Getting your construction team on board with adopting technology

Have you shown a shiny new app to your on-site teams and been met with blank faces? Or worse, flat-out refusal to even consider using a digital tool? After all, construction is an old industry with plenty of ‘secret sauces’ to perfect quality builds. Don’t people spend too much time on devices anyway? Isn’t it too much work to get everyone using a new tool? 

Construction and technology resistance – why do builders hate tech?  

Construction is an industry that has a lot of practices based in tradition; processes have been refined over time and repeated to deliver quality work and making changes to these processes can seem to be counter-productive to growth (it’s always worked for us, so why change?). It’s not an industry that people go into expecting they’ll need to be ‘tech savvy’ - workers are quite happy to get on with what they are doing without what can be perceived as additional process.  

The last decade has seen an incredible rate of change thanks to external factors, though. Building regulation changes have been pushed through because of government sustainability initiatives and safety concerns after high-profile incidents involving poor practices. And then came the pandemic, forcing a lot of people to work digitally and technology adoption became an inevitable – not a choice.  

The lack of digital skills among the construction workforce together with a historical tradition of tried-and-true practices means that the road to adopting dedicated tech solutions hasn’t been as smooth for the industry.  

And this resistance means that some construction companies are falling behind, struggling to meet high-pressure demands while relying on out-of-date processes. 

You’re probably already using construction technology 

Despite a resistance to technology overall, construction does rely on digital-based processes to support their ways of working. The growth of BIM (Building Information Modeling) has helped teams to better collaborate in real-time, while cloud-based document storage like DropBox and Sharepoint has reduced the amount of paper-based working on-site. However, without the bespoke features and support from construction-focused software, there are limitations to these apps that can cause more problems than they solve.  

How construction leaders can support teams in adopting digital construction tools 

The goal of any construction company looking to adopt technology should be to implement a solution in a way that supports processes while easing the pains associated with paper-based working. There’s already a lot of choice out there so it’s easy to jump into the first solution that promises the world, but as with any change, approaching it strategically is the best way to ensure success. 

Assess your current ways of working 

If you’re currently experiencing delays and increased costs on every project, you should take the time to identify the source of the issues. It often comes down to documentation management, communication, collaboration or a combination of all three. What systems have you tried to implement and what were the challenges? Solutions like DropBox are great as an introduction to managing document processes but lack of cohesive structure can mean that teams quickly fall into the trap of bulk document uploads that can confuse staff on-site – particularly those who aren’t digitally aware. Are there things you’ve tried that have worked but you need to develop them? Teams often use email or WhatsApp to communicate with works well when everyone has a mobile phone, but searching for the right information can be time-consuming when there’s hundreds of updates.  

Start small and get employee buy-in 

How comfortable are your team with digital solutions? It’s likely there are workers that have never used a bespoke construction app before, while others use devices with ease. Knowing where the skills gap is in your wider team means you can see where you’re likely to have the easiest buy-in from employees and where you will need to consider additional support. Being able to demonstrate the benefits of construction-specific technology before rolling out any solution is essential – people are far more likely to ‘get on board’ if they understand why they are being asked to adopt a new way of working.  

Starting small might mean having a ‘digital champion’, where you have one team member that is happy to support others in adopting any new technology and can clearly communicate the benefits, but more importantly can have an honest and open conversation with everyone to explain why changes are being made.  

Choose the right software 

This has been covered a lot and your choice of project management solution isn’t likely to be a one-size-fits-all solution – you should focus on the biggest pains you have and find a technology partner that can help you address these first. What do you need right now but don’t have? What is essential to continue delivering projects?  What would give you a competitive advantage and support growth?  

Need more support in choosing the right software? Our BUYERS GUIDE can help. 

Having a clear implementation strategy 

If you just roll-out a new tech solution and expect everyone to just pick it up straight away, you’re going to have a bad time. Having a clear path for implementation gives everyone time to get on the same page and will instill confidence in your team that things are being done properly – and not just for the sake of progress. Here’s where having a product champion will help; someone in your organisation that works closely with your solution provider to map out implementation and plan when and where training will be needed. The goal should be for full adoption to make the most of digital tools, but not at the cost of alienating your workforce. 

Adapting and growing  

Once you’re on-board with a solution that is helping you manage workflows, run reports and provide teams with a clear process, regular check-ins with your solution provider can mean the difference between ‘doing well’ and leveraging technology to support growth. Getting regular feedback from workers using your tool is vital to understand where there still may be resistance – or gives you examples of where changes have had a positive impact.  

Technology adoption is largely about a cultural mindset and being able to demonstrate clear benefits will be a defining factor in your success. Fonn has a team of construction experts that both understand the industry and can help set you up for digital success. More than that, we are a digital partner for life, growing and adapting with the ways you work to ensure that every build project is better is completed on-time, under budget, and with healthy margins.  

Ready to take the next step? Our knowledgeable team is ready to help you get set up fast - less time spent getting everyone on board and more time spent getting things done.

 

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