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People Operations vs Human Resources

Happy HR professional smiling in a modern office

Businesses across the globe structure their organization differently. One common area of confusion has been hotly debated in the HR industry: “People Ops” and “Human Resources.”


Simply put, HR focuses on legal, ethical, and structural organization of employees and teams, whereas people operations focuses more on results and leadership/management strategies. But digging deeper, there are three categories that can better define the differences between the two terms:

  1. Perception
  2. Prioritization
  3. Brand




Generally speaking, most HR professionals agree that “people ops” and “HR” have similar duties and responsibilities. The main difference is in their approach. For example, a survey of approximately 50 individuals provided that people ops focus on effectiveness and development, whereas human resources focus on efficiency and compliance.


So, what does that mean? It means that in conducting their day-to-day HR responsibilities, people ops prioritize and engage employees differently than those in HR.






From business to business, the role and meaning of each title may vary depending on industry, business phase (i.e., start-up, franchise), years of experience, priorities, and company brand. For example, an HR Director could certainly prioritize his or her duties as defined by People Ops, or vice versa.


Job descriptions and auditing is integral as a business develops. Whether you’re a growing small business and looking to improve crafting job descriptions, or a longstanding large business wanting to revamp its employee infrastructure, Human Capital can assist you! Our seasoned human resources specialists can provide tips for industry best practices, resources, and support tailored to your business needs.



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