Project management skills are a broad group of abilities and competencies that are used across industries to plan, carry out and oversee the completion of projects. These skills are sought-after, highly transferable and are often necessary for operational and organizational success.
Whether you are an HR professional who has contemplated a project management designation, or you have solid PM experience from elsewhere in your career history, below are some of the reasons why project management skills are important for recruitment and HR success.
Cost Management and Budgeting
Project managers are in charge of, among many other things, cost project management. Associated duties include monitoring spending, estimating total costs, planning the project’s budget, and conducting constant risk management. The goal throughout the cost management process is to keep the project on budget and to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to increase profitability.
These are all things HR professionals, and particularly managers, do on a daily basis. Acquiring these skills can either be done independently or as part of a strategic project management education. Studying for the rigorous PMP exam requires a significant amount of planning and dedication, so make sure you understand how you are going to approach it before making the investment.
The Evolving Nature of HR
Human Resources in the 2020s requires HR professionals to possess new skills and competencies for managing an organization’s people. People analytics, an understanding of big data, AI and how HR factors into the broader digitization process, strategic workforce planning, stakeholder management and design thinking have all become part of the HR professional’s responsibilities.
As companies rely more on their HR departments for strategic planning and the assessment and deployment of human capital, HR professionals will need to leverage skills that are instilled and developed in project management education and roles. These include the ability to understand broad organizational needs with respect to personnel and human capital and strategic thinking about budgetary constraints and how to make the best use of available human capital, and the ability to engage and collaborate with different organizational and community stakeholders.
Ability to Communicate and Work Intra-Organizationally
The ability to work intra-organizationally is, perhaps, the most important of the aforementioned modern project management skills. Project managers must utilize individuals and resources from throughout the organization to execute projects and specific workflows, which requires not only an ability to make connections and network across the organization, but to understand how different departments and roles fit into the overall organizational structure, what they bring to the table with respect to a given project, and how to communicate, interact with and engage such people.
Effective and accurate communication between departments builds trust within an organization and gives people the confidence to share and collaborate. As HR continues to play an increasingly important role as experts in the assessment and deployment of human capital, this ability to make connections and forge relationships throughout an organization will be vital. These are the kinds of soft skills that project managers rely upon when planning and executing projects and they serve HR professionals and managers equally well when communicating and relating HR projects and needs organization-wide.
Time management capabilities are another prerequisite for successful project management that are broadly transferable and help HR professionals attend to the many daily tasks associated with modern human resources. These include arranging interviews, coordinating and looking after hiring processes, onboarding new employees, offboarding employees who are retiring or have left a position, and distributing, collecting and filing paperwork concerning things such as benefits, employee tax information, and other internal communication.
HR often requires a high degree of problem-solving. Many HR tasks require human resources professionals to act as investigators or detectives, asking questions, gathering evidence and information, and reading and interpreting various labour legislation and laws in an effort to square them with organizational practices, values and activities. Problem-solving is a core project management skill and something that creative HR professionals excel at.
The modern workplace is one that is constantly being transformed, both by globalization and digitization. All operational units must be agile enough to respond to these changes and constantly prepare themselves for them. HR is no different. Adaptability is a key component of project management because objectives, constraints and developments can and often do change one or more times throughout the life of a project. Being able to respond and, when possible, preempt and adapt to changes and disruptions is a core project management capability with a high degree of HR transferability.
Project management skills are not constrained to any one industry or business unit. They comprise a suite of versatile and useful core competencies gained either through formal education or experience and can be leveraged for success in any organizational division, including, but not limited to HR.