Human Resources Management in Projects


Human resources management is required to ensure that resources are well managed in a project; project management is the process through which projects are initiated, implemented, managed, and controlled for a successful project goals and objectives attainment; the process has a time and costs framework that it must meet.

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To fulfill the frameworks of project management, human resources are required at the managerial and project members level. They need to be managed effectively and motivated to work for the benefit of the project.

Human Resources Management in Projects

A successful project requires to have able, well-trained employees, they should have the experience, the professional knowledge as well as the right attitude to see the project successes.

An organization’s human resources have the role of extending their services to project management however project leaders have the main role of motivating project employees (Lewis, 2004).

Motivation in project management

Motivation is the inner drive an individual has; it makes him persevere to attain set goals either in life or in an organization. People have different personalities and so are they motivated by different things.

Team members should be motivated to facilitate their attainment of the project goals and objectives, the motivation in the case of the project is special in that it should be different from the normal motivation adopted across the company.

An effective human resources management ensures that there are motivational policies set in their company, the main aim of having these policies is to ensure that the organization has the human capital willing to produce results.

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To motivate a project team effectively, the human resources manager should work in close collaboration with project managers, they should come up with policies that improve the enthusiasm of project workers.

The most common method that motivates employees is the provision of a good working environment as well as paying the employees effectively. Issues of how much the employee will be paid can be handled by the human resources however project managers have a wider role in creating a favorable working environment.

When employees are motivated, their outputs are increased.

Project Management Team

To effectively manage and implement a project, there is a need to have a team of an experienced and motivated team

A team that is motivated is creative and willing to come up with ways that can be used to meet the objectives of the project. Managers when in the planning stage have the role of coming up with the right combination in the terms of age, attitude, experience, and professionalism

Theories of Motivation

Scholars in human resources have developed different theories of motivation, none of the theories work in isolation however they all have some elements of each other.

In project management, the human resources and the project leader have the role of establishing the best approach they can use. The theories include:

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Tradition Theories X and Y

Traditional theory X was developed by Sigmund Freud; in the theory, the philosopher stated that people are generally lazy, they hate working. In the theory, the assumption is that people only want security and if they have to work, they have to be rewarded. Rewarding must be appropriate to meet the people’s needs.

To attain the goals of the project, measures are supposed to be put in place to enhance the working of employees, if the employees are left of their free will, they are likely not to work.

Theory Y which was developed by Douglas McGregor is in contrast with Sigmund’s theory. He thought that people generally are hard-working and enjoy earning a living through working hard. In this theory the drive that people have is internal, they have a self-drive, self-motivated, and are creative to make better ways of making their work easy.

The theory gives project managers the role of understanding their team’s wells an ensure that those people who have self-drive are given the chance to exercise the drive, they should be given,

Tasks that need less supervision as their self-drive is the source of power.

In the case of a team that has people who tend to be more on theory X, then management has the role of ensuring that at all times, the employees are kept on their toes to ensure they perform

Absalom Maslow’s theory

Abraham Marlow (1908-1970), developed a motivational theory called Hierarchy of Needs. Robbins and Coulter (1998), generalized the hierarchy of need as brought about by Marlow theory into five levels;

Psychological needs; are the basic needs that a person should have they are food, shelter, health, and clothing.

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Safety needs; after one has been satisfied with his psychological needs, he feels insecure with life.

He realizes that he needs protection.

Social / Belonging; this is the sense of belonging, a person needs to feel like a man of the people and recognized with a certain group.

Esteem; after the above has been attained, the next stage self-love. This is called self-esteem.

Actualization is the point that one is more concerned about how the outside world is seeing him, he is more contented with what he has attained in life.

Common Motivators

Depending on the need of project staff, human resources should fulfill the needs.

There are several motivators that a project leader can apply to motivate its staffs they include:

  • Good salaries
  • Flexible working times
  • Involvement in decision making
  • Creating a favorable working environment
  • Delegation and
  • Use of conflict resolution strategies.


Its manages resources effectively making the final cost of a project fair and cost-effective.

Ensures that projects are completed with and within the time and costs allocated.

Leads to the attainment of project goals and objectives.

Mobilizes resources and improves motivation among team members and staff (Stephen and Timothy, 2010).

Projects require both human and physical resources for their completion in time using the allocated resources. Team leaders should ensure they understand their team so that they can have responsive motivational policies and strategies.

When a team is motivated, then the attainment of the goals and objectives of the project is facilitated.


Lewis, P.,2004. Team-Based Project Management. Washington: Beard Books.

Stephen P. and Timothy, A.,2010. Essentials of Organizational Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Questions and answers

Is there a likelihood that the role of a project manager will contradict the roles of human resources in project team management?

No, the roles are clearly defined; its worth to note that one attribute of a leader is to be able to manage, lead, and motivate his teams, on the ground, he will be the one responsible for creating an environment favorable for a highly motivated staff; his roles are distinct from those of human resources

What is the major course of a de-motivated project management team?

The main cause of de-motivation in a team is ineffective human resources management, anytime that the personnel team and the project management fail to collaborate to improve the welfare of staffs, then the team is likely to be de-motivated.

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