The construction landscape is changing fast. Companies desperately need to increase their productivity in order to meet the growing demands and deliver projects under increasingly tight deadlines. That said, major productivity gains often involves technological innovation. While this is currently taking place in most industries around the world, the construction industry lags behind.
Strangely enough, the construction industry has the luxury of having access to innovations whose merits are already extolled without the need to develop them internally. From collaboration software to drones and BIM, the options are endless! But beyond the sole decision to buy one of these technologies, the real challenge that faces business leaders lies in the adoption of the technology by their employees and its integration into business processes and corporate culture.
Here are five essential steps to follow in 2019 to achieve a successful technology adoption in the construction industry.
1. Choose the right technology
The goal here is not to choose the best technology, the most efficient, or even less, the “flavor of the month”. Every business needs to choose a technology that will help them achieve their goals. Nothing more, nothing less.
To foster adoption, a technology should not require major changes in your business processes, but adapt to them. Also, the right technology has to be simple, intuitive and useful. Put yourself in your employees’ shoes and ask yourself the right questions. Will this technology be easy to use by your superintendents, project managers, site supervisors, etc.?
Finally, beyond technology selection, you must also choose the company that creates or markets this technology, because you will deal with their sales and support teams from beginning to end. Evaluate your options by considering factors such as expertise, reputation, past results, proximity, etc.
2. Get your team excited
According to the Harvard Business Review, the strategic benefits of implementing a technology are often obvious to the leaders, but if they are not understood by the end users, they may oppose this technology.
It is important for the employees to understand why the organization is changing its methods. Leaders need to communicate their goals and vision, and explain how this new technology is a way to achieve them.
Furthermore, it is essential that the employees grasp the benefits of the new technology not only for the organization but for themselves. What will be the positive impacts on their quality of life at work? How is this an improvement to what they are already using?
3. Proceed one step at a time
In a context of technological backwardness, it is not uncommon to see construction companies try to digitize every process all at once or acquire a multitude of gadgets that will unfortunately remain unused.
According to Forbes, the key to success in adopting new technology is to proceed one step at a time. Once the technology is chosen, the implementation should be done gradually, module by module if its a new software. Dividing adoption into several stages allows everyone to progress at their own pace and to introduce technology into their routine.
A pilot project can also be a good strategy to start using a new tool, allowing to choose the people and processes involved in the first deployment. The results can then be used to determine the best way to proceed with the implementation of the technology throughout the company.
4. Identify and involve “champions of change”
In terms of technology, not all individuals have the same starting point and the introduction of new tools often creates a gap between the most tech-savvy and the rest.
The leader must first identify his “champions of change”. According to People Development Magazine, a champion is an employee open to feedback, always ready to change his ways to improve or solve a problem. He is an excellent communicator and his colleagues respect his opinion, which is why he is often in the best position to convey the positive aspects of a change.
The champion should be among the first to use the new tool, for example, as part of a pilot project as mentioned above. He becomes a resource to which others can turn when needed.
5. Highlight progress and celebrate victories
Change is uncomfortable for the majority of people and those in the construction industry are no exception. The constant encouragement and positive reinforcement of managers and executives are therefore essential from the beginning to the end of the technological implementation.
To facilitate the acceptance and adoption of any new technology or approach, Human resources experts suggest planning the adoption of these new features so that employees will quickly encounter small wins. To do this, the company could set measurable, precise and achievable goals in the adoption process.
There is nothing like recognizing the efforts of your employees to generate mobilization and commitment. Celebrating team and individual victories ensures that you generate a positive state of mind around the new technology to promote its adoption.
Are you a change agent for your company? If so, it is important to surround yourself with other agents of change and join forces to implement this digital transition, one step at a time.
The definitive integration of new technology into your corporate culture will take place over time thanks to the involvement and dedication of several key players through each of the 5 steps mentioned above. These actors can come from outside the company: the suppliers of the new technology or specialized consultants can offer you a solid support during the process.
Finally, by following these five steps and using the internal and external resources at your disposal, you will create the conditions necessary for technological adoption. You can then leverage the power of technology and innovation to achieve your goals and even exceed them!