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Construction companies are always looking for ways to positively impact productivity and ultimately their bottom line. While it’s obvious that improvements to the IT infrastructure would enhance productivity, people make the technology work.

Gallup’s report on the findings of their annual study, “The State of the American Workforce 2018,” found:

  • 30% are engaged and inspired at work, having exceptional managers;
  • 20% are actively disengaged, having managers that make them miserable; and
  • 50% are not engaged or are uninspired by their managers.

Gallup estimates that active disengagement costs the United States $450 billion to $550 billion per year.

Managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement and double the average of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide. Employee engagement is likely to improve in companies that do the following:

  • Hire people who are in alignment with the company’s vision and purpose;
  • Engage employees by acknowledging the importance of their contributions to achieving the company’s goals;
  • Develop employee strengths. Focus on their innate talents instead of forcing employees to conform and do work that does not allow them to use their talents; and
  • Enhance employee well-being. Managers should consider coaching their team instead of taking a command and control attitude. Employees want to know that management appreciates and values them. Employees also want to know that management genuinely cares them as a person.

PlanGrid and FMI conducted a study in April 2018 of more than 600 owners of construction companies globally. In their report of the findings, “Construction Disconnected,” it’s estimated that construction teams in the United States will lose $177 billion in non-productive labor activities.

  • Construction workers lose almost two full working days each week solving avoidable issues and searching for project information.
  • Almost half of all rework is due to poor communication among project stakeholders and poor project information.
  • Workers are not taking full advantage of mobile devices and IT investments.

IT investments were intended to provide better access to data (58 percent of respondents) and improve productivity (57 percent of respondents). The study found that weak end-user adoption of technology is an issue. Although 75 percent of the construction companies surveyed give project managers and field superintendents mobile devices, only 18 percent of firms reported consistently using mobile apps to access project data and collaborate. Instead, devices are used for sending emails, texts or phone calls.

Respondents indicated that they spend only 11.2 hours on optimal activities such as project execution and coordination. As few as 8.2 hours are spent on communicating with project stakeholders, and seven hours are spent organizing the jobsite and people.

Time spent on non-optimal activities included 5.5 hours looking for project data, 4.7 hours on conflict resolution and 3.9 hours dealing with mistakes and rework. Thirty-five percent of contractors surveyed indicated that too much time (14.1 hours per week) was wasted on non-productive activities.

Respondents claimed that poor project data and miscommunication on projects were responsible for 48 percent of all rework in construction, accounting for a total of $31.3 billion in rework in the United States alone in 2018. The remaining 52% of rework was caused by other factors including design changes or issues, faulty or delayed materials, unforeseen conditions and more. Poor communication represents an annual cost of $17 billion to the U.S. construction industry and poor project data represents $14.3 billion.

Gallup states companies that invest in their employees’ greatest talents to optimize their performance are generally more profitable than those that do not. Gallup also found organizations that create a culture of well-being in their workplaces help employees become more engaged and thrive. Investing in employee selection, strengths and well-being, as well as engagement initiatives, can produce amazing results.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and it does not constitute professional advice. Information contained in this article is not intended or written to be used as tax advice and cannot be used by the recipient to avoid penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. We strongly advise you to seek professional assistance with respect to your specific issue(s).


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