What is a People Operations Consultant?

Elevate Your Company Culture: The Strategic Role of People Operations Consultants
7 min read | by Kaleem Clarkson
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When it comes to your business, your employees are one of your most valuable assets. They execute your vision, interact with your customers, support your goals, and inevitably determine your success or failure. So, it’s no surprise that you should be invested in your employees’ happiness.

That’s where People Operations comes in. People ops is all about creating an environment where your employees feel supported and valued, which is especially important for remote and hybrid companies. While many businesses have a full-time people operations manager on staff, a people operations consultant can provide the same level of people-centric expertise for startups and small businesses on a part-time basis.

So, what does a people operations consultant do? This article will explain the role of a people operations consultant, the benefits of hiring one, and the signs that indicate it’s time to bring one on board.

The Role of a People Ops Consultant

There’s a reason this role has the word people in it. Everything a people ops consultant does impacts the employee experience. From onboarding, training and development, performance management, and social connection, people ops consultants focus on the people who are at the center of your business.

You may be wondering, “What is the difference between HR and people operations?” It’s a common question. The term people ops is often interchangeable with human resources, but there are some nuances worth noting. 

Human Resources traditionally manages employees on an administrative and transactional level. Their responsibilities center around personnel matters, including compliance, payroll, legal issues, and systems. 

People ops consultants are focused on a more holistic strategy than HR. It revolves around shaping a culture that creates a solid foundation for employee satisfaction and success. In many ways, people ops is proactive, whereas HR has been historically reactive.

What Does a People Operations Specialist Do?

As an integral part of the employee experience, a people ops specialist facilitates and improves the human side of people management. Here are some key responsibilities of a people operations consultant:

Attracting Talent

Companies looking to hire high-performing talent may need to do more than post a job opening. A people ops consultant utilizes strategies such as industry networking and referrals to identify top candidates and create a desirable talent pool. In addition, they focus on brand building and showcasing your values to attract candidates who are a good cultural fit. 

Hiring Employees

An employee’s first interaction with their new employer likely will be during the hiring process, so one of the consultant’s primary roles will be to ensure a positive experience. A seasoned people operation consultant will have an effective strategy for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring top talent. 

Employee Onboarding

Onboarding involves setting new employees up for success on day one and beyond. It’s a considerable effort to get systems in place, build relationships, and set clear expectations—and onboarding new employees in a remote work environment has its own challenges. That’s why it’s critical to work with a people operations consultant who understands how to best onboard employees in a virtual setting.

Performance Management

Setting goals and creating opportunities for employees is one way to foster an environment where people feel fulfilled and challenged. Performance management is a tool that people ops consultants use to help evaluate an individual’s work and opportunity for growth so they can help employees reach their full potential. 

Culture Development

Values, behaviors, standards, and attitudes are all part of a company’s culture. A key role of the people operations consultant is to help create, nurture, and uphold an inclusive environment where employees are engaged and excited about their jobs. Company culture matters to employees because it cultivates a sense of belonging. In a remote work environment, this social connection is more important than ever. 

Training and Development

Want to know why people quit their jobs? According to the Work Institute, lack of career development is the number one reason. That’s why people ops consultants make training and development a high priority. Employees who are constantly learning and growing are more motivated, focused, and productive—which, in turn, helps businesses succeed. 


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The Benefits of a People Operations Consultant

Hiring a people ops consultant takes your employee experience to the next level. In addition to shaping and elevating company culture, people ops can set up your business for success in other ways, including: 

Access to expertise and best practices.

People operations consultants are experienced strategic leaders who can bring immense value to an organization by maximizing the employee journey from onboarding to offboarding. This is especially important for remote companies that need the expertise of a seasoned consultant to advise on best practices. 

Customized solutions tailored to specific needs.

Hiring a people operations consultant lets you focus on what matters most for your business. If you’re a fast-growing startup, you may benefit from a consultant’s particular expertise in hiring and onboarding. A people operations consultant offers you the flexibility to tackle your most pressing needs. 

Scalability and adaptability to growth.

If your business has a growing list of workforce needs, a people ops consultant can support your endeavors more effectively with a holistic approach. This expert is a partner who evolves alongside your business, solving problems and adapting to change.

Enhancing your brand and attracting top talent.

Let’s face it, employees talk. If your company’s culture is thriving, your employees will share their happy experiences. Positive reviews will boost your brand’s reputation and give you a competitive advantage, which can help you attract top-tier job candidates.

Cost-effectiveness for small businesses and startups.

When you hire a people operation consultant, you get the experience of a full-time professional without paying a high salary with benefits. This cost-saving alternative may be a wiser investment for startups and small businesses on a tight budget. 


Do You Need a People Operations Consultant?

There are many reasons to hire a people operations consultant, but how do you know when you need one? Here are 10 signs that it’s time to bring in an expert: 


  1. Your recruitment and hiring process is slow.
  2. You are struggling to hire the talent you need.
  3. You have no formal onboarding process.
  4. Your systems and employee handbooks are outdated.
  5. Your employee files are disorganized (or non-existent).
  6. You don’t have a formal employee performance process.
  7. Your employees have been stuck in the same roles for years.
  8. Your employees are not fully engaged and motivated.
  9. You have a high employee turnover rate and problem. 
  10. Your business is evolving into a remote work environment.


Acknowledging that it’s time to hire a people operations consultant is the first step to building a workplace culture that can help you achieve your business goals. 


At Blend Me, we provide remote people operations solutions that can maximize your workforce, solve business problems, and promote growth. Let’s get started today!


Originally Published by Kaleem Clarkson on Saturday, May 4, 2024 | Updated on Monday, May 6, 2024

We would like to thank Susan Hamilton for her contributions to this article.

People Operations
, The Remote Employee Experience
, Leadership
, Project-based Consulting
, Human Resources Today
, Remote Work Consulting and Training
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