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Vice President (VP) of People

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5 min read

What Are the Responsibilities of a VP of People?

VPs of People help manage the people who work at a company. A VP of People may be in charge of the Human Resources department themselves, or they may assist a Chief People Officer (CPO). Regardless, the responsibilities of a VP of People will include:

  • Finding potential employees
  • Recruiting promising candidates
  • Onboarding fresh hires
  • Managing employee development
  • Resolving any conflict in the workplace
  • Evaluating employee performance
  • Establishing and guiding a healthy company culture
  • Creating standard processes and policies for employees

In short, the VP of People will oversee the end-to-end employee experience at their company. They may also be known by other job titles, such as VP of Human Resources, Head of People, or Director of Human Resources.

VPs of People will typically report to a CPO, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Legal Officer (CLO), or directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

What Skills Does a VP of People Need?

Because a VP of People is responsible for the personnel at a company, they must have strong supervisory and leadership skills. Beyond this, there are other talents and qualities that are essential to the VP of People skillset.

Communication Skills

A VP of People will spend a lot of their time communicating with other people. This includes the recruiting stage as well as onboarding and general employee management. They will also often serve as an intermediary between the leadership team and the rest of the company. As a result, a VP of People needs to have excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Conflict Resolution

A VP of People must maintain a company culture that promotes efficiency and peace. If any conflict arises between coworkers, the VP of People must be ready to identify the problem and determine the best response. This requires an aptitude for conflict resolution.

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Talent Scouting

The VP of People must address any talent gaps, launch hiring initiatives, and find the best candidates for the job. Then, they will need to oversee the hiring and onboarding process. And in order to attract top talent, they will need to establish a company culture that qualified professionals will want to join.

Performance Evaluation

A VP of People will have to keep tabs on employees to ensure that the company’s standards are being met. If deadlines are missed, complaints are filed, or other problems arise, the VP of People must intervene, often with disciplinary action. On the other hand, when an individual or team performs well, the VP of People should show recognition and incentivize further success.

Tech Skills

The VP of People is typically in charge of financial compensation for employees. This includes wages and salaries as well as benefits. Because of this, they will need to be familiar with the financial software and systems the company uses. Tech proficiency may also be necessary for conducting performance evaluations.

Business Savviness

VPs of People must develop and implement policies and procedures that align with the business goals of the company. This means that they must possess considerable business expertise along with their interpersonal skills.

Legal Knowledge

The VP of People will need to ensure that all policies and standards at the company are in line with employee-related laws and regulations. They may do this in collaboration with a legal team, but it will still be important for them to have a thorough understanding of the law.

What Education Does a VP of People Need?

Virtually any company looking for a VP of People will expect candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most will prefer applicants with a master’s degree. This is a senior executive position, after all.

Relevant fields of study may include:

  • Human Resources
  • Business Management
  • Business Administration
  • Finance
  • Labor Relations

Beyond university education, you may want to pursue certification through specialized training programs. This could include:

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
  • Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

While not mandatory, many companies will prioritize an applicant with these credentials.

What Is the Career Path of a VP of People?

The first step to becoming a VP of People is acquiring the right education. This will doubtless mean at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree will increase your chances of landing a job significantly.

Then, you’ll need to build up your experience. Most companies will require candidates to have 10 or more years of human resources experience, with at least five of those years spent in a leadership position. For example, many VPs of People will work as a Human Resources Manager or Human Resources Coordinator before becoming a VP.

Above all, you’ll need to have demonstrated the abilities needed to perform the duties of a VP of People. That means a proven track record of leadership, talent management, and business skills. You’ll also want to develop a working knowledge of employee-related law.

If you’re interested in becoming a VP of People, one of the best ways to determine the best career path is by using a public organizational chart. This will help you see where you stand and how you could progress toward your long-term goals.

Click here to add yourself to your company’s org chart.

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