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Using Technology to Solidify a Unified Team Culture in 2021

by: Shahin Aftabizadeh, MindForge
Whether it’s on the front lines of a battlefield, a supply chain or a construction site, culture is a fundamental aspect of human existence. Culture keeps us bonded to groups of people – whether it’s within the context of our families, our communities or even our workplaces – and allows us to establish similar understandings and motivations behind what we do and how we should do it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered our ability to gather in-person and consequently, the way we share and engage with our communities is changing. But the reality for construction companies is that connecting the home office to the craft level workforce has always been a challenge due to the lack of a solid line of communication and an exceptionally transitory workforce.

Last year showed us that it's never been more vital to have a unified culture across a team, no matter the industry. In construction, technology played a huge role in keeping us moving as the world changed quickly. Now more than ever, we’re heavily reliant on technology to keep us connected, engaged, and informed as we continue to navigate the pandemic and look ahead to the future of the construction industry.

Adopting a Digital Media Platform
According to JB Knowledge’s 2020 Construction Technology Report, 92 percent of the industry used a smartphone daily for work last year. By adopting a digital media platform to encourage open communication across your jobs, you’re creating a space where everyone can access job site information as well as messaging and alerts. It embraces an already familiar behavior of using your phone to get caught up with the world around you and applies it directly to your projects. 

Implementing a digital communication platform also allows you to broadcast best practices and company values to everyone on your job sites while simultaneously giving your employees a space to share knowledge and interact with one another, ultimately helping solidify a high-performance team culture. At MindForge, we’re creating digital spaces for the folks wearing the tool belts – spaces for them to post questions, celebrate accomplishments, and engage with their communities as a whole. 

Team Shifts
Another common cultural barrier on construction sites is the transitory nature of the workforce. Every crew and project team has a unique and dynamic culture that shifts and changes as people come and go, making it highly unlikely that frontline workers have the same access to repetitive contact with the organization's culture carriers. In 2021, technology is the most scalable and effective solution for a reliable, consistent space to propagate your organization’s culture.

From the CEO to the concrete pourer who shows up for three hours at 2 a.m. and then leaves forever, everybody deserves the same opportunity to know what’s going on around them. It’s essential that you standardize and guarantee access to your critical job site information to keep your people safe and establish a high-performance culture on site.

Training and Hiring
And with job site information changing rapidly as we continue to navigate the pandemic, it’s even more important to provide relevant education, training, and refreshers for tasks on the job to protect the quality of your work and more importantly, to protect your teams. 
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Further, the construction industry has been experiencing an ongoing labor shortage that’s only been exacerbated by the pandemic, and it’s critical that you have the capability to rapidly get new people up to speed as they enter your job site. At MindForge, we’ve also created content that supports contactless orientations and COVID-related safety protocols. 

Accessibility Aids Productivity
Incorporating practical technology into your toolbox will set your team up for success in 2021.  As a first step, you should ensure everything you need to get your job done is easily accessible to your whole team via a digital archive. From morning huddles to orientations and organization-wide training, you should digitize your content as fast as you can and find a way to deliver it to everyone on your team with the push of a button. 

Not only can improved communication to the craft level increase productivity and the pace of work, but it can significantly reduce miscommunications and operational errors, helping you avoid rework. As much as 9 percent of a project’s total cost is attributable to rework, which typically extends the schedule by almost 10 percent, according to Navigant Construction Forum. 

Work stoppages on the job site may seem insignificant but when combined, you could lose 50 percent of productive time each day in stoppages alone. Utilizing tech on the job has proven to increase operational efficiency, thus increasing hours available to focus on the job itself and protect your profit margins. This increased efficiency will also help you to end your projects on time and your successful track record will give you a leg up on your competition. 

The pandemic hasn't shifted the importance of culture in society, but it has become more important to ensure we have systems in place to act as culture carriers when we are unable to physically gather as we traditionally have. It’s key to ensure you have a direct and transparent way to communicate with your craft level workers in order to operate safely and efficiently. 

Integrating technology into your tool box will support a strong culture of performance excellence, ensuring continuity and protecting your backlog as we navigate the year ahead.  

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