The HR department has become a real business partner to other functions in the organization. As the role of Human Resources has enhanced and changed from the service center to the business partner, the urgency of the introduction of the HR Project Management dramatically increased. HR has never run cross-functional projects. However, our business environment dramatically changes – Human Resources has to lead and deliver complex projects, that can impact the performance of the business. HR has to introduce a standardized HR Project Management to survive. No project can be a complete disaster.
The key objective of Human Resources is the continuous development of the sustainable competitive advantage. We have to run challenging cross-functional projects if we want to reach our long-term targets. However, we are not great in managing and delivering large projects that impact the entire company. We usually do not develop HR Project Managers who fully understand the full complexity of the HR agenda.
The competitiveness is a challenge. Being the employer of choice does not come at a low price. The organization needs to cultivate its corporate culture, and it has to design HR processes and procedures that make the collaboration easy and straightforward. Human Resources has to enforce the change of the culture, and managers have to adapt to new ways of leading employees.
The project and program management skills and competencies are becoming the core requirements for new HR professionals. They have to be able to act as smart project managers who can manage a complex project that changes the corporate culture. HR projects seem to be soft; they are tough to deliver. Changing people’s minds is a challenging task. It needs much courage to accept such a mission. The demand for brave HR Project Managers will be enormous; you should start developing your ones right now.
We need to start with a clear definition of the HR project. We usually do not see the scope of the activity before we are in troubles. We do not think in steps; we do not think what stakeholders will be impacted by changes. We just make a proposal that gets approved and then we are lost. We just announce delays and obstacles in the delivery of the activity. We need to employ project management skills to manage expectations of our internal business partners.
We have to realize the real scope of change management projects. They usually require much contingency. Most partners need time to swallow and accept changes; HR has to provide guidance. We need to adjust the project management methodology to design the proper HR one. We need our approach how to solve difficult organizational questions.
HR Projects need to start small, and then they can grow big. HR Project Managers need time to learn how to influence other people in the business. Most employees will be resistant to change; they will find many obstacles why the change is not possible right now. They will create a complexity that will slow down the implementation. The HR Project Manager has to learn how to uncover such behavior; she needs to learn how to turn enemies into allies.
The HR Project Management is not the same methodology as in the production or new product development. It is less about tasks and precise deliveries. It is more about the change and the measurement of the new behavior. The HR Project needs clear milestones, but the project needs to be flexible. This is the reason why HR Project Managers are different.