Head of Operations Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Head of Operations, or Operations Manager oversees the operational activities of a business and ensures that the workforce is productive. Their duties include working with other senior staff on strategic planning, ensuring that staff are all aware of operational best practices and implementing new technologies.

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Head of Operations duties and responsibilities

A Head of Operations is responsible for overseeing many different areas of the business, so they tend to have a wide range of duties, including:

  • Managing budgets
  • Recruiting, interviewing and hiring staff
  • Analysing productivity data and optimising staffing and production capacity
  • Using historical records to forecast future buying patterns
  • Maintaining a working knowledge of their industry including challenges and opportunities in the sector
  • Working closely with other heads of departments to improve efficiency
  • Creating and delivering presentations
  • Designing new processes to improve quality or increase productivity or profitability
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What does a Head of Operations do?

The Head of Operations is responsible for creating policies to help achieve strategic goals and coordinate business operations to fulfil customer or client expectations. They ensure compliance with all relevant local and international laws regarding the operational side of the business, such as data management and safety standards. They manage resources to ensure appropriate levels of production, materials and staffing in all divisions. The Head of Operations manages relationships with suppliers, clients, customers and other stakeholders and provides a point of escalation for any customer service issues that arise.

Head of Operations skills and qualifications

Head of Operations is a senior role and candidates typically work their way up from more junior positions. A successful Head of Operations will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that include:

  • Excellent IT skills and knowledge of any industry-specific software or programmes
  • Auditing and monitoring outputs and data analysis
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Leadership and management skills and the ability to motivate and retain staff
  • Commercial awareness and a thorough understanding of the competitive environment
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills
  • Project management skills and knowledge of methodologies such as Agile, Lean and Six Sigma
  • Time management skills and the ability to prioritise effectively and delegate when appropriate

Head of Operations experience requirements

A Head of Operations will typically have significant experience in a similar role with at least five years in a senior or management position with leadership responsibilities. Industry experience can be valuable, and the expertise of interdepartmental working is also an advantage. Experience working with data, analysing figures and producing reports is helpful. Applicants with responsibility for implementing IT systems, upgrading software or researching new technologies will have many of the skills needed for a Head of Operations role.

Head of Operations education and training requirements

A Head of Operations typically has an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as a BA in business or a BSc in computer science. Some companies or industries prefer candidates to have a masters and some industries require subject-specific knowledge or training. Certification from the Institute of Leadership and Management or the Chartered Management Institute demonstrates skills in relevant disciplines. Training in project management or business administration is also an advantage, and Six Sigma or other process management training is also a bonus.

Head of Operations salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Head of Operations in the UK is £57,535 per year. This salary is dependent on the industry, size of the business and the level of responsibility involved.

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Head of Operations Job Description FAQs

What qualities make a good Head of Operations?

A good Head of Operations is flexible, skilled at multi-tasking and able to make quick decisions. They need to be personable and able to maintain a professional demeanour even under pressure because the role involves dealing with a variety of internal and external stakeholders. In some industries, a Head of Operations holds significant responsibility for ensuring rigorous standards are met, so excellent attention to detail and high-quality standards are important.

What are the different types of Head of Operations?

Larger organisations may have many Head of Operations roles with specific functions. These include roles such as Head of Global Operations, dealing with international trade and negotiations or Head of Business Operations who manages the operational side of meeting the company’s goals. Setting-specific jobs include Head of Plant Operations, a role that oversees the daily operations of a plant with responsibility for health and safety and regulatory compliance.

What makes a good Head of Operations job description?

A Head of Operations job description should include details of the level of responsibility involved and the scope of the role. Including information about the company culture and ethos, this will encourage a range of applicants. Give details of any benefits packages or perks available to staff to attract a variety of candidates.

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