Creating a change management plan for your construction company
Our industry is in a state of change.
In the past few years, construction companies have dealt with many challenges. Record buyer demand, material and supply shortages and labor difficulties still continue. Now, there’s a possibility of global recessions.
Home buyers are looking for ways to undertake projects in more budget-friendly ways. Meanwhile, construction leaders are seeing a need to scale and improve the way they work to keep up with fast-changing markets.
For a business to go against these obstacles, there needs to be an understanding of change management. To do even more than survive, there needs to be an actionable change management plan. Putting both pieces together is an important step in securing long-term success for your construction company.
The benefits of change management for construction companies
Change is rarely met without pushback. It’s viewed as complicated, unnecessary and disruptive. With the growing list of challenges facing your industry, it’s easy to shy away from rocking the boat.
But change is worth the work.
The truth is, almost every construction business has an opportunity to improve how their business functions. With a change management mindset, your company is better prepared when presented with a new challenge.
Successful change management helps construction companies:
- Adapt to new challenges and market conditions
- Reduce financial risk associated with challenges
- Outperform competitors and secure new business
- Maintain profits
How to drive organizational change
A framework for an organizational change plan includes four key components.
All change must be purposeful. Especially in a tight labor market, you don’t want to start changing any processes without first knowing the reason why it’s necessary. The consequences could lead to even higher employee turnover.
Start by doing your research.
- Comb through your financial statements
- Talk to your employees, suppliers, subcontractors and clients
- Examine industry trends
- Take note of any gaps you find, then dig into them deeper
- When possible, tie these gaps to tangible numbers
If a job is over budget, zero in on the added expense. If a job is less profitable than expected, make note of the difference in lost revenue.
While money isn’t the only reason to launch organizational change, it’s a factor to consider. It can be easier to get buy-in from stakeholders across your company if you have a number you can point back to as the reason driving the need for change.
Effective change takes planning. Regardless of what changes you’re hoping to make, involve as many stakeholders as you can from across your construction company.
Some roles to consider including:
- Project managers
- Finance staff
- Safety managers
- Construction workers
- Procurement specialists
Different points of view can help generate more problem-solving ideas. With a variety of roles and responsibilities involved, you can identify ripple effects any change might create early on.
During this step, assign responsibilities and timelines. Even if milestones are flexible, it’s important to set expectations and next points for follow up to keep change an action, not an idea.
When you include your team as a part of the action planning process, you’re supporting a growth mindset. This is a strong foundation for positive company culture. Plus, any future changes may be met with less opposition.
Often, the real resistance to change can be chalked up to fear.
It’s not uncommon for employees to react to news of change with fear of layoffs or reductions in resources. This is especially true if the proposed change involves a major process improvement initiative.
Acknowledge those fears, but head them off if you can. Lay out the reason for the change and have a measurable, realistic goal already identified. Be vocal about how improvements will benefit your workforce. Welcome questions from your team and address them quickly. This helps create an environment of trust, eliminates confusion and prevents any rumor mills from slowing your progress.
This is not a one-and-done step. Make a plan to communicate often with your staff. Keep them updated on the status of your goal, roadblocks you’ve met and what’s next.
Don’t forget to celebrate wins when you have them – building morale throughout the process will help encourage your team that their efforts are contributing to the goal you’ve set.
The only constant is change. As you make changes throughout your business, you may discover your plan needs adjustments along the way.
What’s important to remember is that it’s okay to pivot. The time and energy you’ve put into steps 1-3 should not mean you put a plan into place if it isn’t working.
Continue to collect the data points you’ve identified during your research. If you’re not seeing an improvement, try something else. Think of it as another change order for your business – sometimes a pain to work through in the moment but worth it in the end.
Construction management software: A use case for change
One of the quickest ways to improve workflows is through an industry-specific software solution.
Construction software is designed to meet needs like reducing overhead expenses and improving the way tasks are completed. Getting started with the tools takes time, and the work doesn’t stop after go-live.
To get the most out of your investment, make sure you’re understanding what features are available to you. Many companies, knowingly or not, only use a small portion of the tools available to them. This could mean you’re missing out on more opportunities to streamline and improve operations.
Buildertrend is dedicated to continually adding value to our software. That means there’s always something new to learn. Use any number of our ongoing education efforts and keep an eye out for opportunities you can take back to your own operations.
1. Buildertrend Learning Academy: These free online courses offer our clients an easy way to onboard our software solutions. Each course includes different tips on what you’ll want to tackle first and quick-win features to implement. Plus, it’s self-guided, meaning you can complete sessions as it works best in your schedule.
2. Webinars and trainings: Since we’re enhancing our platform all the time, we know it’s important to talk through features and processes on an ongoing basis. That’s why we offer a continuous training and webinar calendar, where our experts dive deep into specific topics and improvements.
3. Onsite Consulting: Every business is different, and every business is busy. That’s why we’ve developed an expert consulting team that can come to you when and where you need us. With this customized approach, we work with your team to tailor your software use to your unique business needs.
4. Buildertrend University: Sometimes, it works better to learn alongside your peers. Buildertrend University is a two-day conference for our customers at our headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. With conference dates throughout the year, we offer an opportunity for you to learn and network with companies experiencing the same challenges as you. Combine these learnings with one-on-one coaching sessions, and you’ll be a super user of our software in no time.
Is your construction business ready for change?
As you look for opportunities to strengthen your business and adapt to new challenges in the industry, keep this information in mind. Even after you’ve put change management plans into action, don’t forget to continue learning and pushing for improvements.
If you’re ready to start making your own plans for change, but you’re not sure where to begin, start with Buildertrend. Our solutions are built to drive powerful results for construction companies like yours. Schedule a demo today to learn more.
blog | 4 min readJan 30, 2023
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