What it Takes to Start a Career in People Operations

February 13, 2015 Zuman

People operations is becoming a buzzword in the human resources field, especially with major companies like Google and Uber hiring managers in this department. Aiming to move away from the traditional view of human resources as the silent partner within an organization, people operations teams focus on finding the right new hires and continuously investing in training and development to help them thrive.

How Does Google Do It?
Everyone knows the search engine giant is obsessed with data, so it’s no surprise that they factor this into all hiring and development plans. Some high-tech employers get hung up on which university a candidate graduated from and what his or her grade point average was in college. After analyzing new hires for years, Google came to the conclusion that these factors had very little bearing on how someone would actually perform on the job. In fact, on some teams at Google, as many as 14 percent of people don’t have any college education, according to The New York Times.

However, that’s not to say that skills and education are completely irrelevant, especially because many jobs at Google involve advanced math skills. The top thing that people operations managers at Google look for is ability to learn, which is why the company has moved to structured behavioral interviews instead of more traditional questioning. Plus, Google is really interested in leadership capabilities, creative problem-solving and humility.

How Can You Succeed in People Operations?
Currently on the job review website Glassdoor, there are thousands of people operations manager roles, including positions at HubSpot and Uber. Clearly, other businesses are following Google’s lead in this field. Not only do people operations candidates need to have great communications and collaboration skills, but they also are required to have strong analytical decision-making capabilities. In fact, people operations employees at Google need to be able to demonstrate creative thinking to do well in this position.

Leadership is one of the most important hiring virtues to Google, but the company wants to see it in action rather than hearing about your executive role in a collegiate club or previous management position. It also doesn’t matter how quickly you rose to a management role at a previous job. The people operations team is far more interested in whether someone was able to face a problem and direct a team toward a resolution. In addition, effective leaders at Google need to know when to step back and let someone else take charge.

Many of the responsibilities of people operations jobs are similar to what’s expected from current human resource positions. Candidates need to be able to multitask and work with applicant tracking systems. However, many businesses are realizing how important it is that the individuals they are hiring are well aware of the forward progress the HR industry is taking. The combination of HR, payroll and benefits under one organization, one data set, one solution is the evolution of traditional payroll. And, as it clearly seen by the current jobs available within the HR industry, more companies are moving toward the People Operations model.  The big question is, will you not only have the skill set, but the mindset, to be ready?

About the Author

Zuman

Zuman is the premium solution for HR, payroll, benefits administration delivering superior control, lower risk, and enhanced employee engagement for growing companies.

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