Construction companies know that the future of the industry is digital, but there is a widespread struggle to get employees on board with technology solutions.
Effective technology adoption begins long before purchase and is backed by comprehensive support solutions and thoughtful implementation. There are specific strategies that can facilitate adherence, including:
- Identify the problems the technology needs to solve by asking internal stakeholders for feedback on the specific challenges they face.
- Choose a technology partner and solution that understands and aligns with your organization’s specific needs. It is also essential to have ongoing support and training.
- Introduce technology to a small group of cross-functional employees to become advocates for the larger team.
Here’s what each of these best practices looks like for driving employee adoption of technology:
Go to the source: What are employee pain points?
Before looking for technological solutions, construction companies must first understand the problem they are trying to solve. What are the issues and what do the players in the construction landscape really need? Not want, but need?
To answer these questions, it is better to go to the source. Ask employees for their opinion. Send a company-wide survey or select a small team to work with through the decision-making process. Be sure to speak to people in various positions to get different perspectives on business challenges and to identify the underlying causes. It is only once the problems have been clearly identified that a technological choice must be made.
Here’s an example of what it looks like: Many contractors and subcontractors are asked to submit daily work reports and equipment maintenance requests based on what happened in the field. However, they often find that the reports cannot be filled out accurately because they cannot remember everything that is usually collected on the forms. Companies facing this situation should seek to adopt a technology solution that supports real-time data collection and reporting from a tablet or smartphone in the field. It helps save time and improve communication with customers because teams can immediately access immediately available data.
The problem of siled solutions – and what to do about them
Construction technology is a booming industry that continues to experience significant growth. For this reason, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of software options currently available.
A best practice is for businesses to focus on finding a solution that resolves their identified issues. There are many point solutions that only do one thing. However, the reality is that companies need an end-to-end solution to manage their workforce, assets, security and compliance, and workflows.
Functionality should also be considered. In addition to solving your identified problems, solutions should be practical, easy to use, and compatible with existing software. Cloud-based systems allow users to access the platform through any Wi-Fi enabled device. Programs with a mobile app make field data capture convenient for on-site workers using the equipment they already have. Be sure to review existing programs your company already uses, such as HR and payroll software, and look for platforms that integrate with them.
Software is only part of a technology solution; the other part is support. After purchase, you will need services such as setup, training, and customer support for effective implementation. That’s why choosing the right technology company is just as important as choosing the right technology product. You want a company with strong support services that you can build an ongoing relationship with to get the most out of your technology experience.
Look for companies that begin product training during the sales process. They should illustrate why their product is a good fit for your business through live demos and Q&A sessions that address your specific business needs.
Be sure to browse their educational library as well. While live support is a great option, many users prefer to troubleshoot issues themselves first. Look for materials that address common issues and barriers and that these materials come in different formats through videos and print materials.
Businesses looking for additional support can look for solutions that offer dedicated Account Managers or Success Managers. This service provides customers with a dedicated point of contact for support. Often, these maintainers provide in-person or virtual training, notify you of platform updates and new features, and act as a general knowledge base for the software.
Support services vary from company to company; some charge extra for additional assistance. Others require customers to be a certain size to qualify for specific services, such as dedicated account managers. Do your research and consider the options available to you throughout the sales process.
Build trust with internal technical advocates
When introducing technology to the field, it’s wise to start small. Choose a small group of people to be early adopters of the technology. The technology of force-feeding a large group of people at once can be problematic and demotivating. Starting small ensures problems are solved faster, and the small group of people feel privileged to be chosen to participate in the adoption of new technologies. Be sure to include employees from each department who will use technology consistently.
Another tactic is to include employees who are resistant to new technologies. The successful conversion of opponents will build confidence in your decision among other workers.
Once they successfully embrace the technology, they will be the biggest advocates for the rest of the team on the pitch. Additionally, they can act as trainers and additional resources for the rest of their departments.
Be clear in your communication throughout the technology implementation process. Explain how your employees will benefit and be specific about their needs. For example, a common complaint in the construction industry for business owners is late information for payment requests; faster payment processing is a great feature to highlight.
Avoid using vague, general language like improving revenue or increasing productivity. Be specific about what this technology will do for your employees. Does it make certain tasks faster? Does it simplify a process? Does it provide additional information that will make it easier to complete the tasks? Not only will specific language demonstrate that you have listened to your workers’ needs, but it will also give them clearer expectations.
Adopting technology doesn’t have to be an uphill battle for construction companies looking to modernize their workforce. Companies should work with their employees to identify their biggest challenges and conduct thorough research on potential suppliers. This will help organizations find the best platform to meet their specific needs and ensure they are backed by a technology company that acts as a strategic partner. These best practices are a surefire way to gain meaningful employee buy-in when implementing new technology.
Marko Tomic is CTO at Assignar