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Strategies Leading to Successful HR Projects


by Clif Boutelle, SIOP Public Relations

Latest Book in SIOP’s Professional Practice Series Provides Best Practices in Project Management

By Clif Boutelle, SIOP Public Relations

It is likely that during an HR practitioner’s career he or she will be assigned a “special” project expected to produce a significant benefit to the organization.

Projects can range from implementing a new policy to spearheading a major organizational change. Carrying out such projects invariably places many demands on HR professionals.

A new book will prove valuable to those undertaking HR projects because it brings together the experiences of skilled project practitioners and leading researchers to provide insights and guidance on conducting HR projects with major human resource management implications complete with successful real-life examples.

The recently released book is titled “Advancing Human Resource Project Management” and is the 30th volume in the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Professional Practice Series. It is edited by Richard Klimoski, Beverly Dugan, Carla Messikomer, and Francois Chiocchio.

This book and more is currently available in the SIOP Store here!
Don’t forget: SIOP members receive a 20% discount!

Dugan said the book will have wide appeal to practitioners, academics, and graduate students, adding it will be a resource that will be especially helpful to those in the HR community, where more and more work is being done through project management. Dugan is a former vice president of HumRRO and is currently with Triangle Leadership Consulting, located in North Carolina’s research triangle.

Klimoski said the book should be particularly valuable in training doctoral students because exposure to project management requirements and the skills needed to meet them will be critical to success in their careers, whether working as a practitioner or in academia.

This book shares best practices and lessons learned in managing projects that will be especially helpful to practitioners because it illustrates successes as well as failures and highlights real-world cases to illustrate effective strategies and solutions.

The idea of the book originated with Klimoski and Dugan. To have more representation from the project management community, Messikomer and Chiocchio were added to the editorial team. As the manager of Academic Resources at the Project Management Institute, Messikomer supports the research of project management scholars internationally. Chiocchio is one of the few I-Os researching project management and is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

“We recruited 28 chapter contributors with outstanding credentials and a lot of real-life experience,” Dugan explained. “They are representative of major industries and consulting firms, as well as academia and from a variety of professional backgrounds.”

The editors point out that projects focused on HR issues usually have a strategic function and are designed and implemented to not only solve an immediate problem but also to contribute to the long-term viability of the firm and help increase its efficiency and effectiveness.

Some typical HR projects include:

  • Changing the company culture (eg. to be more service oriented or more innovative
  • Development and implementation of talent management systems, including personnel selection and promotion, performance management, training programs, and employee and leader development.
  • Program evaluation
  • Creating and implementing client/workforce surveys to gauge employee opinions and customer satisfaction.
  • Human capital planning, such as turnover projections and succession planning.
  • Managing the people side of mergers or acquisitions.
  • Starting a new facility, product or service line.
  • Corporate restructuring efforts, including “turnarounds”

These kinds of projects require people to come together and develop and implement a program to meet an organizational need, often with a looming deadline.

“The effectiveness of how people are managed has a significant impact on the outcomes of the project,” said Klimoski, a professor of psychology and management at George Mason University.

Organizational projects are often assigned to the HR professional to design and implement. However, leading a project does not necessarily rest with one individual or area, noted Klimoski. But projects do require continuous leadership, advocacy, input, and stakeholder support, and HR professionals must have the skills and abilities to pull it all together.

“HR either leads the effort or has a place at the table to implement the project,” he said.

Visit the SIOP Store today to order a copy of this title. SIOP members receive 20% off the list price. Contact siop@siop.org or 419-353-0032 with questions.