Construction workforce planning is incredibly important. It’s not just a matter of assigning available people to projects that are in need. It involves creating a workforce strategy that ensures you have the best team for the project while also taking into consideration experience, teamwork, and project priorities. Let’s examine some of the different things you should consider before assigning an individual team member to a new project.
1. Are they available?
This may seem like it’s obvious, but without the right construction workforce planning systems in place you may find that keeping track of upcoming project allocations and team availability is a difficult task when allocating for the immediate future. It’s important to confirm with your estimating team that individual team members haven’t been allocated to future bids or committed to other projects to ensure you don’t create an overlap that will cause scheduling conflicts down the road.
Construction workforce planning software will allow you to easily visualize your workforce allocations in relation to your project timeline and identify allocation overlaps, and potential periods of unavailability, to give you ample opportunity to course-correct before it becomes an issue.
Interested in learning more about optimizing your workforce plan and keeping your meetings efficient and productive? Feel free to download our guide to tech driven manpower meetings, or request a demo for a full walkthrough of Bridgit Bench.
2. What other projects are active right now or are upcoming?
There are many factors that will affect how your organization prioritizes its projects. Whether it be the client, the size, or the exposure you will receive it’s important to understand how your projects are prioritized so you can prioritize your workforce allocations accordingly. If you have a select number of high performance individuals, you will want to ensure that they have been well-dispersed across all of your top-priority projects.
It’s also important to prioritize upcoming projects in line with your current projects. There will be times where future projects will be of higher priority for specific team members and you’ll need to understand the impact that re-assigning them will have on their current project.
3. Personal details of the team member?
Depending on your construction workforce planning process this may be one of the more difficult things to consider before assigning a team member to a project, but it is also one of the most important when it comes to employee engagement and retention. More often than not personal details aren’t readily available when creating your workforce plan, but there are intelligent software solutions that can help to bridge that gap and allow for easy access to individual details during the construction workforce planning process.
Some personal details you may want to consider when assigning a team member to a project would include:
Who have they worked with before? It’s important to keep track of team members who have found success working with specific people or teams so you can rinse and repeat. Equally important will be keeping track of team members that have difficulties working together so you can avoid interpersonal conflicts on site.
How long have they worked at the company? How construction is executed is always slightly different from company to company. Taking into consideration how long a team member has been with the company helps to spread out your new talent amongst different projects and ensure you have experienced people there as support.
What types of projects do they have the most experience in? This is crucial to take into consideration. Different projects have different requirements and while it is beneficial for your organization to provide team members with new experience, it’s important that there is always someone on site that has experience executing each task that is required for the project to prevent a bottleneck on any specific tasks.
What clients have they worked for before? Repeat customers have a significant impact on the bottom line for most general contractors. Having individual project and client history on hand when workforce planning will help to replicate successful project teams and keep clients coming back for more.
Where do they live? If they live in the area of the job site, your team members might enjoy having a short commute in the mornings. This may not be the most important personal detail to consider, but your team will appreciate this attention to detail.
4. Who would be the other option(s) for this role?
Sometimes the team member best suited for the project role simply isn’t available. Whether it be due to time off, medical leave, or they just have too much on their plate to take on a new project, it’s important to have a hierarchy of other options lined up to ensure your back-up is the next best option.
You may also encounter times when your back-up options don’t fit the exact description that would be ideal for a project role. For instance, if you’re looking for a Project Manager and none are readily available, you will want to rank the importance of the different aspects for the ideal role description. In this case that might look like this:
Title: If a Project Manager isn’t available, will a Jr Project Manager still work?
Experience: Can you still find someone that has experience with the specific build type or client?
Availability: If they can’t be on the project for the entire duration, will you still consider them the best option?
Location: Is the next best person willing to travel if the project is out of town?
5. Has this individual mentioned they would like experience in any other areas?
The best construction workforce planning solutions will allow you to track project history and work experience, but you don’t want to stunt the professional development of your team members by consistently matching experience to specific build types. High level workforce planning should always try to consider team members that have expressed an interest in gaining experience on new build types. This also helps to develop a wealth of different experiences and skills throughout your team and ensures you always have someone with relevant experience waiting in the wings as time goes on.
There isn’t always an opportunity to give team members experiential learning, but if it’s possible to align those interests without creating a bottleneck on project tasks, your team will value being given those development opportunities.
Are you or your team working remotely? If so, visit our remote construction workforce planning hub for more resources.
Leverage your workforce planning software
Bridgit Bench is the leading construction workforce planning tool, because it was built exclusively for the industry. It was built to not only streamline the construction workforce planning process, but also to help operations teams ensure they have the right people in the right place. Bridgit Bench customers are taking advantage of experience and skills tracking to match their team members to the best projects, and better understanding their workforce availability for future projects. By consolidating their individual workforce data with their workforce plan, customers are able to identify allocation issues, and find the best solution to resolve the issue. For more information about manpower planning, check out our guide to construction manpower planning.
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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