you
The pandemic has presented companies with very unique challenges. Most notably, how to support your talent and put your people first, especially with a remote workforce. Enter the People Operations role.
If you’re looking to recruit a dedicated People Operations leader, who is passionate about the employee experience, you’ll want to make sure your job posting has the relevant details that help attract the right candidate. Here’s what we suggest:
What does the Head of People Operations do?
Simply put, People Operations (or People Ops, or POPS), is the practice of empowering your people to drive growth, and puts them first, since your people are your most valuable asset. People Ops focuses on creating a work environment that is engaging and rewarding to increase productivity and profitability, all of which is data-backed, instead of driven by gut feeling.
So, broadly, your People Operations manager would be responsible for:
- Automating the administrative functions of the company: Using technology to automate tasks that can be done without manpower frees up everyone’s time to focus on the most important functions for your company.
- Building an excellent employee experience: This experience should apply from the application process, all the way through to the exit interview. Transparency, open communication, and recognition all factor into making their employee experience great.
- Creating workforce productivity: People Ops would clearly define goals, and incorporate consistent feedback loops to encourage high performance.
- Driving growth and profitability: The goal is to move away from gut feeling and anecdotes, to data-driven results to measure how the company is performing, and what actually works in practice.
What does the Head of People Operations NOT do, and how is People Operations different from HR?
While People Operations and Human Resources managers can perform the same (or similar) tasks at smaller companies, they are not the same job. People Ops falls under the scope of HR, but there are some fundamental differences, and companies with more generous budgets will have two different people fulfilling POPS and HR duties.
Courtney Seiter, former Director of People at Buffer, says the difference is that traditional HR is “about managing, rules, and policies”, whereas “People Operations is about designing work so that you want to be there – present, engaged, and proud of what you do.”
The difference can be seen as HR dealing with the important day-to-day details (compensation, vacation, benefits, et.c), and People Operations looks at the overarching strategy to keep employees engaged, happy, and treats them like the customer. Both are key for a successful company.
Some POPS vs HR difference include:
- POPS looks at existing employee data to make adjustments to retain talent, and HR recruits top candidates
- POPS looks at data to ensure employees are satisfied with the current company benefits package, while HR ensures its competitive within the market
- POPS looks to enhance the employee experience and empower them, while HR onboards workers, and conducts exit interviews
- POPS looks for issues across the organization to be proactive about solutions, while HR responds to employee complaints
When should a small business bring on a Head of People Operations?
“Start before you need one”, says Seiter. What this means is that you don’t want to be looking for a People Operations manager when things have already started crumbling, and your company is struggling to turn things around.
You want someone early on, who is dedicated to empowering employees, instilling a strong company culture, and putting automation in place; it’s much more difficult to solve deep-rooted issues than it is to prevent them.
If you’re looking for a more concrete idea of timing, People Ops should be part of the first 50 employees.
What type of candidate are you looking for, and what should your People Ops job description include?
The type of candidate you’re looking to recruit depends on what your current HR department looks like. For example, if you are currently hiring the very first member of your HR department, ideally, they would have significant and demonstrated experience implementing People Ops strategies, as well as the necessary HR policies.
However, if you already have someone responsible for dealing with the day-to-day HR tasks, your candidate would focus solely on People Ops. Regardless of experience, your hire should demonstrate a passion for the employee experience.
Here are some examples of what you could put in your job posting, if your company is hiring for a purely People Ops position:
- Implement, continuously improve, and perfect programs, including performance reviews and recruiting procedures
- Automate and streamline current HR processes, including payroll and vacation request processes
- Analyze data and metrics (qualitative and quantitative) to improve the employee experience at the company, and increase the employee retention rate
- Provide leadership on people-related issues and policies across the organization, and advocate on behalf of employees
- Identify problem operational areas, and provide data-driven solutions, either through resources or training
- Collaborate with internal stakeholders to establish business requirements, analyze internal business needs, and identify areas of opportunity to drive the business forward and meet company objectives
What are some best practices for writing a job description?
The goal when writing a job description is to clearly provide the candidate with a complete picture of what the role entails, and what the company is providing to the candidate (perks, salary range, benefits, etc). While you can find a complete guide here, below is a summary of what to include:
- A specific job title
- A summary of the job that catches seekers’ attention
- Details about what makes your company unique
- The exact job location
- The core responsibilities and duties of the position
- A more granular look at the day-to-day activities of the position
- Include information on how the role fits within the organization
- A list of the necessary hard and soft skills needed to get the job done
If your company is growing (or planning on it), it’s a good idea to get started on recruiting a People Operations manager to be dedicated to the employee experience to cultivate a workforce of empowered individuals, who will help drive your company forward.