When it comes to manpower meetings, the last thing any general contractor wants is to have drawn out, unorganized meetings that result in ill-informed construction workforce planning being pieced together. Especially when gathering your full operations team for a meeting is likely creating the most expensive meeting your organization can have.
Ensuring these meetings are productive and result in a strategic, well informed construction workforce plan will help to drive company objectives forward – all it takes is a little preparation and buy-in from your team. Having control going into your manpower meetings, with the right tools, will prevent lost time and keep from any team members walking away confused.
We’ve created a quick guide to upgrading your manpower meetings to help you optimize your workforce plan and keep your meetings efficient and productive. Feel free to download our guide to tech driven manpower meetings.
Here are some preparation techniques you can use to optimize your manpower meetings, and in doing so, your workforce planning.
Keep your construction workforce planning up to date
This is an ongoing process as workforce details and allocations are constantly shifting, but keeping your construction workforce plan up to date means that time won’t be wasted updating information that could have been done ahead of your manpower meetings. This includes:
All workforce allocation updates
New projects and bids have been created and project roles have been created
Priority projects have been highlighted for discussion
Project and people notes have been updated to easily identify important talking points for your manpower meetings
With cloud-based software and construction workforce planning tools becoming more available, keeping your workforce plan updated should become a team effort. Having your workforce plan in one centralized location that everyone on your team can easily access will allow you to assign specific updates to team members and lighten the load that, for the longest time, was left up to one or two members of your operations team. It also helps to create accountability amongst your team if certain updates aren’t being done and everyone has to wait on one person to input their data. No one wants to be the one that bottlenecks valuable meeting time. For more information about manpower planning in general, check out our guide to construction manpower planning.
Set an agenda with a desired outcome
Since your construction manpower planning meetings are meant to be purposeful, having an agenda that allows your team to stay on track should be a staple in your organization.
To prepare an agenda for your manpower meeting, start by including the order of items you’re wanting to discuss as a team, the timeframe that you’re hoping to maintain for the entire meeting, and how long you’d like to spend on each item of discussion. This timeframe can be flexible once the meeting is underway, but giving everyone an idea of how long you plan on discussing each project and relevant workforce allocations/ changes will, over time, drive your team to be more concise with their communication skills.
With your agenda, you’ll also need to include what your expectations are from your team for each item you’re planning to discuss. If you let your team know when they are expected to be contributing to the discussion you are also letting them know when they are not expected to be contributing. Everyone has an opinion on what they think would work best, and everyone’s opinion is valid, but by communicating the expectations of your team for the meeting ahead you are also giving them the opportunity to share those opinions ahead of time. This allows you to decide if what they are bringing forward is worth discussing as a team during your manpower meetings. It’s easier to send out an amended agenda with updated talking points and expectations than it is to get a meeting back on track that has gone off the rails due to “too many cooks in the kitchen”.
Preparing your agenda is only half the battle. You will want to ensure that your team has received and gone over the agenda in full. Time is money, and being prepared for meetings will allow your team to hit the ground running when the time comes. Nothing slows a meeting down faster than wasting time at the start filling everyone in on the little details they were sent but neglected to read.
Your manpower meetings are only as good as the actions that they result in. Every agenda should also have a desired outcome. As the organizer of the meeting you’ll want to act as the ringleader that drives the meeting towards that outcome. Once you’ve reached a consensus as a team, make sure to follow up with written confirmation via email and track your progress against your objectives. You might want to start each manpower meeting by quickly reviewing how things have gone since the last meeting to ensure everyone is still on the same page.
To read about how Bridgit Bench clients are using data to make construction workforce planning decisions, click here, or request a walkthrough of Bridgit Bench by one of our associates.
Remove roadblocks and obstacles
Don’t wait until your meeting to resolve issues that can be done ahead of time or don’t require a full team discussion to solve. If team members are willing to help keep your workforce plan up to date, encourage them to also include any conflicts that have come up since the last meeting or that they foresee being an issue in the future. This will give you a chance to review these conflicts and nip them in the bud before everyone feels the need to throw their two cents in during your meetings. Ultimately, someone is going to have to make the final decision in regards to conflicts, and if you feel comfortable resolving them without a full team discussion you can save a lot of time during meetings.
Have your team review your meeting agenda and ask that they review their relevant project and workforce requirements and create notes to highlight things like:
Project overlaps that cause allocation issues
Potential on-site conflicts with team members
Concerns around project team experience and skill sets
Team members they’d like for their project teams
Getting as many of these potential issues resolved ahead of meetings will help to prevent further conflicts during meetings, and gives a chance for your team members to express concerns in a productive manner that doesn’t bottleneck valuable meeting time.
The right construction workforce planning software can help
Having an easily accessible, cloud-based construction workforce planning tool like Bridgit Bench can help to prepare for manpower meetings on every level. Team members are able to keep project and workforce data updated, it gives you a centralized platform to give everyone visibility and quickly flow through your meeting agenda, and allows for team members to create notes to highlight talking points specific to each project or team member – it will even highlight potential issues with your allocations so you can resolve them before it becomes a problem.
The right construction workforce planning software will also provide insight into your workforce utilization and forecasting so you can keep track of how your meetings are helping to achieve your desired outcomes over time.
Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.
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