People Operations(PeopleOps) and Human Resources

People Operations(PeopleOps) and Human Resources

What is meant by People Operations?

People Operations, in short, called PeopleOps is the function/division within the organization that primarily focuses on employees’ development, engagement, and retention.

Laszlo Bock is the first person to coin the term for people working at Google. PeopleOps falls under the traditional HR department but with an aim of changing the whole stereotype towards the HR department.

Difference Between People Operations vs Human Resources

It often happens that the term PeopleOps is compared with the term HR. In traditional human resources, employees are simply resources – members of an organization are compensated for their hard work, that’s all.

But the PeopleOps approach is distinct because it understands the value of the employees and focuses on increasing productivity and enhancing their skills through training and ensuring that the employees are working happily in their workspace. People Ops generally holds the concept that happier employees produce work of quality and there is more retention.

As the term PeopleOps is comparable with the word HR, it means that the two words are not the same. Meaning is a current difference between two words. The table below outlines the differences between the two, reflecting the focus and roles of each.

Human Resources (HR) VS. People Operations (PeopleOps)

Let us delve a little deeper to understand the role and function of Human Resources and PeopleOps.

People are treated as resourcesPeople are respected as individual contributors who add value to work.
Reactive – dealing with issues once they occur.Proactive – Learning from failures and being prepared for the future.
Policies and processes (certain or most times) supersede employees’ needs.Employees’ needs and expectations are valued as they are customers.
Siloed approachAgile and integrated approach with people as the central focus

Human Resources (HR) as a function:

HR is defined as the effective management of people in an organization. The HR management is focused on various areas like recruitment and staffing, performance management, training and development, compensation and benefits, and labor & employee relations.

Many organizations treat each of the functional areas as separate from the other, thus leading to a tacit approach. Standardized, transactional policies and procedures in HR act as a barrier to agility and personalization – current discussions that if practiced can open doors to human experience (Hx) and creative culture.

PeopleOps as a function:

PeopleOps is vast and has an expansive scope. Its prominent role is to empower and propel the employees and facilitate everyday life in a workspace.

It involves all actions that help to make employees more productive at work. PeopleOps consider employees as their internal customers and helps increase their satisfaction. It improves the talent of the employees through self-directed and socialized learning and development programs.

PeopleOps offers personalized rewards and recognition, that are necessarily not extrinsic always. Its focus is on creating meaningful work so that members feel intrinsically motivated to perform and grow within the workplace.

PeopleOps aims to design people-centric solutions, thus contributing toward a constructive organizational culture. It aims to gratify and support the current members so that they have a productive journey with the organization.

Today, organizations are slowly transitioning their HR function to PeopleOps. Are you?

The core intent to embark on this transformational journey is to focus on creating human-centric workplaces. PeopleOps takes a holistic approach by designing a meaningful journey for the members so that they give their best.


In conclusion, PeopleOps is better in all respects as it improves employee commitment in the organization, increases retention in the company, helps in establishing a strong company culture, and above all, optimizes business performance.

In short, People Operations fosters opportunities that help members become invaluable contributors to the business, thus maximizing the shareholders’ value.

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