What Does an Operations Manager Do?

Colin Duff

Colin Duff | December 6, 2019

"Operations" can be a challenging word to define. We all know how things operate and work, but what does it mean when it's applied to an organization?

Operations managers oversee the processes and practices of an organization or company. But, what parts of the company do they work with? And what skills are required to become one? Don't worry. We've got the answers right here.

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What Is an Operations Manager?

An operations manager oversees the people and processes of an organization. This can include human resource details, such as hiring and attracting talent. They often manage team organization, organizational processes, and team productivity and efficiency.

Think of them as the engineers of your organization. They're constantly analyzing how things are working and how to improve efficiency by making changes as needed. If one area of the system isn't working, they add fixes to get it up and running again.

Their job is essential for companies because it keeps them lean and effective. Growing a company is important, but it starts to become harder and harder with the more employees and functions that are brought on. If things grow too quickly, costs rise and output falls. The operations manager keeps this in check while making sure the business improves.


Operations Manager Salary

According to  Glassdoor, the salary for an operations manager is around $86,079 per year. Operations managers are useful in every organization, so you'll find them in corporate and government worlds. Government positions often pay lower than average, so some operations managers might make below this amount.

This salary can increase with previous management or operations experience. Skills in managing people or iterating corporate process improvements also can increase salary. According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying states for an operations manager are New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. So if you live there, this could be the next great job for you.

Responsibilities often include hiring and training new employees, as well as auditing employee performance. Operations managers create reward incentives, ideal team setups, and management structure best practices. They also oversee database management and troubleshooting to ensure all business areas are using correct information. Operations managers need to be familiar with people management systems and be able to apply quantitative data to solve problems in a creative way.


Operations Manager Skills

Operations managers have a wide range of skills that help them excel in their position. The role requires good analytical as well as creative skills. They must use data to determine what areas or processes of the business are inefficient. From there, they'll use creative solutions to make meaningful changes with measurable improvement. This requires a balance of left and right brain skills.

Leadership and people management skills are also essential for the position. Instituting change can be difficult, so it takes someone with great leadership and management abilities to work with team members to get them bought in. Change can be threatening to employees, so explaining the purpose of changes in a clear way is essential. They should also take steps to address these employee concerns. If you feel like you could brush up on these leadership skills, we've got you covered.

They must also be able to understand and plan for the long-term health of the business. Short term changes can be impactful, but looking down the road and anticipating future needs is essential. The best companies last because they anticipate change and prepare themselves for it. Changing parts of the business to better position it for the long term is a skill that will keep an operations manager in the company for a long time.

Lastly, an operations manager should have compassion. It's entirely possible to make as many changes as possible so that the organization works with the bare minimum required for the largest possible gain. However, that won't keep employees happy or succesful. The best operations manager can balance the needs and happiness of employees with the leanest and most effective operation. Having empathy and working with employees to keep them happy will keep those at the company bought into change and excited to be in their roles.


Operations Manager Qualifications

Operations managers should have a bachelor's degree in business management or people management. Industrial engineering is also applicable. The position requires a knowledge of business and organizational related terms, so experience in these industries is essential. They should have experience managing people and organizational structures, with some budgeting and data analysis skills as well.

An operations manager is an essential part of today's great companies. With the right balance of skills and work experience, you can be the one making a change to push your company forward. Next up, a list of great tools to support your remote workers.

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