Creating transparency in any workplace can often be considered a daunting task. Construction is no exception. Leadership and management are constantly trying to find the right balance between how much their team needs to know, how accessible should their data be, and how controls over that data should be implemented. When considering making company data, decision-making processes, and strategies more accessible to your team, it’s important to remember that although embracing transparency in the workplace may not be easy, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
In this article we’re going to explore the benefits of a transparent workplace, and also offer up some tips to help increase the transparency in your workplace. Let’s start with a quick definition.
What is workplace transparency?
In its simplest form, a transparent workplace is one that encourages open and honest communication between company leadership, managers, and team members. The goal is to create a culture that supports a flow of information between different individuals and teams. When applied to resource management and workforce planning this means being open and honest about resource allocation strategies and providing a window into leadership’s decision-making process. It is an ongoing process that, when maintained, can have a significant impact on an organization’s success.
What are the benefits of workplace transparency?
Increased team engagement
A study about employee engagement by the Harvard Business Review revealed that just over 70% of employees surveyed reported that they feel more engaged with their organization’s processes and strategies when leadership and management take the time to consistently update their teams and clearly communicate company strategy and decision making processes. Increasing transparency is one of the quickest ways to build that level of trust with your team.
Better informed leadership
Construction projects have a lot of moving parts and information between departments can quickly become siloed. This prevents leadership from having a holistic view of everything they need to make the best decisions regarding their workforce allocations. When you make the effort to maintain a transparent working environment, your leadership and project management teams gain a better, more accurate understanding of company culture and internal politics. When everyone is in the loop about your company’s challenges, they’re more likely to better support any hard decisions that have to be made.
New methods of problem solving
Increasing transparency around your resource management and workforce planning allows team members to contribute their expertise to the discussion. Project Managers and Superintendents have an in-depth understanding of what strategies will, and will not, work when translated to the job site. When your team feels more involved in the decision making process it can lead to new ways to solve problems that the leadership team may have missed or overlooked.
More accurate goal setting
When an organization encourages the open sharing of information, it creates a more uniform understanding of company and project goals. Your team will also be able to provide feedback on how realistic those goals are. Ultimately, if everyone is upfront about organizational goals and understands the strategy in place to achieve those goals, they’re more likely to speak up if goals are unattainable and less likely to cut corners to hit specific benchmarks. To learn more about goal setting and construction KPIs (key performance indicators) read this article.
How to increase workforce planning transparency
So, we’ve defined workplace transparency and discussed some of the benefits that come along with making the effort to improve it. The next step is exploring exactly how to improve it. As was mentioned earlier, it isn’t an easy task and it isn’t a one-time effort. Improving transparency takes time and a maintained effort to see it through.
Increase accessibility to your information
Many construction firms are still managing their resources from a series of spreadsheets or whiteboards. While spreadsheets can be a powerful tool, their controls around sharing information often leads to Ops Managers hesitating to share their somewhat fragile databases openly.
Resource planning tools that were built for the construction industry, like Bridgit Bench, have kept this hesitation in mind when designing their software and have included the ability to create custom permission groups to better control accessibility. Information is power, and the ability to share information without the risk of human error or unwanted changes allows general contractors to include more team members in the decision making and problem solving process.
Let your team guide decision making (when possible)
Providing your team members with access to your data and insight into your decision making process is one thing. Having them actually participate in that process is another. If your team has an understanding of your company and project-level goals and strategies, encourage them to contribute new ideas that align with what your company is trying to accomplish. They won’t all be great ideas to start, but problem solving is a skill that needs to be nurtured and the more participation you get, the more your team can hone those skills.
Promote a “door’s always open” culture
One of the best ways to improve transparency in your organization is to encourage leadership to keep an open door policy. It matters less if your team members actually decide to pop in to ask questions or resolve conflicts, and more about creating a culture of being open to conversations with team members at every level. Encourage your team to ask questions, even hold “ask me anything” sessions that allow your team to voice their individual concerns and opinions about your company’s direction, goals, and overall strategy.
Face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) communication
Face-to-face communication can be difficult given the increase in remote work since the coronavirus pandemic. However, when working remotely and dealing with conference calls, all team members should make the effort to have their cameras turned on and be ready to contribute. Remember being told that “90% of communication is through body language alone”? Well, being able to read your teams’ facial expressions and body language can go a long way ensuring that everyone is on the same page and miscommunication is minimized.
Bridgit Bench is the leading resource management and workforce planning tool for the construction industry because we understand the value in creating a transparent workforce plan. We encourage our clients to add as many users as they’d like to the tool and provide them with custom permissions to control how transparent their information is. Transparency is the first step to aligning your team and promoting a collaborative work environment to push your company towards its goals.
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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