6 Tips for Getting Your Workers to Adopt Construction Technology
Over the past several years construction technology has grown and improved. As a whole, it’s making companies more productive with fewer resources. And as it becomes easier to use, more construction businesses are opting to switch to technology solutions to meet their needs. But new technology is only as effective as its users, and if people aren’t using “The Tool” correctly, it won’t work. The number one reason companies stated for not successfully adopting technology was the “lack of urgency” according to MIT’s Sloan Management Review.
“Urgency” shouldn’t be the only reason to adopt technology (sometimes it isn’t enough), so here are six ways to help get your workers to adopt construction technology.
1. User-Friendly Functionality and Workflow
Before implementing a new software application at your company, it’s important to do a lot of research. You must clearly understand and see how user-friendly the features you need are, and how intuitive it is. If you have a lot of younger workers or technology friendly workers in your force, then the user-friendliness will be higher. They have an interest in technology and don’t mind poking around to see how the new tech works. If you have more workers that aren’t tech-friendly, then you need to consider that as well. The goal is for full adoption. If the software program is too complicated for them to work, they might give up. Make sure the application is built for your workflows and intuitively designed for subcontractors. Many applications in the construction market look cool but are really designed for general contractors and their needs.
2. Highlight the Benefits
You’ve done the research, you’ve seen multiple demonstrations, and you’ve probably conducted a trial of the software. You know what the benefits of using the software program will bring. You know how many hours a week your business can save. However, your workers don’t necessarily know the strategic benefits unless you clearly communicate them to the entire team. That’s why it’s important to explain the benefits to them on a business and practical level. Provide them with the big picture (aka strategic benefits) and consequences if you don’t have a successful implementation. How much time will they save individually? Will they be able to go home faster? How will the construction technology make their jobs or lives easier? When you highlight the benefits of the technology on both levels (strategic and practical), it is easier to convince workers to implement it.
3. Starting Small (aka Micro-Learning) – Feature Specific
According to a Forbes article, one of the easiest ways to get your team to adopt new construction technology is by training them one or two features at a time. We can call these micro-learning sessions, but they shouldn’t delay the rollout since you want to materialize your investment as quickly as possible. The transition and learning process is much easier when you select one or two features prioritized by what will most benefit your business. It’s easier to learn one or two new tasks than trying to learn a whole new program at once. Right? By staggering feature-specific training sessions, you will allow your team to get comfortable with the product, which increases adoption. Increased adoption means a higher ROI. You will also know who is struggling with learning the application (e.g., follow up training quizzes are a great tool) and who needs extra training before the go-live.
4. Small Test Committee or Task Force
The reason why secondary schools have a formal lecture lesson followed by hands-on work is that people learn better that way. And new information sticks best in the brain when individuals are given the opportunity to do it again and again. That’s why teaching one team how to use the new construction technology and having them use it on a new project works best. Start small, improve on mistakes and expand the use of the new technology. It gives the workers the ability to understand how it works and how to make it work best for them. Plus by implementing the new tech with one team, you have a whole group of people who can help everyone else. In essence, you’re creating an in-house team of product experts that can be shared across multiple teams and projects to usher full adoption of the technology.
5. Costs of Not Using the New Construction Technology
Once everyone has been trained on the new construction technology, you have to ensure everyone is using it. According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the easiest ways to do this is to raise the professional cost of not using the technology. This can be accomplished by requiring tasks to be assigned within the new software, or asking for daily reports to be emailed – the bottom line is it requires workers to use the technology, and you must hold them accountable if tasks are not accomplished within the expected timeline. Sometimes raising these much needed corrective behaviors in a public form (in a positive manner) are necessary to force change, but use your best judgment. If they are using the new tech as intended then highlight small successes (aka small wins) to the entire team.
6. Publicize the Wins – Big and Small
Sometimes many small victories will win the war. The last tip to successfully implement new construction technology is to celebrate the wins. When people use the new tech as intended, the company should save time and money. Why not celebrate individual and project accomplishments as the technology is being rolled out. eSUB clients repeatedly state that using daily report software on the jobsite cuts down paperwork and submission time by at least fifty percent. Let everyone in your company know that….
BIG WIN on PROJECT XYZ: “Michael, submitted his e-Daily Report by 5:30 pm (instead of the next morning) and made it home to eat dinner with his family. Probably, the first time in several weeks. He saved 3 hours by collecting all information digitally throughout the day.”
This shows other workers that you’re serious about the tech rollout, and it can make using the new tech tools exciting. Small rewards, as well as the public wins, can incentivize employees to use the new technology. It’s also an excellent way of highlighting the benefits and showcases the cost of not using the new tech, going back to the other tips on the list.