What Does an HR Operations Specialist Do?

An HR operations specialist deals with a specialized area within the operations and administration of the human resources department. Their area of focus is strategic development, departmental efficiency, or employee management. The HR operations specialist works directly under the supervision of HR seniors like an HR operations manager.

Enterprises especially look for this role so their human resources department can handle more complex workloads in an effective way. After all, the HR operations specialist plays a significant role in the smooth and productive running of the department. Therefore, becoming an HR operations specialist requires substantial prior professional experience.

Since the human resources field is very broad and organizations become more complex, HR roles are becoming multi-dimensional. Therefore, you need to understand a role to explore its job landscape before you apply to it. The same applies to the HR operations specialist role. You must explore the duties it involves and where it falls within the HR operations field.

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This article provides details on the human resources operations specialist’s role and responsibilities. It also discusses some frequently asked questions about the HR operations specialist position. Moreover, the information provides you with a sense of the role’s skill set and how you can train yourself for it.

What is an HR Operations Specialist?

An HR operations specialist focuses on the administration of the HR department and its everyday workings. While they deal with other HR functions as well, their role focuses more on major departmental processes. Therefore, their aims slightly vary from other traditional human resources roles.

The human resources operations specialist contributes to improving the departmental pipelines and looks into how effectively the human resources department performs its work. They also represent HR operations during scenarios like strategic planning. A human resources operations specialist handles employee queries about payroll and tax information or onboarding procedures.

HR operations goals

Since an HR operations specialist involves managing a diverse range of HR-related tasks along with departmental administrative work, organizations look for an individual with solid multitasking abilities. Individuals looking to apply to the role must possess strong attention to detail and superior documentation skills. An HR operations specialist also carries the right set of interpersonal skills to collaborate with their peers.

The HR operations specialists specialize in these aspects of the HR department:

  • Overseeing salaries and benefits of HR professionals
  • Formulating and implementing policies on departmental workflow
  • Ensuring the recruitment of competent individuals throughout the organization
  • Improving inter-departmental and interdepartmental employee relations
  • Assuring that the HR department follows best practices and has satisfactory outcomes

The operations listed above are crucial for the human resources department to ensure that the organization is sustainable and has a satisfied workforce. Therefore, the human resources operations specialist is a vital role since they handle responsibilities associated with critical HR functions and therefore have impressive salary ranges.

HR Specialist vs. HR Operations Specialist

As their names suggest, both roles have significant overlap in terms of responsibilities. For example, an HR operations specialist handles primary HR functions and specializes in a particular aspect of human resources, just like an HR specialist. However, they also look into departmental processes and contribute to handling the administrative workload, unlike a regular HR specialist.Difference between HR Operations and People Operations

Whether you want to become an HR operations specialist or a traditional HR specialist, you need the proper knowledge and skills. While there are many ways of acquiring these crucial prerequisites, look into the industry-standard advanced HR courses at HR University.

Human Resources Certifications

Human Resources Operations Specialist Responsibilities

For the human resources operation specialist role, duties involve many traditional HR tasks. However, the role also involves focusing on the human department’s effectiveness and implementation of its policies.

The responsibilities of an HR operations specialist can differ from organization to organization. The general primary responsibilities are explained in detail below.

1. Represent HR Operations Across the Organization

Involving the human resources operations team during an organization’s strategic planning is common across industries. They formulate how the HR department should implement policies or procedural changes. Therefore, the HR operations specialist represents the team across any strategic development meetings. They contribute the team’s perspective to the plans for better execution planning.

HR operations tasks

The HR operations specialist communicates all the strategic plans with the complete HR operations team. They act as a communication bridge between the team and the organization. Therefore, an HR operations specialist needs solid communication and proficiency in fundamental human resources operations.

2. Develop Efficient HR Operations Workflows and Practices

An HR operations specialist manages how the department carries out its task and where it can improve. They gather essential productivity data and analyze it. Then, they transform their analyses into actionable strategies that help the human resources department function in an optimal way. They also weed out any inefficient practices and strategically phase them out.

The HR operations specialist helps ensure that the HR department maximizes its productivity. This directly affects the organization and its success as an employer. The whole HR operations team monitors the department’s operations and administrative procedures and works on how they can improve them further.

The HR operations specialist is a data-driven role with the skills to use the right analytical tools. As the role involves strategic planning, any suggestions to improve a department’s workflow require backing it with appropriate data analysis.

3. Ensure Legal And Regulatory Compliance

The HR department ensures that the organization complies with all relevant legal and regulatory procedures. Therefore, the HR operations specialist closely studies all critical legal compliance records and policies so the operations team creates complying strategies. The HR operations specialist knows all compliance processes and ensures that the organization is always at minimum legal risk.

HR Operations Specialist Skills

Moreover, the HR operations specialist overlooks any employee grievances or disciplinary actions that the human resources department takes to ensure the process follows legal standards. They oversee all legal people activities that the department performs to save the organization from getting into potential legal trouble.

4. Support and Implement Important HR Operations Processes

An HR operations specialist ensures the organization’s effectiveness as an employer. Therefore, they handle essential HR functions, such as:

  • Maintaining and updating employee records
  • Overlooking HR transactions, such as hiring, onboarding, offboarding, promotions, and reclassification
  • Conducting exit interviews and using feedback to improve departmental procedures
  • Working with the payroll and benefits team to effectively administer compensation and incentives
  • Researching salary ranges for positions throughout the organization to ensure the competitiveness of packages
  • Offering support to employee relations and best management practices

An HR operations specialist supervises the implementation of these fundamental HR functions. However, they also look for any inadequacies and suggest improvement plans where needed.


The HR operations specialist role includes looking after fundamental HR operations. However, they also look into the human resources department’s procedures to check if they are optimal or not. Their responsibilities look similar to a regular HR specialist at first glance, but in fact, involve more administrative work.

An HR operations specialist role demands significant professional experience within the HR administrative capacity. It also requires strong managerial and communication skills, along with strategic planning abilities. By ensuring such prerequisites, you can become a competent HR operations specialist.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the HR operations specialist role.

How to transition from any HR role to an HR operations specialist role?

Transitioning to any HR operations position requires human resources administration and management knowledge. The traditional HR roles deal with implementing various HR functions, like benefits planning or policy implementation. However, the HR operations specialist role focuses on tasks dedicated to the department’s workflow. Therefore, you need to develop practical interpersonal and leadership skills. You can take courses to train yourself for the position. Moreover, learn about the department’s productivity plans and see which areas matter the most. This way you can switch to an HR operations specialist role by taking the right measures.

What skills help make you a competent HR operations specialist?

For an HR operations specialist role, you must exhibit solid communication and managerial abilities. Become adept at multitasking and computer skills, such as working with Microsoft Office suite and other digital HR tools.  Significant prior professional experience in the HR operations field is crucial to becoming a competent human resources operations specialist. Analytical thinking skills are mandatory for the role since it involves making solid strategies for better departmental efficiency and for overall organizational success.

Does every organization need a human resources operations specialist?

The HR operations specialist plays a crucial role within the HR department since they overlook important aspects of the organization’s productivity and strategy. However, operation specialists do not exist in smaller organizations since the HR team handles all processes and the organization’s workload. In larger organizations with multiple divisions, duties are complex since they involve hundreds of employees. Therefore, such organizations employ more human resources professionals to ensure business continuity. Know that the HR operations team is essential to ensure employee and organization efficiency.

If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR operations specialist role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.