In some ways, a construction team is just like any other team. You need strategies like good communication and recognition of positive results to manage them well. But in other ways, their needs and dynamics are completely different.
For one, their work is often projected based. This means that you constantly have people who don’t know each other embarking on a task together. Unless they are a crew that always works together, they will not have the camaraderie that comes with working with the same people day in and day out for years. This presents a unique scenario and with that, unique challenges.
With the right mix of strategies, you can effectively manage a construction team. Here are five to try.
1. Treat safety as a top concern
This is a top priority for anyone managing a construction team. Taking it lightly can derail the timeline of a project, open you up to lawsuits or worst of all, lead to the death of team members. Ensure that there is always a safety manager on site so if there is any question about it, team members know where to go and not waste time wondering what to do. This person should be charged with guiding and briefing visitors who might not be familiar with safety regulations.
And even though there is a safety manager in charge, you should go ahead and share the safety protocols with everyone. One of those is the use of safety gear. Ensure that it is worn at all times by everyone, including by those not working. Lastly, run safety drills to ensure the team is familiar with the protocols in case of an emergency. Every team member should be trained to always:
- double-check their work areas and site tools such as scaffolds and ladders;
- be vigilant with electricity and equipment such as grinders or drills, and;
- wear highly visible clothing especially at sites with heavy vehicles.
Basic first aid kids for minor burns, cuts, and falls should also be available on every construction site.
2. Choose the right people
Effectively managing the team begins with having the right people for the team. Vet all your team members and invest in some team bonding activities before you commence. The activities should emphasize cohesion and trust amongst the members.
You will find that you have people from different professions on your project. From plumbers to carpenters and electricians. These people need to be able to work well together. If you sight a character that is likely to cause friction, it might be worth it to make the tough decision to replace her or him in order to have a successful team.
Don’t take this for granted just because the project is short term and people will soon move on to other jobs. The difference between successful and unsuccessful performance can often be linked to the effectiveness of the project team.
3. Make a plan
In order to manage a construction team effectively, you need to have a proper project plan detailing all the phases of the project. This should happen before the project starts and not be made in real-time. Share the plan with the construction team so everyone knows where and when they should be, what they should be doing, and what their contribution is to the overall project.
While the plan guides the team, it is important to be flexible. Despite your best intentions, some unplanned things, like bad weather days, might come up that take you off course. In this case, adjust the plan and still share it with the team.
4. Define roles
It is important that everyone on the team knows what their job is. When people know exactly what they are supposed to do, they perform better. In fact, according to research by Effectory, employees with high role clarity have been found to report high levels of effectiveness (86%), intention to stay (84%), productivity (83%), and satisfaction with leadership (75%).
In addition, when things are clear, you reduce fighting for certain jobs. This puts less stress on interpersonal relationships.
Clearly defining roles creates a sense of responsibility and accountability. This encourages team members to take extra care because they know they will claim the glory if something is done right. At the same time, they will know that if something on their watch falls through the cracks, it is their job to report it to the team head and possibly seek solutions.
5. Keep an eye on the time
A good work schedule will help you ensure that people are not working under or over time and that those who are, are compensated for it.
Managing time well might also mean you setting up a shift system so that your teams don’t work for very long hours. Tired workers are likely to make mistakes and this can be hazardous to both their health and the health of the entire project.
With these tips, you will be on your way to effectively schedule your construction teams.
Autho Bio: By Derek Jones
Derek spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on Construction, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor costs in line, and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.