Leaders in any organisation must decide whether to bring an HR leader or a People Operations expert when an employee-related issue occurs. In this case, understanding both roles can help provide a clear standard of what to expect as the result of a decision making process. For instance, tech companies often prize a relaxed environment like hoodies and office kegs that blurs the line between work and social. This is the work of the People Operations team to ensure employees enjoy their workforce environment. On the contrary, HR often does not have the best reputation as they are often associated with liability or times when things go wrong.
People operations teams focus on empowering managers and their teams, monitoring team and individual development, facilitating management training and development, as well as reporting to the CEO about strategic and data-backing operations.
People Ops starts with business objectives and identify what needs to be done to lead employees to achieve those objectives. Transparency is fundamental to have a successful team of People Ops. This is why people team members come from various backgrounds and departments. As an example, the team can come from tech staff to make sure that other stakeholders have access to and know how to use a necessary system, or come from R&D staff to make sure every stakeholder is informed with the latest product or service of the company.
In short, People Operations teams focus on effectiveness and development. They offer ideas, test software, improve business operations, propose creative incentive structure and focus on result and retention.
On the contrary, the HR management team would focus on efficiency and compliance. They will be responsible for dealing with issues when problems occur, such as posting job ads for vacant positions when employees leave. The responsibility of HR deals directly with law and policy, such as payroll, conducting performance appraisals, or recruiting employees. This is the reason why sometimes HR becomes the most rigid department in a company. Moreover, the very common notion about HR is that it is a siloed team that will not share information with employees, and instead, operates behind the scenes.