3 Things HRs Can Learn From Project Managers

28th October 2020

Life as an HR representative is not cut out for everyone. The job involves a lot of responsibility. After all, you’re working with a company’s most valuable resource – its employees.

Furthermore, you are constantly juggling between routine tasks and tasks that require a lot of empathy and human connection. In addition, as the new employee leans more towards remote work, HR professionals need to figure out motivation and collaboration at a distance.

Still, it’s important to know you’re not alone in this scenario and there are ways to acquire new skills on the go. For instance, there is a lot to learn from the project managers in your organization.

They too are under a lot of pressure to manage human interaction on a daily basis, so let’s take a look at their top three skills that may also work in the world of HR. 

#1: Small Steps are Easier than a Leap

In today’s day and age, it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of work and sheer magnitude of projects. Which is why all PMs learn early on to divide big projects into small tasks that are easier to manage and look a lot less scary.

However, for this to work, the manager also has to make sure every team member knows what tasks are his/her responsibility, the resources required, and what it needs to get done for the project to be successful. This is what professionals call task management, and it’s a skill that everyone should learn. In fact, all PMP courses are built around the idea of task management and how to adapt the concept to fit one’s team (nothing is set in stone!).

Proper task management allows you to see the big picture, with all its moving parts working together as a whole. It also allows managers to delegate tasks in order to improve productivity and keep everyone’s morale as high as possible.

 As an HR person, you will also find yourself in shoes that seem too big to be filled by a normal human being. So, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, if you break each task into smaller ones, things will seem easier and clearer. Plus, you won’t feel as much stress and pressure!

Quick note: most PMs use specialized task manager software to keep track of everything and get notifications when a task or team member is behind schedule. The same type of software could be of use in the world of HR, especially when you’re dealing with multiple projects.

#2: Accept Defeat as a Stepping Stone

Sometimes, no matter how well you plan or how prepared the team is, things won’t go as planned. It happens and in most cases, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it.

Project managers know that today’s defeat can be turned into tomorrow’s motivation so they don’t wallow too much in it. They analyze the situation, identify the elements that didn’t work, draw conclusions, learn the lesson, and move on.

This may not be as straightforward for other professionals. In addition, since the HR department deals with sensitive data and information on employees and managers, the level of failure can be quite different. However, the lesson stays the same – do your best and learn from the experience.

#3: Getting Up and Personal with New Technologies

Nowadays, new technologies are everywhere. So, whether they like it or not, project managers must interact with the latest tech, learn from it, and convey the results back to their teams. Even more, in some areas, managers lead projects that create new technologies, which puts them right in the front lines.

So, there’s no way around it. When you’re the leader of a team, you have to be prepared to assimilate the new tech that’s right around the corner.

While this didn’t use to be the case in HR, there are significant changes here as well. For instance, companies use Machine Learning software to take care of the routine parts of onboarding (like finding the right candidates, filtering them according to criteria, and so on). This type of software frees up time and resources for the HR department, but they first need to learn how to interact with it.

Wrap Up

In short, both HRs and PMs live quite a tumultuous life! Both positions are stressful and filled with responsibilities, which is why it’s important to keep an open mind and learn from each other.