What is People Operations?

What is People Operations? Kinney Group has rebranded traditional Human Resources (HR) functions in the tradition of Google and many leading technology companies to People Operations. On the surface, it’s just a name change. In practice, the real change is seen in our approach to work every day and how we support our talented colleagues and exceed the organizational goals of the company.

Traditional HR is known as the place you go for help – the confidential door to which you can bring your complaints. HR is the team that ensures there’s a company picnic and a 401k plan. Need a new hire or a pink slip? Stop by HR. Don’t forget they can help you with on-boarding, compensation, internal communication, benefits, recruiting, performance management, training, discipline, career development, engagement, policy, and organizational design.

Almost every organization has an HR department. Whether it’s a one-person show or a team of professionals, there are teams of all types, sizes, capabilities, and experience levels. There is nothing wrong with traditional HR for many teams. Organizations need someone or a team of people to execute on all of the above categories and tasks. However, forward-leaning organizations need talented professionals who can prioritize all of those tasks and ensure the most important strategies and tactics are tackled effectively and efficiently. We partner with the business to solve problems and drive solutions which impact the day to day for our colleagues.


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Personally, I’ve worked in various sized HR teams with differing structures. Some were generalist in nature and others had centers of excellence within the HR disciplines. As I’ve worked to scale the team at Kinney Group and meet the needs of our rapidly changing business, I’ve needed to reprioritize our focus areas and ensure we are best prepared to meet the challenges of the present and the future. That’s what scaling is all about – being ready for the unknown while preparing for a more predictable path and leveraging the strengths within the team.

People Operations (we call it ‘Pops’) is best defined as providing colleagues and leaders all the tools and resources necessary to be most successful. Rather than being the employment police, we are coaches, business partners, and guidance counselors. Coaches help guide colleagues and managers to solutions that work within the business. We provide guardrails, counsel, and tools for colleagues to solve their own problems and feel empowered to make decisions within the confines of our values, goals, and financial structure.

We are also doers. Operating our People functions is our top priority – this includes talent acquisition, on-boarding, career development and training, performance management, culture, engagement, and organizational communication.

Working with First Person’s Simply People product, we are excited to outsource our benefits functions and free up administrative time. Our current team of three People Ops professionals spends a significant amount of time on activities that help provide care for our colleagues but do not strategically move the business toward our goals. Now, we can focus on the current initiatives which will drive success for Kinney Group. Additionally, our colleagues will gain expertise on demand to help address their questions and make informed benefits decisions.

One of our core values is Innovative and our People Operations’ team is diving in and redesigning our function to be efficient, effective, and focused on business results. You can reach us at pops@kinneygroup.com to learn more about our team or apply for a current or future career with Kinney Group.

Check out our Careers page and current job openings here.

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