The last few years have seen rapid changes in the construction industry. On top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has suffered from a severe labor shortage for some time. It’s challenging to find skilled workers to complete projects, and delayed timelines are causing stress for builders as demand ticks back up.
Analysts project the industry needs more than 2 million more employees to make up for the current shortage, according to the Home Builder Institute. Until then, delays and uncertainty risk client dissatisfaction and lost profits for builders and contractors. Thankfully, new construction technologies may help improve productivity and collaboration for the existing workforce. Tech can be a builder’s greatest tool in combating the labor shortage. That’s why it’s critical to take the time to train construction workers on how to use these digital solutions.
Since millions of new workers won’t arrive overnight, builders should lean into construction software for project efficiency. Here’s more information about training construction workers on the emerging technologies that will revolutionize the industry.
What new technologies do workers need to be trained on?
Many construction businesses have started digitizing their process in the past few years. Two primary reasons for this accelerated tech adoption? It’s simple. Construction teams want to communicate effectively with everyone involved in a build and also speed up projects with minimal disruption. But where should you start?
Here are just some of the emerging technologies in the construction industry that various groups of workers will likely need proper training on:
- Construction project management software like Buildertrend
- Worker safety
- Connected job sites
- Internet of Things connectivity
- Fleet management
Naturally, these are only a few examples of tech being leveraged within the industry.
Construction sites are becoming more sophisticated with the help of the technologies listed above and others like automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
Tech construction training helps with recruiting, not just retention and skills training. New tech can help attract potential employees to the industry, yet another method to improve the massive labor shortage. Skilled workers will be the key component of solving the shortfall.
How to train construction workers on new technologies
Training employees on the latest technology leads to higher productivity levels and efficiency, meaning that the same construction crew can complete more projects in less time.
Construction technologies are becoming more sophisticated and will require a unique program for employee training. Defining the purpose and job roles related to unique technologies will be key. While equipment operators may need to pursue one type of specialized construction training, managers need another.
The following tips can help businesses plan an effective training program for construction workers. We’re talking about one that sets everyone up for success without overwhelming them by implementing change without buy-in or enthusiasm.
1. Embrace the learning curve
It can take some time for even experienced employees to make it through a learning curve regarding new technologies, whether it’s software in the office or hardware used on a job site.
Now is the best time for upper management and lower-level employees to practice patience and understand that learning the ins and outs of new software takes time. Making mistakes and learning from them is essential — it’s better to make these errors during training and not out on a job site. Learn to work with the learning curve instead of against it.
2. Describe the benefits of using new technology
The last thing management should do is make workers feel like change is being implemented without clear purpose. Outline the benefits of using new construction technology, such as augmented reality (AR), digital twins and 3D printing. Each piece of tech being introduced into operations offers some benefit.
This does wonders for clearing up misunderstandings before they happen. For example, make it clear that implementing project management software isn’t just for the sake of doing something different — it can actually improve client communications and let builders focus on getting the work done instead of putting out customer service fires.
Need another example of leading with the benefits? Equipment operators may feel their expertise is being questioned with fleet management software — but let them know they’re both saving the company money on fuel costs and saving themselves time and stress by preventing equipment downtime. Management technologies are to make jobs easier, not subject workers to more monitoring.
No matter the digital tools you’re implementing, the principle stays the same. Employees want to know they’re going through tech-focused construction training for a reason or to reach some end goal. Explain that new tech allows employees to work more efficiently and complete projects faster. Describe the benefits to keep workers motivated and engaged during the training process.
3. Plan a training program
Now that you have buy-in, create the training outline. Instead of implementing new tech and letting employees fend for themselves, create a viable program. Here are some tips for building one out:
- Define company goals
- Plan and track employee training
- Train in order of importance
- Use multimedia tools, such as Google Slides or PowerPoint for presentations
- Make education a part of orientation
Some organizations may choose to lead in-person training sessions, while others may look to virtual education solutions. Whatever works best for your team, do your best to keep programs engaging and easy to attend, with hands-on opportunities to put these new skills to practice in the field.
4. Actively seek feedback
Finally, don’t forget to seek out your team’s thoughts on new rollouts. It’s vital to consider using feedback forms to understand where training for construction could be improved for the future. Management teams should listen to positive and negative feedback and make changes accordingly.
Anonymous feedback is often the best for receiving unfiltered input, but day-to-day communication can also help management teams get a feel for employee interest in new systems. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about workers’ experiences and help them feel comfortable coming to project managers with obstacles that can be addressed in later training.
Try customized construction technology training with Buildertrend
When you switch to Buildertrend, your team will see why it’s a leading, all-in-one construction software. However, many of the above principles apply in our ability to assist organizations with their new technology adoption.
Businesses with a plan for independent training can find resources including training videos and written tutorials, creating an easy-to-implement solution for onboarding the full team. For those that want more support, live webinars are offered on a monthly basis or to view on demand, taking the onus off managers.
Finally, Buildertrend’s award-winning customer success team can answer questions and help users learn to succeed. New technology can be a breeze to adopt with access to a wide range of clear, helpful resources and one-on-one support.
Employees using new technology to improve operations
New construction technologies aim to make project completion more attainable and efficient while reducing the need for more resources. But this new tech’s only as reliable as its users, which is why comprehensive training is needed.
Consider using the tips above when developing a training program for employees, and understand that it will take some time for tech to be successfully implemented. With the right approach, implementing tech in construction can help the industry reach new heights in operational and financial success.