Project Management

Managing Talent During the Pandemic: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Might Help

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Managing project staffing and talent has always been a lynchpin of a successful project management strategy. COVID-19 has required many organizations to have their project managers and teams work from home, and that adds an additional layer of complications to the PMO’s talent management efforts.

For some, working on projects from home is no big deal; but for many, the physiological and psychological impact of being socially isolated and confined takes its toll. That toll can take the form of lowered morale, depression and more. Often, the impact spreads to the team and impacts its ability to work effectively and productively. In addition, people who have family members impacted from the virus may be experiencing extreme stress levels that come from the concerns for loved ones, financial shortfalls and more.

During these times, more than ever, it's important for management to continuously monitor and assess the behavioral, physiological and psychological well-being of its employees (and that includes its project management talent pool). One tool that may help in this assessment effort is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (MHN), developed by Abraham Maslow. MHN is a theory that seeks to explain the emotional stages that govern the behaviors of human beings and society. The framework of these stages is:

  • Stage 1: Physiological – Basic physical needs of …

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