An Introductory Guide to Project Management for HR

HR professionals are leading the workplace revolution. Smarter hiring, workplace culture initiatives, and day-to-day operational excellence are all priorities in the industry, meaning that project management for HR has never been more important. In fact, HR professionals are increasingly adopting project management tools to improve their processes and workflows. 

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of project management for HR professionals and why HR project management is vital for departmental success.

Why should companies use project management for HR professionals?

While HR professionals may not be used to planning and managing formal projects, many of the activities they complete are, in fact, projects. 

For instance, attracting new talent, launching and executing training and development programs, completing annual performance and salary reviews are all projects that HR teams need to complete. Further examples of these projects are:

  • Intern recruitment programs 
  • Planning of retreats and kick-offs 
  • Executing team bonding events 
  • Training and development programs
  • Workplace operations management
  • Optimizing virtual onboarding for dispersed teams

Using formal project management processes, procedures, and tools can help lower risk and increase success on all of these long-term HR activities.

HR professionals are also becoming more and more involved in organization-wide projects. Many strategic projects involve multiple departments and interdisciplinary teams. An HR employee may be asked to be a part of any internal project that could impact the way employees work or affect corporate culture.  

They can also be recruited to help staff a project team, coach team members, assist with communications, or create training plans and programs. For instance, if the IT team is developing new software for the company to use, HR may be asked to help build the training plan for user adoption.  

As HR professionals are increasingly expected to work on and manage projects, they must have the right PM tools, skills, and knowledge to ensure success. 

Benefits of planning human resources in project management

The role of HR in project management is a significant one. It’s one of the 10 major project management process areas in the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). So, planning human resources and project management naturally go hand in hand. 

The activities under the Project Human Resource Management process include estimating, planning, and acquiring necessary project resources, as well as managing and developing the project team. 

Some of the outcomes of this process include: 

  • A resource management plan
  • A resource breakdown structure (outlining who does what and who reports to whom)
  • A staffing plan including calendar or time table for when people are needed
  • Team performance assessments tools such as surveys and ability tests

As you can see, these activities and outcomes can be beneficial for planning and managing any team, including your Human Resource department. But, project management processes can also help HR professionals execute many of their expected tasks and activities by providing more structure. 

Using project tools and processes enables your team to leverage a centralized, standardized database for their key activities. Plus, templates (like an employee onboarding template) and important information (such as job descriptions and interview guides) can all be stored somewhere that is easily accessible by the whole team. 

Some of the benefits of project management for HR include:

  • Creating a standardized, recorded hiring process
  • Establishing productivity and performance measures for the team
  • Organizing, documenting and storing information on employees and potential hires
  • Tracking hiring costs against budgets and forecasts
  • Tying the costs of Human Resource efforts (such as recruiting) to actual business outcomes

Why project human resource management matters

Project management for HR professionals can help your Human Resource team increase their efficiency and overall productivity both with one-off projects and ongoing HR tasks such as annual performance reviews. 

Project management can help HR professionals in the following ways:

Enable you to plan out your team projects in a calendar or Gantt chart to ensure staff aren't overallocated.

Empower you to quickly update leadership on how your team is progressing with work. This can help you gain executive insight and buy-in regarding team priorities when there are conflicts or limited resources.

Allow you to achieve overall visibility into your teams’ commitments to identify and resolve potential timing conflicts. (Such as if you have a big recruitment fair planned at the same time as you’re expected to onboard a new wave of employees. Or if you have one employee committed full-time to two separate projects.)

Help you more successfully plan for quarterly and annual goals and activities using project planning methods and frameworks (such as Agile). 

Enable you to improve communications with other departments and staff through tools such as project reports, dashboards, and status meetings. Having clear project milestones can also improve communications, enhance visibility, and increase stakeholders’ confidence in your team. 

Allow you to visualize the recruitment process (using a tool like a Kanban board) to understand where potential recruits are in the process and if positions are expected to be filled when needed. 

Empower you to use time management and tracking tools to know how productive your team is. This can help you better forecast how long future tasks will take. It can also highlight discrepancies between employees and identify employees who are over or underperforming. 

Allow you to improve team and stakeholder collaboration to speed up team activities and cut down on the potential for miscommunication. For instance, a proofing and approval tool can be used to review and comment on potential applicants’ resumes, so you don’t have to email documents back and forth to department managers. 

As you can see, project management for HR can help your team complete many of their critical activities faster and more efficiently than ever.

Wrike project management software offers all of the valuable tools mentioned above, including Gantt charts, proofing and approval tools, collaboration software, time tracking, and more. Sign-up for a free trial to see how Wrike can empower your HR team today.

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