Startup Blog

The 4 Disciplines of People Ops

Posted by Mike Volpe on 3/21/17 9:00 AM

We’re hiring a VP of People Operations at Cybereason, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes someone amazing at that job. It is a very very hard job because to be a truly great people ops executive, you need a broad set of skills spanning product management, marketing, sales, and customer success.

A great VP of People Ops knows their main goal is to make their company a magnet for game-changing talent. (tweet this you'll be able to edit first) This means not only do you attract talent from other places, but it also keeps these stars at your company and makes it hard for them to leave. A true VP People Ops (rather than a head of HR or head of recruiting) knows her job is not to hit the hiring goals for the company, and it is not to have benefits on par with other companies. Her job is to attract, hire and retain A++ talent. To do this, she needs to be creative and find ways to stand out and be different in every aspect of the employee experience, using these four disciplines:

  1. Product Management - The best product managers create such a great customer experience that people rave to their friends about your product and create a buzz about it. People flock to your store or website to buy the product without seeing any ads or talking to your sales reps. There are unique, rave-worthy aspects of working at the company that the employees brag about in person and online which creates a buzz about the company and attracts other stars. The best People Ops executives design and implement an employee experience that is worthy of being shared and talked about.
  1. Marketing - You can recruit stars much more easily if they either knock on your door, or at least answer your InMail rather than the 5 others they got that day. The way to do this is not to hire more junior recruiters to do more sourcing, but to be a great marketer for the employee experience at your company and build a great employment brand. The best People Ops executives act like the world’s best marketers and find creative ways to build brand awareness for the company as a great place to work.
  1. Sales - Recruiting is the sales engine of the People Ops team. If you are doing the other parts of the job well, this goes a lot smoother and you can be a lot more efficient and you can hire many more stars. The best People Ops executives run recruiting like the best sales organizations are run, which means heavy on process and metrics.
  1. Customer Success - Your work with the customer is just beginning when sales closes the deal, and your work in people operations is just beginning when a candidate signs the offer letter. Each day is an opportunity to get employees to generate buzz and referrals. The best People Ops executives manage employee engagement like a the best customer success teams would.
I want to help Cybereason hire the next great VP of People Ops.  Can you help me?  Know someone who could be great at this job?  Refer them here in Drafted. We’re open to looking at people from recruiting, HR, culture and unexpected backgrounds, like general management or marketing or sales. Don't know anyone? Share the article and spread the word.
Mike Volpe

Written by Mike Volpe

Mike Volpe is a startup advisor and angel investor based in Boston.

Topics: B2B, Saas, startup

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