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Why Project Management Means Nothing Without People Management

By Tebogo Matome |



Recently, the demand for Project Management across various fields has been increasing. While at the same time, it seems that People Management (not to be confused with Human Resources (HR) Management) has been neglected.


While HR Management refers to the optimal utilization of organizational human resources, People Management refers to considering an organization’s training, compensation, labor relations, and employee grievances. With the influx of Generation Y (Gen Y), this has become increasingly important in the modern-day workforce.


While Gen Y is constantly referred to as being lazy and entitled, recent studies have proved contrary to this belief. These studies have shown that they are rather aware of their worth, resulting in a willingness to leave an organization to fulfill personal worth. Gen Y is also described as a generation in search of a good work-life balance and a job role with flexible working hours. If not handled properly, the traits belonging to Gen Y, coupled with their nomadic lifestyle and Laissez-Faire approach to formal organizations, present the potential challenge of high employee turnover.


“Without an understanding of people, projects mean nothing.”

Generation Y: The Gap

This self-worth realization stems from growing up in the introductory era of personal computing, the internet, and other technologies, ultimately grooming an extremely tech-savvy and resourceful workforce. These background characteristics groom a group of employable resources, with a clearer vision of how their respective industry's future may look. As a result of the uncharacteristic workforce traits that came with Gen Y employees, a gap in company structures has been identified. This gap highlights how most modern-day organizations are out of sync with Gen Y's lifestyle desires and values.

But how can this gap be addressed?



Organization: How to Adapt


With the unavoidable adoption of workplace practices to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home practices have grown in popularity among most of the workforce. In parallel, the executives of larger corporations and SMEs have also grown a fondness for this work-life structure. This new-normal allows the workforce to participate in the organization’s operations and training from the comfort of their own home, increasing not only a work-life balance but also productivity, creativity, and employee satisfaction. Work-from-home has especially become a “hit” with the younger generations of company employees due to the increased amount of freedom and the ability to customize schedules and working environments.


It is becoming increasingly important for companies to adapt and adjust their values and cultures to that of incoming generations. The reality is, emerging generations will soon make up the future of the workforce, thus the workforce will need to better serve their needs in order to attract the best talent. Not only does adaptability help guarantee that companies will obtain the best talent, but they will also be able to retain the best talent. Subtle additions to the workspace, such as swings, hammocks, and “bean-bag areas,” although not frequently used by the workforce, can create a welcoming and homely environment. These relaxed and welcoming environments breed collaboration through lunch-time catch-ups or coffee breaks amongst employees from different departments.


Although raised in an increasingly virtual space (social media, internet, gaming, cell phones, etc.), Gen Y is more inclined to interact with people they do not know, as an out-of-office practice featured in their everyday lives from youth. This attitude ultimately boosts their interaction and love for collaboration traits, which makes them an invaluable asset. Therefore, it is important to endorse and nurture these traits, as the future of business (in a continuously connected world) relies on the online sale of services and advertising across different demographics and age groups.


Ultimately, in order to be successful in the growing world of project management, organizations must be able to better understand the evolving needs of their people. Adaptability and compassion will allow companies to better prioritize People Management through understanding their most valuable assets—their people.

AUTHOR

Tebogo Matome

Project Manager at Construct