Operations Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

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Last updated: August 22, 2022

An Operations Manager, or Operations Supervisor, oversees a company’s organizational processes and adds improvements to it. Their main duties include assisting the human resources team in the recruiting and hiring process, implementing policies and strategies to improve productivity and efficiency levels and building an enjoyable company culture.

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Operations Manager Duties and Responsibilities

An Operations Manager is responsible for keeping track of the big picture and identifying potential areas of improvement. The average Operations Manager’s responsibilities include:

  • Long-term planning to create initiatives that further the company’s overall goals
  • Coordinating different teams to foster exchange of ideas and provide cross-team learning opportunities 
  • Assessing and analyzing departmental budgets to find ways to minimize expenses and optimize profits
  • Inspiring and motivating employees to perform at their best through positive encouragement and incentive initiatives
  • Communicating with the board or other senior officials about shifting company priorities and projects
  • Identifying potential problems and points of friction and working to find solutions in order to maximize efficiency and revenue
  • Identifying opportunities to expand or shift course in order to take advantage of changes in the market

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What Does an Operations Manager Do?

Operations Managers serve on a company’s leadership team to oversee the performance, efficiencies and satisfaction of employees. They work to analyze the company’s organizational process and will find ways to enhance employees’ work quality and productivity. Operations Managers will typically build operational policies and strategies that keep the organization functioning smoothly. 

Many of them will collaborate closely with Human Resources Managers to establish recruiting, training and hiring strategies that help them locate and bring on quality candidates. They’ll also oversee various company financial processes, like auditing, reporting and budgeting to ensure the company stays in great financial standing.

Operations Manager Skills and Qualifications

Operations Manager is a leadership position with many responsibilities. It is therefore important to have a diverse skill set, including:

  • “Big picture” thinking, which is key to addressing top-level concerns and finding the best path forward from all of the available data
  • Interpersonal skills – an Operations Manager must communicate with both executives and staff employees in order to create and administer policy
  • A thorough understanding of financial and budgeting processes and principles, which allows the Operations Manager to assess the company’s earnings and spending to find areas for improvement
  • Strong personal and professional judgment, which are invaluable skills for a role that makes hiring decisions as well as in finding the best solution to organizational dilemmas
  • Adaptability, enabling the Operations Manager to respond quickly to a shifting reality and adjust initiatives and priorities accordingly
  • Organizational skills and the flexibility to jump from priority to priority, which are essential to a role that juggles a variety of functions and projects

Operations Manager Salary Expectations

An Operations Manager position is traditionally a full-time salaried position with an average salary of $61,826 per year. Operations Managers also often receive significant additional compensation in the form of cash bonuses and profit-sharing incentives.

Operations Manager Education and Training Requirements

An Operations Manager must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, ideally in operations management, business or a related field. Certifications can also be helpful as they demonstrate formal education and knowledge in the areas certified as well as investment in professional development.

A company may require management-level employees to participate in management training programs, either created by the organization itself or in a general managerial program. This training teaches supplementary tools for managing staff and optimizing the workplace.

Operations Manager Experience Requirements

The Operations Manager serves in a senior position and, as such, they are expected to have significant prior experience when applying for the position. While a small company may be seeking a minimum of 3 – 5 years of experience, larger companies may require a decade or more. Directly applicable experience is encouraged but it is not a requirement, and many Operations Managers will switch fields in pursuit of career advancement if needed.

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Frequently asked questions about Operations Managers


Who reports to an Operations Manager?

The people who report to an Operations Manager typically vary across organizations depending on their sizes and industries. Larger companies will usually hire several Operations employees to keep the organizations running smoothly and efficiently. This includes positions like Operations Coordinators, Operations Assistants and Operations Analysts. These team members will analyze the organization and locate any areas that need improvement. They’ll report this to the Operations Manager, who will provide instructions for policies or programs to implement accordingly. 

Department heads also typically report to the Operations Manager for company updates from the leadership team. Operations Managers may also provide department heads with feedback on their job performances. 


Who does an Operations Manager report to?

Operations Managers usually report to the leadership and executive teams. If they work in a larger company, they’ll often report to the Chief Operating Officer. Some smaller companies don’t have Chief Operating Officers, so the Operations Managers may complete their own work tasks as well as the job duties that Chief Operating Officers usually finish. 

They’ll also report to the senior stakeholders and board of directors and will present on reports of the company’s organizational progress. From there, the stakeholder and board of directors will provide their feedback, which the Operations Manager will use to build goals and strategies to strengthen the company’s performance.


What's the difference between an Operations Manager and a General Manager?

Though General Managers and Operations Managers typically share many similarities, there are still some key differences between the two roles when it comes to their duties and responsibilities. General Managers are usually in charge of one specific area of an organization. They may oversee one department or several of them. They oversee the daily operations of these departments and will provide improvements when necessary.

Operations Managers typically work in a more senior-level role, as they oversee the operations of the entire organization, rather than certain departments. They usually work more closely with other executives and shareholders, while the General Manager usually works hands-on with other mid-level Managers.


What makes a good Operations Manager?

A strong Operations Manager should have great leadership skills to inspire, motivate and guide their employees to submit valuable work and stay productive. They should also have extensive knowledge and experience working in business to understand how it functions in order to provide accurate and effective operations policies. 

Operations Managers must also have advanced experience in handling finances and building budgets. Strong communication and interpersonal abilities are also needed in an ideal candidate, as they must be able to collaborate with and listen to the needs of employees and department heads to develop strategies that benefit each team.

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