Check out key differences between two human resourcing camps — People Ops and HR — plus an overview of the People Ops role.
If you haven’t already noticed, the term “People Operations” or “PeopleOps” or simply “POPS” is taking off.
But what is it?
With some sort of relief, we’re pleased to say this ISN’T yet another COVID-19 workplace change. People Operations as a term can trace its origin back to Google, circa 2006. At the time the tech giant, along with Laszlo Bock, infamously departed from calling their human resources department “HR” and moved towards the more erudite: “People Operations.”
The catchy PeopleOps and POPS monikers mimic similar evolutions in other departments. Marketing Operations and MOPS. Sales Operations and SOPS.
At the time, many HR professionals balked at POPS. “The worst of the ‘-OPS.” Copped it off as some sort of buzz phrase. Kept their HR titles …
… but the times they are a changin’
Fast forward to 2021, and we now regularly see People Operations titles in LinkedIn and other job posting networks. Titles such as Directors of People Operations, Chief of People Operations (CPOs), and People Team leaders.
Job titles related to “people operations” grew nearly 6X faster than job titles related to “human resources” from 2015 to 2020.
In fact, according to People Operations, a 2021 book that helps HR leaders embrace a people-centered business model, job titles related to “people operations” grew nearly 6X faster than job titles related to “human resources” from 2015 to 2020.
In this article we look at some key differences between the two human resourcing camps, and give you a useful infographic that provides an understanding of the People Ops role.
What is the difference between an HR manager and a People Ops manager?
So, is it a different role or just a new catchy title?
According to Christie Hoffman of Pinboard, the chief differences are in the way employees are viewed between the two factions. She writes: “HR teams have historically viewed employees as resources (hence the name). On the other hand, people ops teams view employees as customers … ” often reflecting a more “results-oriented,” “strategy-focused” approach to the “leadership and management of people.”
In addition to core functions of HR roles, such as hiring and onboarding new employees; managing HR compliance; maintaining the employee database; and maintaining benefits and payroll … the People Ops role builds and implements action plans that raise employee productivity, happiness, and growth; creates a robust company culture to elevate the company’s image and time to hire; and regularly seeks input from data to become a strategic business partner.
Suffice to say the People Operations role builds operations that improve the quality of life for employees, and thereby the growth of the business at large. They are critical to day-to-day management of employees and employee-related administration but also seek to elevate the employee experience to drive greater improvements across the business.
The People Operations role builds operations that improve the quality of life for employees, and thereby the growth of the business at large.
How do People Operations managers have time for both administrative work and employee experience design?
This is a great question that comes up a lot. How, if HR professionals were already working full time and often into the weekends, can these folks take on more job responsibilities?
The key here is with technology investments that help HR leaders manage the nitty-gritty administrative work so they can spend more time on the human- or people-side of the business. With technology running in the background, companies that choose to invest in People Platforms or HRIS systems, are managing employee scheduling, time tracking, PTO accruals and balances, benefits administration, and payroll without having to actually do much work. The technology provider is automating that. Meanwhile the People Ops manager can spend his or her time on building motivational strategies that incentivize employees to do their best work.
Check out the following infographic to see which parts of the nitty-gritty administrative tasks Zenefits helps small and midsize businesses with, and imagine how much time that could free up for you when running HR at your company.