2018 is here! With a new year comes new goals and initiatives, and builders everywhere are looking to make boosting productivity, improving safety, attracting a new generation of workers, and increasing profitability a priority in 2018. Download our E-Book for the Top Trends and Predictions for construction’s “year of digital disruption,” and check out our 5 New Years Resolutions for construction professionals:
#1 – Invest in Workforce Development
One of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry today is the shortage of skilled labor. According to an article in Fortune, 91% of contractors are concerned about the skill level of their workforce, particularly as experienced workers age out of the industry, taking their knowledge with them, and younger generations fail to fill positions at the necessary rate. According to FMI’s talent development report, engineering and construction firms do not invest sufficiently in workforce development, and 43% of respondents do not have a formal workforce development budget. Nearly 60% said their training, development and performance management efforts were not effective and another 55% reported that they lack formal processes for identifying and developing employees with high potential. Clearly something needs to change.
In 2018, invest in workforce development across your organization. Those companies that have robust development cultures also experience the highest employee retention rates, and leadership training programs are particularly important to attracting and retraining younger workers and millennials. You are only as good as your workers and company culture, and by investing in worker training, you will maximize your current resources, discover new talent, and also attract a new pipeline of labor.
#2 – Continue to Embrace Lean Construction
Implementing lean construction methods is easier said than down, but the fundamental goals of eliminating waste and maximizing value align squarely with the needs of the industry. Around the world, as competition heats up and client expectations increase, contractors need to forge new efficiencies and cost savings. Here are the four, basic S’s to keep in mind when jump starting your lean journey:
- Sort out the nonessentials i.e. identify waste – What processes are redundant or can be replaced with automation?
- Set yourself up for success. Collaborate early – and often – with project participants. Embrace cloud-based software to organize plans, schedules, COIs, T&L, change-orders, and RFIs. In 2018, paper blueprints will largely die out.
- Standardize your workflows and stay ahead of dangers by implementing cutting-edge construction technologies. Solutions are available today to automate time and attendance, automatically capture and document workforce and equipment utilization, and document site progress – without valuable human labor.
- Stay patient! The journey to lean is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay committed.
#3 – Make New Tech Your Own
IoT at the jobsite will only increase in 2018, and as construction technologies mature, it is important to refine processes to ensure you are getting the most out of your system. According to research from Fiatech, only 28% of the seventy-five contractors surveyed continued to use the technology at five or more projects. Keep in mind that this was before investment flooded into the construction industry and before tech providers teamed up with builders to create practical, actionable solutions specific to builders’ needs.
In 2018, find a technology champion within your firm! Encourage each employee to take a personal stake in digital solutions and offer rewards for individuals or project teams who identify a solution and stay committed to it. Throw compliance parties or award cool prizes when teams hit performance metrics or goals.
#4 – Make Safety Personal
Rather than talking at your crew about the importance of safety on the job, engage them in a conversation. Why is it important that each worker focuses on safety and doing things the right way? Every worker deserves to return home safely at the end of a productive day and by keeping loved ones at the forefront, you create an engaging, inclusive safety culture.
The Environmental Health and Safety website details three main ways to make workplace safety personal:
- Make it relatable – Tell stories about times when you or someone close to you was injured on the job. Explain how a simple oversight or human error caused this injury. Workers often feel that incidents could never happen to them, but hearing stories from peers they relate to helps put things in perspective. In addition, have project leaders and crews simulate how they would respond to certain safety situations that arrive on site. Every organization conducts evacuation drills, but what about worker injury drills? Acting out what you would do if scaffolding were to collapse or a backloader were to tip over can go a long way.
- Share successes – If someone on your crew successfully spots a hazard and responds appropriately, recognize that employee in front of the larger crew and have them walk everyone through the situation. Keep it positive! A truly sustainable safety culture is not possible when workers fear punishment and only comply when supervisors are watching them.
#5 – Promote the Construction Industry
Last but not least, one of our own goals for 2018 is to continue driving awareness for the innovation and excitement that is happening in construction right now. Construction is fundamental to the global economy, workforce development, supply and demand and infrastructure development. Take pride in what the industry accomplishes, reach out to local schools or organizations to discuss career opportunities in construction, and participate in industry events and meet-ups. Demand innovation and excellence – from yourself, your fellow workers, and service providers. These steps – and the other “resolutions” mentioned here – will boost productivity, safety and profitability, which will naturally elevate the industry’s profile and help shed its image as one of the least digitized industries.
Do you have a resolution for 2018? We’d love to hear it! Tag us @TriaxSpotr on Twitter