Improving communication in your organization

Improving communication in your organization

There has been endless business research done that suggests that most companies are well aware that an effective communication plan has an incredible impact on project outcomes and construction workforce management, or WFM. The Project Management Institute has written a report that quantifies the impact that ineffective communication can have on projects, their outcomes, and the overall success of the business.

The results were pretty shocking. In their report Pulse of the Profession, they reveal that for every US$1 billion spent on a project, $135 million will be at risk. Furthermore, of that $135 million, 56% is being put at risk because of ineffective communication. That’s $75 million, or 7.5%.

7.5% of your total project spending is at risk due to ineffective communication. In fact, 1 in 5 projects will be unsuccessful as a direct result of poor communication. That is a massive potential for negative impact on company goals.

Now, let’s be clear. There are numerous factors that can lead to a project being delayed and over budget – the acquisition of materials, poor performance, employee productivity, equipment failure, financial and logistical problems. The reason communication can be the most damaging to your projects though, is that high-level communication using the proper channels will allow you to more easily recover in real-time if and when those aforementioned factors occur.

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Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLC and the Project Management Institute have consolidated multiple surveys in regards to project management with staggering results. Companies that have highly effective communication practices amongst their team members are almost twice as likely to financially outperform companies with ineffective communication. Highly effective companies are 28% more likely to meet the original project goals, 34% more likely to finish projects on time, and 28% more likely to finish within budget. That’s a huge difference for any industry, but particularly in construction, where margins can be razor thin when project goals aren’t met.

So how many companies are highly effective at communicating?

Considering that most are fully aware just how critical communication is to move a company forward, only 25% would actually be considered high performers. While this does seem like a low percentage, it also is a clear indicator of one way to set your construction company apart from the 75% that aren’t high performers by improving how you communicate project information to your teams.

Part of the problem is not knowing how to best communicate relevant information. It’s not enough to simply understand that communication is imperative. The study points to a disconnect between executives who indicate long term and strategic information is being communicated, and project managers and individual employees who indicate that is not the case. Good communication will always start at the top and work it’s way down, and high-level communication can be contagious.

Printed, detailed reports are crucial for communicating important project and construction workforce management information for making data-driven decisions in the construction industry as well. Projects differ in size and scope, materials needed, amount of dedicated workforce, length until completion – and that’s only scratching the surface. Operations teams communicating on a high level will have adaptive construction workforce planning that can be easily adjusted when inevitable changes occur on projects, and communicate those changes to necessary parties.

Communication around construction workforce management

A construction project will have multiple different stakeholders – from business owners and financiers, to project executives. Being able to deliver concise, accurate project reports to your teams and skilled employees will ensure that everyone is up to date on all relevant project details and allocation or schedule changes, and all stakeholders are confident that project decisions are being made with all the necessary data. Everyone sleeps a little easier at night when they know all parties are in sync with one another and project decisions are being based on actionable data, and then communicated effectively. Printed reports have become a staple for leading general contractors as they allow both project executives and managers to clearly communicate plans and paths for success, while also allowing them to identify potential risk.

Detailed reports also encourage making data-driven decisions instead of making time-consuming project decisions based on gut-feel. Construction workforce management being done with accurate, actionable data will help to streamline expensive manpower meetings and allow you to look at construction workforce planning with new insight into project allocations, workforce utilization, and employee scheduling. Accurate project and people reports enable operations and executive teams to check-in and collaborate when situations arise and problems need to be solved and allow for better dispute management.

Business owners, operations, and executive teams need to make a lot of tough decisions regarding construction workforce management at a moment’s notice, often dealing with a lot of money. Ensuring that decisions are informed and being made with accurate data is the best way to propel your projects (and company) forward.

Construction Dive has also written about using data to your advantage in the construction industry. One of their key points focused around the idea of striving for data transparency and its positive impact. Company culture becomes more open-minded about data efforts and overall morale and employee engagement increases as your workforce understands what data is being used and how using that data to drive decision-making will benefit them in the long run. Unfortunately, many general contractors aren’t on board with digital and data transformation yet, leading their workforce to also be confused and reluctant to change.

If the construction industry wants to participate in the digital transformation and automate construction workforce management with software solutions, companies will have to overcome the difficulties of communicating these changes to multiple talent groups. Effective change will always start at the C-suite level. Unless leadership is willing to commit to changing how they view their workforce and inviting heads of technology into the boardroom, the construction industry will continue to fall behind industries that have seen major impact.

Achieving a productive work environment, driven by data, with high-level communication and employee engagement isn’t easy and may require new skill sets, but there are tools that you can leverage to keep your workforce better informed of project details and changes with customizable, detailed reports to keep everyone on the same page and pulling in the same direction.

Bridgit Bench is the leading construction workforce management solution and offers multiple ways for you to keep your teams up to date about project details and business needs. Users are able to build detailed reports regarding their workforce and project timeline, filter on specific people and projects, and print reports ahead of manpower meetings to improve communication and understanding of the workforce plan and strategy.

Lauren Lake

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.

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