Guest Contributor: Ben Schultz, LaborChart
There’s no area in construction that needs “good change” more than resource management — which is the way you plan, manage and allocate your workforce. Your workforce is the largest, most valued, and most costly asset of your business operations. Yet the importance of workforce management can easily get pushed aside among other priorities.
Today, more than ever, contractors need an effective workforce management solution in place for their construction business. Here are three reasons why:
1. To avoid overworking or underworking your people
With the ongoing labor shortage, skilled professionals are hard to come by — so when you do get them, you better make sure to retain them. If you can’t keep your crews at 40 hours a week and need to cut hours or lay off employees, you risk never getting those people back. On the other hand, if you overwork your crews, that can lead to lower production, labor overruns, lower quality, workplace accidents, low morale, poor company culture and the consequences that follow. Not least of those can be the loss of valuable staff.
A workforce management solution can help you efficiently schedule your workforce. For example, you could schedule according to certifications, availability and wages — instead of who is first available, which is not always the most cost-effective or right choice. And the worst part is, without a workforce solution, you may not be able to see inefficiencies until it’s too late to make any significant changes. Which brings us to the next reason.
2. To see the “bad” job before it’s too late to act
It’s happened to the best of us. You are confident with your team, the ramp-down and the labor hours that remain. Then, in the last month of the project, you realize there are no reserves, and there’s a risk of labor overruns. But with just a month to go, it’s too late to do anything about it. If you had known six months earlier, then you could’ve had time to create an alternative plan and bring the project in on budget.
A workforce management platform acts as an early-detection system to spot problems before they happen. You’ll be able to forecast your project needs and see where you need to pull back resources before it’s too late to fix. Imagine being able to correct a budget issue before it becomes a problem — or, at least minimize the damage. That’s what a workforce management solution can help you do.
3. To keep up with ever-changing workforce needs in the field and in the office
Our workforce today is not the same as it was decades ago. Employees want more than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company that knows and understands their strengths, understands they have a life outside of work, seeks and appreciates their input, and — most importantly — respects their time. Efficiency levels for how people operate are also different today than they were 30 years ago. Personal lives outside the office are more of a factor now. Dual income households are the norm, and the ability to know schedules in advance is a huge factor in employee retention. And retention is equally as important as recruitment.Employees want more than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company that knows and understands their strengths, understands they have a life outside of work, seeks and appreciates their input. Click To Tweet
An efficient workforce management solution helps manage specialty and certification information, increase communication, and forecast needs to assign resources appropriately without unnecessary reshuffling of personnel. This consistency prevents musical chairs — so to speak — on your teams. For example, if you assign a person to a project and prematurely move him before he had a chance to complete his work, then that’s a cause for concern. People take pride in finishing what they started, and good workforce management can give them that opportunity so they remain fulfilled where they are and a valuable contributor for a long time.
All in all, if you had the option to have a single source of information for your entire workforce, then why wouldn’t you go for it? In the long run, you (and your workforce) will save time, money, and headaches.
Former electrical contractor Ben Schultz is the co-founder and CEO for LaborChart, a clean, simple platform for construction businesses to manage resource scheduling, forecasting, budget, office-to-field communication and more.