We talk to general contractors. A lot.
As you might expect, different organizations have different ways of doing things. Everyone has their own philosophies, their own processes, their own reports, and their own metrics. But we also hear something you might not expect when talking to so many different organizations. They all seem to have a data problem.
There’s a stat that gets floated around in construction tech, and if you’ve spent any time browsing software options, there’s a strong chance you’ve come across it. 95% of the data captured in construction goes unused. It’s from the Field Management Institute, and it’s undoubtedly true and impactful to read, but does it tell a full story? Not really.
Think of the scale and scope of a construction project. There are millions of data points that can be captured, but to be frank – not all data is created equally. If someone told you that you were wasting 95% of your free time, would you start filling that time with every activity under the sun? No, you’d likely prioritize things that mattered most to you. So when it comes to the data problem, the best way to initiate lasting change would be to start with your corporate priorities.
If someone told you that you were wasting 95% of your free time, would you start filling that time with every activity under the sun?
What does your company prioritize? Well if you’re smart, it’s your team. People are the backbone of every organization. This is especially true in construction since contractors are only as good as the talent behind them. Your people not only represent your company and its culture, they also represent one of your biggest cost centers and drive a huge component of your company’s financial output.
What do your people value? We can tell you that the list will start with work-life balance, an inclusive work environment, having the information they need to do their job well, and the opportunity to develop their skills and grow their careers.
So if you’re looking at the 95% data gap and want to initiate a change, why not start with your people data? Here are some of examples of how GCs struggle by not properly leveraging data that they already have.
- A lack of foresight into people allocations and upcoming project staffing requirements leaves your HR team scrambling to fill project roles in the eleventh hour
- A lack of visibility into workforce availability mean Business Development teams don’t know what projects to bid on, or when to bid on them, until it’s too late
- Learning and Development teams don’t have a centralized source of individual’s skills, experience, and certifications to know where to focus their efforts
- Without accurate workforce forecasting, Marketing and Sales teams don’t know when to double down on new projects
All of these gaps wind up also trickling down to the workforce in one way or another, whether your people find themselves double booked for projects, overworked, or lacking the experience they need to be confident in their work.
The truth is, having insightful people data under a single source doesn’t just benefit the operations or project planning team. It affects everyone across the organization and their ability to feel confident in their work. It can be downright transformative for your pre-con, HR and business development teams.
Give your team the data they need to do their best work
Having real-time, accurate information about your people can help preconstruction teams understand who’s available and who’s qualified to build the strongest team to meet project requirements. It can also help identify team members that are ready to take on new challenges and gain new project experience to further their careers.
Understanding availability and utilization also helps balance workloads across the organization, ensuring no one is being over allocated or costing you money by being left on the bench. Balancing workloads can help keep your team engaged in their work and your company.
Tyler Ganyo, a Partner and Preconstruction Provider at DesCor Builders, spoke with Bridgit about the difficulties of managing their preconstruction efforts using manual tools. “I had so many different spreadsheets to tie our supers, managers, and engineers together,” said Ganyo, “Add to that being active in so many market sectors. We really needed a cleaner path to accomplish that.” The team at DesCor has since switched over to an automated tool for workforce planning and resource loading. Read about their transition to Bridgit Bench.
HR plays a significant role in an organization’s talent development. Without accurate information, it can be nearly impossible to understand the skills needed for upcoming projects and the people that could, or should, be given those opportunities.
Having insight into workforce utilization broken down into specific roles, HR can also identify any potential skills gaps that exist. For example, if your superintendents are all maxed out for the next 6-12 months, that’s a strong indicator that there may be an opportunity to train and promote someone internally before looking for external candidates.
Access to workforce data that includes certifications, licenses, and their respective expirations helps HR teams to not only minimize risk, it also provides a birds-eye view of any gaps that may exist. HR professionals know first hand the impact that presenting opportunities for career growth can have on a company’s retention rates. According to a study by CareerAddict, “no progression” ranks as the number one reason people quit their current jobs at 74%.
“Bridgit Bench has helped us develop a much clearer picture of what our staffing needs are. This lets us see gaps and give people within the company opportunities to fill them, first and foremost.”
Lisa Villasmil, Vice President of People & Culture at Cauldwell Wingate
Read our full Cauldwell Wingate case study.
Business Development & Marketing
Business Development and Marketing are working on the near and distant future of your organization. With insight into team skills and availability, they can lean into your team’s strengths and avoid projects where a lack of specific experience could be costly.
Having access to this information also helps hone their skills in the areas that you know you win, meaning you’re more likely to win high quality, profitable projects.
“We work closely with the other parts of the company. With business development and estimating, we can share information and they can see what resources we have available. We can be proactive and say ‘Hey, in 12 months we’ll have extra people that are very successful in remodels, so let’s go after more remodels.’”
Daniel Barry, VP of Operations at Schimenti
Talent and skills development aren’t limited to your team members on the project site. Everyone from the top down wants to be better in their role, and providing access to the right information is helping to set them up for success. In terms of talent development, the more your people are aware of where the gaps are, and where the opportunities to improve are, the better off your team will be from the c-suite to the boots on the ground.