Step 9: Human resources management

One of a project manager’s most important responsibilities is to assign work to the Project Team and ensure that the work is completed according to the project schedule.

You are responsible for allocating tasks to appropriate team members at the appropriate times. A good PM establishes and maintains a Project Schedule that minimizes team member down time. Along with your Team Leaders, you must continuously communicate to each member of the team what is required and by when, and then manage the performance of each team member in meeting the requirements. Some of your human resource responsibilities are:

  • Ongoing recruiting activities (see Step 2)
  • Team building activities
  • Recognition and rewards
  • Performance reviews
  • Set expectations
  • Communicate regularly
  • Evaluate performance
  • Give feedback
  • Training & career development plans
  • Personnel changes

For each of your employees, you need to set goals and expectations, assess performance, identify development opportunities, and reward good performance and the attainment of goals. A typical company performance management timeline is illustrated in the following figure.


Some of the metrics that you can use to evaluate overall staff performance on your project are employee turnover, performance evaluation and training hours per employee.

Defining the employee’s training and career development plans is also a key responsibility of project managers. It is a major contributor to staff retention. Finally, there is sometimes the need to make personnel changes both for positive reasons such as a promotion or transfer to a new contract or as a result of performance issues.

It is absolutely crucial to follow the established company process for dealing with problem employees. Here is a list of human resource references that every project manager should be familiar with.

  • Your company recruiting system
  • Your company Wage & Salary Class Guide
  • Adverse action review process
  • Grievance review process
  • ADA basics
  • Preventing workplace harassment
  • Preventing workplace discrimination

As a manager of people, you will also need to familiarize yourself with your company’s adverse action and grievance review process. As a rule, you should discuss all personnel issues with a Human Resources representative prior to taking any disciplinary action either verbal or written. Also, note that all formal written counseling sessions and disciplinary actions will require HR review.

– Mike Lisagor


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