Since construction is tasked with building some of the most complex projects in existence today, it’s safe to assume that this complexity generates a lot of data, including construction workforce data. For a long time construction has been behind the curve in adopting new technology to house this ever-growing mountain of data. In the past, the bulk of it would be stored on paper, whiteboards, and spreadsheets only to be filed away and probably never seen again.
As a myriad of new technology has been developed for construction, a new problem has come to light, and that’s how to glean insights from all the new digital data. For the contractors adopting this new technology, the challenge will be to standardize how this data is captured and analyzed to make informed business decisions.
There have been breakthroughs in mobile technology, virtual reality, drones, and job site sensors, all helping contractors gain advantages in various processes. Still, the most important resource a contractor has is their people. They’re the ones using the technology and are tasked with solving the problems that occur on job sites. Construction workforce management tools have allowed general contractors to collect more data in regards to their workforce than ever before. Knowing how to use that data to optimize your most important resource can help create a massive competitive advantage in the construction industry.
In this article, we’re going to look at three ways you can gain insights from your construction workforce data in order to develop a competitive advantage in the coming year.
Three ways to gain greater insight using construction workforce data
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR UTILIZATION
One of the biggest challenges for any organization is understanding if their team is working at, over, or under their capacity. It’s not unheard of for multiple employees to fall through the cracks when using a spreadsheet system. This leads to underutilized team members and ultimately costs organizations thousands of dollars in unused labor every year.
Another problem that arises from the inability to see accurate utilization rates is uninformed bidding on new projects. In a survey conducted by Bridgit, 86% of contractors said they’ve bid on projects only to find that they don’t have the proper workforce to complete the job. This is a clear indicator that GCs aren’t totally aware of the capacity of their teams, leading to people being over-allocated to jobs.
“Fast-forward from last year to this year, our utilization is exceeding what our target metrics are… Using Bridgit Bench gives us the ability to make sure we’re using our team members, their capacity, and their talent in effective ways.”
Ed McCauley, VP of Innovation, Wohlsen Construction
Having your team consistently overutilized can lead to burnout over time and can leave operations managers scrambling for last-minute hires who may not be a good fit for your company.
By using a dedicated workforce management tool, you’ll have visibility into your team’s utilization rate. Having a clear understanding of this can help you build strong teams for future projects proactively rather than reactively. This can act as a guide for the types of projects you bid on because it ensures that you have the capacity to take them on and mitigate delays. Being able to confidently assemble future project teams without conflict is a great way to start off a relationship with a new client in 2023.
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2. UNDERSTAND RECRUITMENT NEEDS
Along with putting together effective teams for future projects, having insight into utilization rates can help you put together a solid recruitment strategy for the coming year. Construction workforce management tools make it easy to see gaps in project teams and the timelines dedicated to the projects themselves.
With this level of insight, it becomes simple to collaborate with HR to proactively develop a recruitment strategy. It’s increasingly important to have these plans in place due to the construction labor shortage of both unskilled and skilled labor. GCs will have to compete for skilled labor and you want potential employees to know their skills will be used effectively, and that they’re confident they can grow in your company.
Another way of using workforce data to your advantage when seeking to fill positions is to look within your own company. If you’re able to identify gaps where team members could take on more work, you can use that time to offer training or mentorships to help nurture your own team to potentially fill needed positions.
Offering your team members opportunities to move up the ladder and gain new experiences will help to retain your talent by creating a culture within your organization where opportunities are presented rather than asked for.
3. UNDERSTAND YOUR TEAM’S SKILLS
The first two insights from workforce data were more broad, looking at your entire team from a bird’s eye view. Construction workforce management tools can zoom in and help capture data from individual team members as well. There are huge benefits in getting individual team members’ data, namely helping you optimize project teams and create paths for career success to improve employee retention.
Valuable insight can come from tracking your team’s skills and experience. You’ll be able to put together better project teams since you can match skill sets to the demands of the projects. Using tools like Bridgit Bench, it’s easy to reference project histories and your team’s performance in achieving project goals.
Having access to this data can help you balance your teams too. You can use team members’ strengths and weaknesses to ensure skill sets complement each other. For example, pairing a Project Manager with a lot of experience with a recently promoted Project Manager will allow the former to lead by example, while the latter learns how to deal with the complexities of their new role.
Along with creating better project teams, you can analyze experience to identify gaps in required skill sets. This ties into your recruitment strategy because you can plan how to fill those gaps with new hires or by offering training to employees eager to learn new skills. Ultimately, you get a two-way benefit. The short-term benefit is that you can optimize project teams immediately with insights on skills and experience, and the long-term benefit is that you can spot talent gaps and develop a plan to fill them.
Bridgit Bench is a construction workforce management solution built to store, update, and analyze all of your relevant workforce data. Contractors use Bridgit Bench to confidently create strong project teams and mitigate risk due to under or over-allocations. We help provide valuable insight into workforce utilization to optimize capacity planning to help our clients push the needle in a positive direction.