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ON · #007

A newsletter for everyone who shares our passion for the wonderful but wily world of startup and scaleup operations. 

❦ Your ON team --
Astrid, Aušrinė and Charlene

DISCOVER Featured Type of Ops: 
People Ops

 Charlene:  I've had the pleasure (and pain) of managing a wide variety of functions during my 7+ years as a startup COO. Some of them were more external-facing (Sales & Marketing, Customer Success, Customer Support), others more internal-facing (HR and Administration, Legal & Compliance, Business Intelligence & Analytics). But my favourite of all by far is People Operations.


As I searched for a way to describe what People Operations (People Ops) is, I stumbled upon Marie Krebs' post "What is People Operations? Part I. Definitions" which sent me on a wonderful meander through some excellent articles on People Ops. Here are some gems that I have lovingly collected for what I hope will be your reading pleasure:
👍 What People Ops is:

Marie writes: "People Operations is responsible for strategically and systemically fostering enabling environment & processes, and equipping people with the knowledge and tools they need to own their journey... Despite the fact that traditional [Human Resources] ties into People Operations, the latter has a broader scope: it involves all actions that empower employees to be both fulfilled and productive across their employee journey."
And what, might you ask, is the employee journey? I absolutely loved Marie's inclusion of this graphic from JooBee Yeow's "How to walk in your employees’ shoes":
Employee lifecycle: a macro experience of the employee journey
🙅 What People Ops is not:

In her article "People Ops as a Product", Jessica Hayes writes: "Really great People Ops [...] is actually done by the people operating that machinery. Machinery which should rarely be turned at the hands of People Ops folk:
  • Managers should own performance and growth conversations
  • Hiring teams should run recruitment exercises
  • Our teams should deliver feedback to each other
  • Individuals should craft their career and learning opportunities
People Operations teams should, however, give all of the people around them at work the ability to do all of these things really, really well, by working with others to create well-designed tools, processes, and operating procedures."
 Charlene:  Personally, I think People Operations has never been more important than during this incredibly challenging year when employees are experiencing so many threats to their physical and mental health. If you already feel unsafe or unfulfilled outside of work, how much more critical for you to feel a sense of psychological safety, belonging, and purpose in your (albeit remote) workplace? Whether you are in a more general operations role or one focused on People Operations, we all need to do our part to create and nurture the kind of employee journeys that we would want for ourselves.

GROW Featured People Ops Resources:

Marie Gyemant has created a treasure trove of People Ops articles, resources and toolkits, neatly organised into 8 categories:
  • People Strategy
  • Project & Change Management
  • People Analytics
  • Compliance
  • Culture
  • Hiring & Onboarding
  • Talent Development & Retention
  • Off-boarding
Some of our favourite reads are:

 Astrid:  Prosci's "Communication Checklist for Achieving Change Management"

 Aušrinė:  The Jungle Gym's newsletter on The Minimum Viable Good Life (Sept 2020), featuring a ton of super interesting articles and a featured essay on designing a future of work that promotes human flourishing.

 Charlene:  First Round Review's "A New Approach to People Ops That Puts Employee Experience First"
The People Stories community has also aggregated a beautiful collection of articles in categories ranging from Learning & Development, Engagement & Retention, Performance & Progression, Values & Culture, Hiring, and Managing a Remote Workforce.

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...YOU :)

If you'd like to partner with Operations Nation, support us, work with us, sponsor us, or get involved in any other way, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line.

CONNECT Featured Ops Community: 
People Ops Society

 Astrid:  When we put together the world's first ever global ops community landscape, we discovered a wide range of communities, including ones focused on People Ops like The People Ops Society, which is run by Perks.
The People Ops Society is a highly vetted community for People Operations professionals to gather, grow, and transform our working world. Like many communities, it is an annual membership model which gives you access to:
  • Community of Peers: "Being able to bounce ideas off other leaders who have either done what you’re trying to do or are thinking about doing it makes you feel like you’re not alone and your peers have your back. POPS helps take the guesswork out of many common People Ops initiatives. Why reinvent the wheel? We all have so much to share and I’ve definitely learned a ton from everyone already!" – Dom Merrit, VP of People at Buildout.
  • HR Templates: Flexible Work Policy, Flexible PTO FAQs, Covid Re-Entry Considerations, Hiring Selection Criteria Form, North American and UK Parental Leave Policy, Layoff/Furlough Communications.
  • Courses: Friends with Benefits, Financial Accounting Course, Leveling, and Understanding through Inclusion.

CELEBRATE Featured Ops Hero: 
Olya Yakzhina

Co-Founder & Podcaster at The Modern Employer, Head of People at Switchee, and Leadership Team Member at People Stories

 Aušrinė:  I've heard many operations people describe themselves as a Swiss army knife and Olya probably isn't stranger to this label when it comes to People Operations.

An experienced people-person, Olya is incredibly invested in delivering excellent employee experience and is always seeking to influence it in progressive and innovative ways.
Olya co-manages the People Stories community of over 200 highly engaged people people, and is also a co-founder of The Modern Employer #wildcards podcast where she explores all things HR and Talent related. Listen to the latest episodes here.

DISCOVER Featured Article: 
COOs Are Startups' Unsung Heroes

By Kelsey Traher, COO at Marvel
& Co-Founder of COO Stories and Mentor Stories

 Aušrinė:  Maybe slightly off-topic considering our People Ops themed newsletter, but...COOs are also people! Having said that, we did love Kelsey's definition of operations leaders as "unsung workhorses behind many startups". Who else can relate?

In her most recent article for Sifted that came out just yesterday (hence we couldn't not have included it here), Kelsey writes about the dynamic between COOs and CEOs, which more often than not resembles a double-edged sword. Whilst only a small fraction of COOs are founders, they're often "expected to take responsibility like a founder — and to solve problems like a founder".

A Co-Founder of one of London's top COO communities COO Stories and a seasoned COO herself, Kelsey has access to fresh and reliable data which shows the current state of the COO-CEO relationship. The main takeaway? 82.8% ops leaders who recently left the company said that the CEO/founder behaviour contributed to their decision to leave:
However, as with any situation, there's always light at the end of the tunnel and what doesn't kill us* makes us stronger, but we all come with our own:
  • Limits (don't push them too far)
  • Solutions (keep reading)
When Kelsey asked the real-world COOs, "what could their last CEO have done that would have empowered you?", instead of shrugging shoulders they have come up with a long list of solutions. To find out more, read the full article here.

* By "us" we obviously mean operations leaders!

Your Ops Voice

Share your favourite operations resource and help other ops professionals out!

 Astrid:  We've found some treasure troves for People Ops resources out there. However, your favourite article, podcast, YouTube video or course may not have been featured in them yet.

Give them a place to shine and add it to our resources page. Email us or click a button below. Feel free to add some notes or your motivation too!

Click here to share your favourite operations resource
Stay tuned as we keep exploring the operations landscape.

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See you next month! :wave:
The team behind Operations Nation:
Astrid Verstraete - Operations Consultant, Co-Founder of Ops Stories, Co-Founder at ON
Aušrinė Keršanskaitė - Head of Operations at Sphere, Co-Founder of Ops Stories, Co-Founder at ON
Charlene Chen - COO at Lantum, Founder of COOhort, Co-Founder at ON
Valentina Salvi - Content & Marketing Associate at ON
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