Managers in every industry should be well aware that embracing technology is no longer optional. Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of the world. Adopting it early continues to be a key ingredient for successful companies.
The construction industry has long been behind the curve in utilizing the technological tools available. For many construction personnel, staying in a world of paper plans, clipboards, and a scale ruler is more comfortable than learning a new system or software. Even forward-thinking contractors looking to adopt technology for their team will find roadblocks. One study found that the top roadblocks to adopting technology were interruption of current projects and objectives, resistance to adoption by end-users, and lack of training. Yet, the same study showed 62% agreed that embracing technology leads to more success, and 63% believe that it will give their company a leg up on the competition.
Your project managers, superintendents, and quality control staff are squeezed for time, and most are not keen on changing the way they do things. Here are five ways to get beyond the roadblocks and encourage tech adoption for your team.
1. Know Your Team
We all know that person who runs from change like they’re in the last leg in the Olympic 400 meter relay. Maybe you are that person. Whether you have a team of five or 500, there will usually be at least one who wants to keep doing things the way they’ve always done them.
What is the point in changing something that has worked for the last 40 years?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I am set to retire in a few years. Why learn something new?
In implementing new technologies, it will be important to know who on your team is hesitant to change and who is poised to spearhead tech adoption for the next generation.
You might consider selecting an individual or group of employees who become point people for research, development, and implementation of the new technology. When coworkers are enthusiastically ushering in the new technology, those avoiding change have a better chance of spinning a 180 and buying in.
When you know your team, you can address their various needs and create an environment where everyone is ready to take on the newest tools in the company.
2. Choose the Technology that Fits Your Needs
Before buying any new equipment, software, or service, make sure it’s the right fit. Choosing the right technology may not be as easy as Amazon Prime, but it’s important to take the time to find something that will serve your company’s needs and help you achieve your goals.
Not every contractor is going to adopt the use of drones to better manage multiple facets of construction and cut costs. But every contractor must be looking for the right technology to integrate into the workplace and push forward into the future.
To cultivate adoption, the right technology will revamp current objectives and operations rather than a complete overhaul. Superintendents, project managers, and managers should find it intuitive and useful for their daily tasks and easy to use. Showing your team that the new tech will not only enhance their job tasks but also benefit them personally by allowing them more time and freedom, you’re ahead of the game in encouraging adoption.
3. Adapt Your Training
Successfully training employees on new technology is almost certainly not going to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Contractors employ a variety of people with a wide range of technology skills. Training should be tailored to each skill set, group, and department.
While most of your workers don’t have time for your three-hour luncheon about the upcoming tech change, send out a survey asking how they prefer to be trained. Adapt your plan to fit their needs. Offering a variety of training methods will help ensure buy-in from everyone.
Pair up your tech-savvy junior team members with the senior employees for a win-win mentoring opportunity. Send your point person out to the job site for quick training sessions with the field crew. Be creative, ask for questions, go slow. If your team is not equipped or feels behind the eight-ball with this new tech, they’re probably not going to use it.
4. Give it Time
New technology is not a magic wand that is going to change your company overnight. So don’t try to make it. As one leadership expert writes, you will find more success by slowing down the process of change - go slow to go fast.
When possible, consider rolling out your changes gradually. If you are implementing a new all-in-one construction management software, push it out to one or two project teams first. This will allow these “pilot” teams to gain some experience with the software and share its usefulness with the whole team. Or, only reveal the simplest and best tools of the new software at first, allowing users to gain affection for the new software rather than overwhelming them with everything the new software offers at once.
It will take time for your employees to learn and perfect your new technology. That’s ok - let time do its thing.
5. Celebrate the Good
For a complete buy-in of the new technology, find ways to measure and celebrate the successes. Hopefully, you won’t have to look very hard.
If the technology you’ve introduced is intended to help your team do what they do better, then talk about the ways it’s doing just that. Celebrate the good that is coming from the change. According to Harvard Business Review, even the small wins can make all the difference.
Recognizing the efforts of your team and celebrating the ways the new technology is working for them will help to generate momentum around the technology and foster its adoption.
Utilizing technology will be one of the key facets of future success in the construction industry. These five steps will help your team navigate the complexities of new technology in the workplace so that it can be fully embraced and leveraged to drive your company forward!
August 11th, 2021 |