Workforce planning meetings can seem daunting. Given the fluidity of the construction industry, there are often delays to projects, people moving from one job to another, or a role that may require a particular skill set that could be hard to fill – all moving parts that can be difficult to track and stay on top of. This commonly results in meetings involving numerous spreadsheets, whiteboards, multiple programs and handwritten notes which can make the workforce planning process confusing, inefficient and prone to errors. Enter Bridgit Bench – our construction workforce management software, that has quickly become an essential tool for our clients. It provides clients full visibility into their workforce and projects, helps maximize workforce utilization, and has been rated one of the top construction apps for resource planning. This blog post will explore the top three Bridgit Bench shortcuts that are used to run effective workforce planning meetings.
1. Get into the driver’s seat using the Project Gantt
Up first is the Project Gantt view. Hang on – an entire view as a ‘shortcut’? Yes – allow me to explain why we’ve included it in our top spot. Firstly, we’ve been told by numerous clients that they can’t start their workforce planning meetings until Bridgit Bench – and more specifically the expanded Project Gantt view – is being broadcast on the main screen of the room or video conference. What makes it qualify as the number one ‘shortcut’ is due to how powerful it is, allowing you to drive construction workforce planning meetings all from one page. The Project Gantt view really acts as a home base, allowing you to make real-time edits to your projects and people all on one page rather than navigating to the pages of individual projects.
Here are just a few examples of quick changes that can be made from the expanded Project Gantt view:
Has a project experienced a delay and you need to adjust its end date? Use the drag and drop feature to drag the project bar and drop it at the new end date. This will extend the project along with the roles and allocations associated with it.
Does the project need the support of an extra project manager as it wraps up? Click the ‘Add a role’ prompt for the project, specify the dates and allocation for the new project manager, and get ready to place a person to fill the role.
Do you need to adjust the allocation or start/end dates of an existing role? Hover over the role and click the pencil that appears to edit any details specific to the role.
Bonus tip to maximize the visual effect of the Project Gantt view:
Use the custom colour feature to change the colour of your projects based on status, build-type, market sector, etc. For example, if done based on status, active projects can be green, upcoming in blue and pursuits in orange. If done based on build-type, high-rise residential builds can be red and K-12 can be orange. Whatever you decide, the most important thing here is to ensure that everyone is following the same guidelines to keep things consistent.
2. Take a deep dive by stacking Project Filters
While in the Project Gantt view, having all of your projects displayed at one time may not be helpful at times. Perhaps you’d like to pull up projects that meet a certain criteria to be able to focus in on them. In these scenarios, you’re able to leverage the powerful filtering abilities of the Project Gantt to drill down to specific project parameters. For example, perhaps a portion of your workforce meeting is spent reviewing over-allocation issues. You can apply the ‘issues’ filter to show you only those projects that currently have someone with an over-allocation issue, allowing you to address each scenario individually and resolve them as necessary.
You can take things a step further and stack filters on top of one another to get even more specific with the projects that you’d like to focus on. For example, perhaps you’re interested in all active and upcoming projects that have a specific field team lead. In this case, you’d specify both upcoming and active as the project status, and add a second filter that allows you to specify the team lead associated with them. You can see how being able to narrow down projects based on specific criteria can be a huge time saver!
Bonus tip when considering filters:
With the highly configurable nature of our tool, any custom field you create for your projects can be applied as a filter. Keep in mind, if you plan on filtering by a custom field, it is best to use a drop-down list for the field type (rather than a free-text field). This will ensure the data entry remains consistent across projects and will make it easier to drill down to specific criteria when you are filtering.
3. Assemble the dream team using Allocation Filters
During construction workforce planning meetings, it goes without saying that time must be spent reviewing unfilled roles on active or upcoming projects, and ensuring the right person is assigned to a particular project. When discussing with clients how they considered their workforce’s skills and experience when staffing a project before they started using Bridgit Bench, most responded “by memory”, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is not the most efficient or accurate way to staff up your projects. Our third shortcut speaks to exactly this – and helps team leads from having to remember the skills/experience of their entire workforce as a bonus! In the Project Gantt view, you’re able to easily assign a member of your workforce to an unfilled role by clicking the ‘Unfilled role’ prompt. Say you’re looking to find the right project manager to place on a K-12 project. Once the place a person panel opens, by default you’re able to see all project managers in your workforce along with their availability. You can take this a step further by adding an additional allocation filter that will show you only project managers with K-12 market sector experience. This helps ensure that you’re always using your workforce as effectively as possible, and saves you from playing the memory game.
Bonus tip when creating your custom people fields:
Similar to the bonus tip for shortcut number two, all custom fields you create for your people can be leveraged when you’re assigning someone to a project. Popular examples of other custom fields used as filters include division (if you have multiple regional offices), willingness to relocate, specific skills or certifications, etc.
Since the first bonus tip was basically a repeat, here’s an extra one! Understanding the availability of your team is important – whether someone is on parental leave, medical leave, or has a future hire date, our employment dates feature allows you to set periods of unavailability as well as hire and termination dates. This creates an accurate record of your workforce availability, and ensures that only those who are truly available can be assigned to projects.
Our goal is to increase the efficiency of your meetings, save you time and help you maximize workforce utilization. I hope these tips will help you do just that! You can also check out our recent blog post about the top 3 cloud based tools to run effective construction workforce planning meetings.
Jessica is an Account Executive at Bridgit. Graduating with a degree in Geology, she worked in the field for three years before her passion for technology led her to a career transition to work in tech. Jessica loves to connect with clients to learn more about their current processes and discuss tools that can help empower them to grow and be more profitable while saving them time and eliminating inefficiencies. To learn more about Bridgit Bench, the #1 rated tool for construction resource management, connect with Jessica on LinkedIn.