By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
Running a successful construction business has many challenges, and one of the biggest is maintaining good communications among the “scattered” members of your team. You have construction workers spread around on various job sites, some employees back at the office handling scheduling and payroll, and others visiting customers on-site or at their homes or offices to draw up plans or inspect finished work. How do you ensure everyone is on the same page so your business can handle problems and jump on opportunities quickly?
The first step in improving employee communications is to set expectations for your team. Train your construction employees in what to do when they arrive at a job site, leave a job site, take breaks, want time off or need to call in sick, as well as how to handle emergencies that require leaving a job site unexpectedly. Who needs to be notified? What systems and/or tools should be used to do so? (Email? Text message? Phone call? In-vehicle radios?)
Be ready to respond quickly.
Change happens quickly in the construction industry, and you have to be ready to move. For example, a sudden rainstorm could mean your team has to stop working on a roofing job—but now what? Unless you want them to sit idle for several hours, you’ll need to send them to work on an indoor job. Using an employee scheduling app that makes it easy to quickly switch out schedules means you can always react instantly. It becomes easier to switch your team from one site to another, or send employees to deal with emergencies (like a burst pipe on a job site) on the spot.
Keep everyone in the loop.
When you do change employees’ schedules, make sure everyone affected—including the employee, their team members, and their supervisors—is alerted. Look for scheduling apps that send notifications by text, push or email when changes are made so everyone involved is up to speed.
Consider the total time various communication methods take.
Making a quick phone call may seem like the fastest way to let someone back at the office know that a team member is moving to another job and why. But once the call is over, someone has to log the information for time tracking, scheduling, payroll, or other purposes. That takes additional time (and can also compromise accuracy). Instead, look for technology solutions that capture communications as they take place so you don’t have to record them again.
Streamline processes whenever you can.
Choose tools that simplify communication processes and information sharing. For example, instead of clocking in crew members on a job site one by one or dealing with a bunch of paper timecards, crew-based time tracking and scheduling lets your supervisors clock a whole crew in and out, move them from one job site to another, and share the information with the home office with just a few taps on a smartphone.
Let the GPS do it.
With today’s technology, you don’t need words to communicate. GPS time tracking tools enable your employees to tell you where they are without doing anything. Instead, their smartphones do the talking by showing you at a glance where employees are any time they’re clocked in.
Better communication keeps your employees safe, your costs down and your construction business profitable.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.