Lead your team to incorporate innovations and thrive in an increasingly changing industry.
The construction industry is ever-evolving and embracing new technology is vital for staying competitive and improving project outcomes. As a manager, the responsibility falls on your shoulders to lead your team by adopting these new tools and methods. Your team may find change daunting, but with the right approach, you can confidently help them navigate these adjustments.
Understanding the Need for New Technology
It’s essential to recognize the significance of integrating new construction technology. These innovations are about more than being trendy — they offer efficiency, accuracy, and enhanced safety in the construction process. Technologies such as building information modeling (BIM), drones for site surveying, 3D printing, project management software, and advanced construction materials can streamline operations and improve overall project delivery.
The construction industry can greatly benefit from advanced technologies like wireless, solar-powered cameras, and high-end software. These technologies have the advantage of improving productivity, safety, and security, which is essential as the construction industry has more injuries and fatalities than any other sector.
New technology offers faster project completion, cost reductions, and improved resource management. Additionally, these tools provide invaluable data insights that support informed decision-making.
Acknowledging the Learning Curve
It’s natural to feel hesitant or overwhelmed by the idea of introducing new technologies. However, it’s crucial to remember that everyone experiences a learning curve when adapting to something new. Acknowledge the potential challenges, but remember you and your team can master these skills with time and dedication.
Start Small and Scale Gradually
Instead of overhauling all systems all at once, consider starting small. Choose one or two technologies that align with your immediate needs or ongoing projects. This gradual approach allows your team to familiarize themselves with the new tools without feeling inundated.
Training and Support
Invest in proper training for your team. Many tech companies provide training sessions, tutorials, and customer support to assist in the learning process. Encourage your team to attend these sessions and allocate time for practice and exploration.
However, dealing with resistance to new technology is a common challenge in the industry. If you encounter resistance from someone on your team, here are some strategies to address and mitigate the reluctance:
- Understand the concerns: Research shows that most employees dislike change, especially regarding new technology and rapid digitization. Initiate a conversation to understand the root of their resistance. It might stem from a lack of understanding or concerns about the technology’s impact on their role. Listening to their concerns is crucial to find a resolution.
- Provide clear benefits: Explain the benefits and advantages of the new technology. Emphasize how it can streamline processes, increase efficiency, improve safety, and potentially even make their job easier. You can be persuasive by using concrete examples and case studies demonstrating successful implementation.
- Ongoing support: Offer comprehensive training and support. Sometimes, resistance is due to a lack of confidence in using the technology. Provide additional resources and mentorship to ensure they feel adequately prepared.
- Highlight successes: Share success stories from other team members or companies who have embraced the technology. Real-life examples can inspire and illustrate the potential positive impact.
- Encourage experimentation: Allow team members to experiment and explore the new tech within a safe environment. This freedom can help them familiarize themselves with the tools and alleviate their apprehensions.
- Address concerns and provide reassurance: Reassure them that their skills and expertise are still valuable. Technology is a complement, not a replacement, to their knowledge and experience. Address their concerns about job security or changes in their role caused by technology.
- Create a supportive environment: Foster an open and supportive culture where team members feel comfortable discussing their difficulties and uncertainties. Encourage sharing experiences, learning from mistakes, and supporting one another in the learning process.
- Acknowledge and incorporate feedback: Act on the feedback you receive. If team members express concerns or suggest improvements, take their feedback seriously and, when applicable, include their suggestions in the implementation plan.
- Patience and persistence: Change takes time. Be patient and persistent in your efforts to encourage change. Sometimes, it may take a while for individuals to embrace new technology fully.
The Impact of Rejecting New Technology
It’s not just about the advantages of embracing technological advances. Rejecting or avoiding new technology can have multifaceted and far-reaching impacts on a company or construction team.
Outdated processes often result in inefficiencies, leading to delays and increased project timelines. Manual methods can be time-consuming and prone to errors, hampering the overall efficiency of the construction process. Construction technology can be a massive time saver. A large 3D printer can build a concrete house from the ground up in less than 24 hours for a fraction of the cost.
Without modern technology, construction projects might incur higher costs due to inefficiencies, rework, and increased labor hours. New technology can often optimize processes, reducing costs in the long run. Some technologies, like Building Information Modeling (BIM), can result in 10%-20% cost savings.
Companies that don’t adopt new technology risk falling behind their competitors who embrace innovative tools. This avoidance can affect the ability to win bids, attract clients, and stay competitive in the market.
Digital transformations, like BIM, have become so popular that the market is growing by 11% annually, demonstrating just how many governments and companies are adopting the new technology. You must stay on top of digital trends to stay relevant in the industry.
Advanced technology often has safety features and tools designed to improve on-site safety. The inherent risks associated with construction sites underscore the importance of innovative solutions that can proactively identify and mitigate potential hazards. Not leveraging these advancements can put workers at risk and increase the likelihood of workplace accidents.
Advanced technologies — like smart sensors, wearables, software, and surveillance systems — provide real-time monitoring, offering a comprehensive approach to protecting personnel and assets. Taking advantage of these safety-focused technologies allows construction companies to prioritize the well-being of their workforce, enhance operational resilience, and promote a culture of safety. In an industry where every precaution matters, integrating technology geared toward safety and security is an essential measure.
Lack of Data-Driven Insights
Modern construction tech usually includes data analytics and reporting capabilities. Without these tools, decision-making might rely on outdated or insufficient information, hindering the ability to make informed decisions.
Difficulty Attracting Talent
Skilled workers are drawn to companies that accept modern technology. Not adopting these tools might make it challenging to attract and retain top talent in the industry.
Missed Opportunities for Innovation
New construction technology continuously evolves. Refusing it means missing out on innovative solutions that could revolutionize the industry and improve project outcomes.
Inability to Meet Client Expectations
Clients increasingly expect you to deliver construction projects on time, within budget, and of high quality. Embracing new technology allows for meeting and exceeding these expectations. Failure to do so can result in client dissatisfaction and loss of future business.
The construction industry accounts for roughly 40% of global CO2 emissions. New construction technologies often focus on sustainability and reducing the environmental impact. Not using these innovations can result in a missed opportunity to contribute to a more eco-friendly construction approach.
Step Into the Future Confidently
As a manager in the construction industry, your role in guiding your team through integrating new technology is pivotal. Embrace these changes with confidence, understanding the potential benefits far outweigh the initial hurdles. You can lead your team to successfully incorporate these innovations and thrive in an increasingly changing industry.
About Rose Morrison
Rose Morrison is a freelance writer with a passion for sustainable building and innovative construction technologies. She has interviewed dozens of industry professionals to get a closer insight into the current challenges facing the built industry and developing strategies for overcoming them. Rose has over 5 years experience writing in the industry and is the current managing editor of Renovated.com. She also regularly contributes to a number of other publications, such as NCCER, The Safety Mag, and Geospatial World. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.