The staff is likely the single most precious asset that determines the scale, breadth, and overall success of any organization. As a result, optimizing their personnel to get the most out of it becomes a critical enterprise imperative.
For construction companies, profitability and efficiency go hand in hand. And thus, implementing effective construction workforce planning becomes a vital aspect of any construction company looking to gain the most out of their workforce, stay competitive, productive, efficient, and improve their bottom line.
In this article, we shall discuss the various benefits construction companies can gain from effective construction workforce planning. For a detailed description of the platforms that help you plan your workforce, read more here.
The need for construction workforce planning
With time, the nature of work has altered drastically in construction, giving birth to newfound complexities. First is workforce diversity. Most construction companies’ workforce constitutes a blend of workers on their payroll and external workers. Today, most general contractors (GC) depend on subcontractor labour, who, in turn, depends on both specialties as well as GC labour.
Managing external workers
Moreover, contractors rely on owner workers, government workers, and vendor workers in any given project to some degree. And even though a mélange of disparate workforces is handling critical projects, construction businesses rely on them for timely and quality work with only fleeting direct control.
This trend was bolstered in a recent workforce management report that revealed that 87% of managers account for external workers when considering their overall workforce. This warrants the process of workforce planning in construction to go much deeper than earlier to accommodate for this diversity and institute workforce streamlining.
Constant lineup changes
Another factor that drives the need for effective workforce planning in construction is the fluid nature of today’s construction workforce. For decades, construction has been seen as a short-term industry, with workers rarely thinking of it as a career-building prospect. And with time, even other industries have started showing similar trends.
Today, the dynamic has shifted even more with technology slowly but surely inching up. As tech is being used more and more to compensate for productivity deficiencies and long-term workforce issues, workers are even less likely to revert once they leave. These factors combine to form a formidable set of challenges that require the implementation and a drastic reimagination of workforce planning.
Going in-depth with construction workforce planning
But what is workforce planning in terms of the construction industry? In essence, construction workforce planning is a perpetual discipline of focus and review, centered around existing resources, workforce supply and demand, recruitment forecasts, and workforce meeting the project demands, and vice versa.
Construction workforce planning enforces team usage efficiency and helps achieve resource balance to streamline the process, enhance workforce efficiency, and reduce manual errors.
The three major areas of focus include demand planning, internal supply analysis, and gap analysis. Basically, it is a way to ensure that the right worker with the right set of skills is assigned to the right work and at the right time.
And since technology is the way forward, many construction businesses rely on construction workforce planning software to automate manual tasks and revamp the process of planning.
Four common reasons to go for construction workforce planning today
Of all the advantages that companies realize with effective construction workforce planning, we have listed four of them below:
Downtime refers to the construction workers not being productive for various reasons. It can be them not working either after being allocated tasks or not being allocated any task at all. Such downtimes can cause great consternation to businesses and act as a significant resource drain. The profitability hit has several underlying reasons including the usage of inaccurate spreadsheets to plan schedules and allocation.
Alternatively, effective workforce planning can enforce better work allocation and close monitoring. With the visibility on offer, businesses can also weed out gaps between project availability affecting quick identification of both over and under-allocated workforces.
Workforce management optimization
Scheduling regular meetings between the construction workforce and the core operations team like the estimators and managers is critical. This helps connect the team to offer multiple perspectives on ongoing issues, assess various situations, and develop a unified consensus and a viable solution.
Effective workforce planning means these meetings are seamlessly integrated into the schedule simplifying task delegation, acquiring inputs, facilitating productivity, and identifying and eliminating process gaps.
The overwhelming nature of vital responsibilities sometimes leads to administrative errors affecting the overall business objectives. With software aided workforce planning, administrative processes are automated, reducing the chances of human errors, creating windows to resolve issues and lowering costs associated with do-overs.
Furthermore, excellent planning and management make it easier to monitor schedules, forecast employees, reduce task duplication, and allocate and manage resources appropriately. Organizations benefit from increased production and efficiency, as well as a strong ROI.
Project deadline focus
Construction projects cover a wide range of sectors and purposes. Completing projects within a given budget and timetable, on the other hand, is a common and desired goal across all of them. Here, effective workforce planning can help achieve time and budget goals by enforcing transparency and workforce alignment with project and company goals.
A comprehensive planning process enables managers to gain end-to-end visibility of the project, especially in terms of stages, progress, and deadlines. It also facilitates the understanding of the plan’s impact on the end date. Many advanced workforce planning solutions enable managers to prepare accurate construction estimates and set realistic goals in terms of costs and timelines.
The domain of construction is fraught with its own set of unique and diverse challenges. A disparate and largely fragmented workforce consists of temporary workers, independent contractors, union members, full-timers, part-timers, and even family members, friends, and other company employees.
This can both be a management nightmare or a unique opportunity to leverage different competencies and achieve multifaceted goals depending on how efficient the workforce management can be.
However, the process of leveraging the workforce on expensive and risky projects can be simplified with proper planning guided by innovative tools and programs. Promoting proper planning from the start will ensure success within the parameters of specified goals and targets.
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