When executed properly, workforce planning meetings are one of the most effective ways a general contractor can keep their operations team aligned on project allocations, capacity planning, and overall workforce management. These meetings are where information is shared, feedback is offered, strategy is discussed, and most importantly – decisions are made.
“You have a meeting to make a decision, not to decide on the question.”
— Bill Gates
Construction workforce planning meetings are also a way to alleviate the problem solving responsibilities that can often fall on the shoulders of the construction business owner or a select few members of your operations team. Think of your local fire brigade. There’s certainly a hierarchy – from the Fire Chief to the Captains down to the Firefighters, but everyone plays an important role when a building is ablaze. For some construction business owners, being in sole control of their people and projects becomes a way of life, putting out fires becomes their way of doing business, and their workforce planning meetings become a chore when they could be the most effective way to gather information and collaborate on new ways to stop the fires from starting in the first place.
What goes into making a workforce planning meeting more effective? To start, meetings should allow for open conversation and gather valuable input based on your team’s knowledge, experience, skills, and different perspectives. This allows your organization to better understand strategy, identify potential project risk, solve problems, and align with one another to achieve collective business goals.
It isn’t easy to consistently run meetings that check all those boxes, but it’s worth making the effort to make every meeting meaningful. The more effective your workforce planning meetings become, the more you’ll begin to see the following benefits both within your team and your organization. For more information about workforce planning in general, check out our guide to construction workforce planning.
1. LOOK INTO OPTIMIZING YOUR CONSTRUCTION WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT
Leading general contractors have regularly scheduled workforce planning meetings to stay up to date on project progress and to keep in touch with project managers, estimators, and their core operations team. Construction owners are generally great problem solvers, but effectively running workforce planning meetings allows for problems and strategies to be viewed from multiple angles to produce the best possible solutions. Effective meetings allow construction leadership to delegate meeting tasks and gain input from multiple stakeholders to create an optimized workforce planning process, avoid workforce gaps, and drive productivity and help push the needle for your organization.
Not only is your workforce plan optimized, but so is your workforce planning process. Given the meeting attendees, workforce planning meetings can quickly become the most expensive meeting your company will have. Having effective meetings allows you to save valuable time and energy when creating your workforce plan, and gives you more time to put out non-workforce related fires.
“The people I want to share information with can easily obtain access. Conversations with departments have become more real, productive, and insightful. Because Bridgit Bench serves as a single source of truth, everyone is on the same page. I can firefight better now. I’m not feeling pressured.”
— Jeff Olafson, CEO at Gardon Construction
2. INCREASED UNDERSTANDING OF MEETING GOALS AND STRATEGY
When you are creating the agenda for your next meeting, make sure to clearly state the goals of the meeting and the desired outcome of each project that will be discussed. This allows your team members to prepare and align discussion points and input around specific outcomes you are hoping to achieve. Your meeting facilitator can then use the agenda to keep the meeting concise and moving in the direction of your business needs and strategic goals.
The agenda helps to provide a shared sense of purpose going into your meetings and everyone not only understands why they’ve been included, they also understand the importance of the meeting. Having an understanding of long-term goals and strategic direction is motivating for your team both during workforce planning meetings and as you push towards achieving organizational benchmarks with your workforce strategy.
3. ACHIEVE IMPROVED TEAM COLLABORATION AND ENGAGEMENT
When executed well, workforce planning meetings offer each member of your operations and project management teams the opportunity to provide valuable input and engage in relevant discussions and problem solving. To do this effectively, the facilitator of your meeting should keep the conversation focused, narrowing discussion to specific projects and issues, and ask questions that guide the conversation forward. Allowing your team members to contribute their perspectives to your construction workforce planning helps to show their ideas are valued, and can spark collaborative discussions that result in new ways to solve problems and mitigate potential risk.
“Before Bridgit Bench, everyone would leave personnel meetings exhausted because we were dealing with relatively fixed resources. Now, everyone is more engaged.”
— David Diltz, Operations Manager at Compass Construction
When preparing for your meeting, be sure to send out your agenda ahead of time with discussion topics and high priority projects that you’d like to gather input on. This allows your team to prepare any ideas and help keep your meetings running smoothly. If there are team members that don’t regularly offer input, ask them to share. You never know how much a new perspective can open your eyes to new ways to optimize your construction workforce planning.
4. PUSH FOR INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE WORKSPACE
Your construction workforce planning planning meetings should help to create an environment where every team member feels like their perspectives and input are valued. This allows your team members to feel comfortable taking on different responsibilities and makes it clear that every decision that is made has an impact on individual projects and the organization as a whole. Decision-making during meetings holds more weight than decisions that are being made via email, phone call, or individual meetings. When a decision is agreed upon with everyone’s input, your team members will feel more accountable to the team and are motivated to follow through effectively to provide feedback to the team at the next workforce planning meeting.
If you’re using a collaborative construction workforce planning solution for your workforce planning meetings, everyone will also have full visibility on updates that are being made and help motivate your team to not only stay up to date, but do their part in keeping everyone updated on their projects, progress, and relevant issues. No one likes to be the bottleneck that holds up expensive meetings. Capture all action items related to specific projects, team members that are responsible for following through, and when you next expect to be updated on progress.
5. SUPPORT AND NUTURE CAREER DEVELOPMENT
Effective workforce planning meetings will help to create opportunities for each member of your operations team to develop business-critical skill sets. First and foremost, the facilitator of the meeting is refining their leadership skills and practicing continual effective communication over months and months of meetings. They are also learning what motivates your team to contribute to your workforce planning and holding your team accountable for project updates and progress reports.
Meeting attendees are able to witness and participate in effective meetings and adopt the communication skills of the team around them and modeled by company leadership. Effective construction workforce planning planning meetings also challenge your team to step up and contribute to important workforce decisions.
Beyond the meeting participants, effective meetings allow for the career development of your entire workforce by identifying future needs to preemptively reduce any skill gaps through experiential learning on new build-types and project roles. Collaborative meetings also allow for high performance individuals to be identified and placed on high value projects. Learn more about the “Off the bench” mindset from a former NHL goalie and current NHL Network analyst, Kevin Weekes, and how you can apply this for workforce success.
Bridgit Bench is the leader in construction workforce planning because we understand the value that stems from creating an optimized workforce planning process. We provide operations teams with clear visibility over their workforce and project timeline to promote collaboration during meetings, and encourage general contractors to customize Bridgit Bench to fit their company specific needs. We aim to help you better understand your workforce planning so when new opportunities surface, you’re well prepared to take on those challenges.
If you found this article helpful, you can check out our article: “How the 30 Under 30 set better business resolutions” to make your construction workforce planning meetings more fruitful.