Successful Construction Workforce Management 101

by Matthew Sprague   |   September 30, 2022

Workforce management has become much more vital in the construction industry as the industry grapples with labor shortages and a possible recession. Now more than ever, firms need to move beyond simply scheduling employees on paper or spreadsheets into managing employees with comprehensive digital tools.

e-Builder Enterprise - Construction Management Software Designed for Owners

Successful workforce management in construction involves having the correct business management model in place. Some construction firms are adopting a framework based on people, process and technology. All three are vital to success. You need the right people involved, standard processes in place and the right tools and technology to simplify processes and make your team more effective.

Make Your Construction Team Your Top Priority

Most likely, you haven’t memorized the resumes of all your staff. But by knowing their skills and understanding their work history, you and your supervisors can better staff projects and place the right employees on jobs allowing you to create the best buildings possible.

Information on resumes and certifications can be easily retrieved in a workplace management software system. With this information, you can remind employees to renew certifications, pursue new training, evaluate background checks for certain projects and understand if an upcoming project will be delayed if a much longer commute hampers an employee’s ability to arrive on time.

Workforce management solutions can also increase communication among your teams. They provide visibility into current and future project assignments, allow individuals to view stats on project health and understand whether the project is hitting production actuals or not, depending upon the level of clearance.

Construction workforce management solutions can also help you better plan project transitions. With knowledge of who’s doing what and when workers are in-between tasks or completed tasks allows you to move them to projects that may be behind or those you may begin sooner. They also help you understand when you need to ramp up your workforce or adjust by adding labor with specific skill sets.

Workforce management solutions can also increase communication among your teams. They provide visibility into current and future project assignments, allow individuals to view stats on project health and understand whether the project is hitting production actuals or not, depending upon the level of clearance.

Such systems can also provide knowledge sharing with subcontractors, which not only keeps everyone moving toward the same goal but can lead to better relationships and increase bid submissions.

WorkForce Management

Prioritize Process Improvement

Several research studies about the construction industry have shown that construction has been slow to change their processes compared to other sectors like manufacturing. The industry has failed to evaluate processes, prioritize improvements or direct resources for more effective outcomes. (Sarshar et al. 1999).

Some of the reasons firms have not embarked on process improvement include the one-of-a-kind nature of projects, the widespread use of subcontractors and the temporary nature of some construction activities.

At the same time, however, inaccurate forecasting, unforeseen labor costs, contractor errors, collaboration issues, and other external factors have led to a rather large number of projects going over budget and past deadlines. Many of these inefficiencies can be traced back to poor processes — or workflows — throughout the construction lifecycle.

Consistent processes create predictability within your firm. Standardized processes make success less risky, more uniform and make your firm more efficient, which can help you deliver projects on time. Learn how workforce management can help owners in this guide.

Adopt Project Management Technology to Streamline

Offering employees modern technology to help make their job tasks easier or administrative work faster, results in their time being spent more efficiently and goes a long way towards retaining, and attracting top talent. No one wants to spend extra time filling out paperwork manually, waiting for invoices to get mailed or traveling to a different site to inspect critical documents. Today’s younger workers expect to use digital tools, and if your firm is still operating largely on paper, you won’t be the firm they choose when looking for a job.

Employees also expect you to run an efficient organization. Using project management technology not only provides real-time transparency, but allows you to track project outcomes with accurate cost tracking, customized business process management, and control over project performance management. Understanding all of those aspects greatly increases the ability to deliver projects on time and on budget, which employees appreciate.

No one advocates adopting technology for technology’s sake. You need to understand your firm and evaluate your processes before selecting and implementing technology tools.

Align People, Process, and Technology

Business agility is vital to the survival of today’s organizations. Construction firms that aren’t adopting new technology will eventually fall behind. Workforce management can help you optimize your workforce to its fullest potential and identify new management efficiencies that can make your organization hum.

Construction Workers

When construction firms and owners truly embrace plans incorporating people, process and technology, they will be more efficient, more profitable, and more popular with higher-skilled tradespeople. Doing so is integral to your projects’ and firm’s success and will lead to more on-time and on-budget projects.

Key Topics Covered: workforce management

About the Author

Matthew Sprague
Sr. Product Marketing Manager
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