The construction industry is constantly evolving whether it is new ways to build, better equipment and technology, new approaches to resource management, or an increase in the complexity of projects. This evolution of the industry has led to collaborative efforts being increasingly important to project success.
The goal of high-level collaboration in regards to construction resource management and workforce planning is ultimately to increase productivity on projects, but it’s easier said than done. Improving collaboration within an organization requires increasing transparency around the decision-making process, building trust and buy-in with relevant stakeholders, and coordinating efforts to improve productivity.
With the effort and buy-in required to achieve high-level collaboration for construction the question quickly becomes – is it worth it? Will there actually be a tangible improvement in our productivity? In a recent study by Dodge Data and Analytics, 91% of contractors agreed that increased collaboration helps to mitigate project risks, which can help improve a project’s bottom line.
In this blog post we’re going to explore some of the benefits of collaborative workforce planning to help paint a clearer picture as to whether or not your organization should undertake the steps to make improvements to your collaborative efforts.
The benefits of collaborative resource planning
While the goal of collaborative workforce planning is to increase the likelihood of project success, that overarching goal can be divided into a number of smaller benefits that can help to improve efficiency and productivity. Some of the top benefits of a collaborative workforce plan are:
Reduce the workforce planning pressure
When the work required for effective resource planning is assigned to an individual, the pressures of maintaining and consolidating accurate, relevant data can become a major pain point. Especially if their data is being housed in a series of spreadsheets. Often a single individual team member will spend countless hours each week simply preparing their workforce data and reports. Inviting your team to collaborate in this process helps alleviate the pressure on that individual and allows them to spend that time on more productive tasks. This article from the Harvard Business Review explores the idea of collaborative leadership.
New methods of problem solving
You’ve likely chosen your operations team based on their experience, knowledge, and expertise. By inviting your team members with different points of view to collaborate in the workforce planning process will help to uncover new methods of problem solving when it comes to allocating resources and minimizing project risk. Keeping your team up to date on new projects, utilization rates, allocation issues, and potential project changes can help to stimulate new conversations about how organizational and project challenges can be resolved.
When your team is asked to collaborate and contribute to the workforce planning process, team members are given the opportunity to observe your problem solving and decision making process. This allows them to learn new skills from each other regarding how your organization utilizes data to build strong project teams, balance workloads, and prioritize projects.
More productive meetings
A lot of time in manpower meetings is used to update the team on active, high priority, and upcoming projects. Enabling team collaboration for workforce planning typically will mean increasing the transparency of your workforce plan. The result of this transparency will be proactive information sharing during meetings, and less time getting everyone on the same page.
Improved company culture
Inviting your team to collaborate and contribute to your workforce planning shows your team that you value their unique expertise and input. When your team feels valued in the workplace it can help to build a positive work environment that team members want to be a part of and not only increases retention, but also makes your organization more desirable to work for when recruiting new team members. Read this article for tips to creating a data-driven culture.
Breaking down silos
Having your team collaborate on resource management allows them to see how different teams and departments connect to your projects. This holistic view of your project pipeline and resource allocation strategy helps your departments communicate with each other and understand the impact that every team has on larger project goals.
Improve your team’s flexibility
Collaborative workforce planning helps to improve your team’s ability to manage sudden changes in project scope. Teamwork helps general contractors better adapt their workforce strategy to the dynamic nature of the construction industry.
Better alignment with project stakeholders
Collaborating on your workforce planning helps to align your team not only on the resource decisions that are being made, but also why those decisions are being made. Having a clear understanding and participating in the decision making process helps ensure that all stakeholders have their voices heard, and are on the same page regarding the resource allocation strategy beyond their own scope of work.
The benefits of a collaborative workforce planning process are plenty, but enabling collaboration can be incredibly difficult depending on the tools being used for resource management and workforce planning. Increasing transparency can also mean putting your data and strategic plans at risk of unwanted changes, especially if workforce planning is being managed with a series of spreadsheets and whiteboards that lack controls for file sharing. For more information about resource planning, check out our ultimate guide to manpower planning.
Construction resource management tools like Bridgit Bench help to relieve the concerns of increasing transparency to enable collaboration. Users are able to create customized permission groups that allow for full-team access to workforce data, but limits the impact that your team can have (including a view-only option). If you’re interested, check out this article to learn more about how to get your team involved in the workforce planning process.
Bridgit Bench is the leading resource management and workforce planning tool for construction because it was built specifically for the industry and enables collaborative workforce planning through controlled organizational transparency and encouraging general contractors to invite as many users to use the tool as they see fit.
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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