Angela Robbins Taylor
Company success depends on consistently tracking progress, like monitoring annual revenue, project backlog, cash flow, and other items that indicate your company's health. But we need to work on using these pieces of data to differentiate our company from all the others around us.
Finding the unique things your company does that allow you to succeed or the things holding you back in your growth plan is critical to creating longevity and financial success for your organization. That's why tracking the key performance indicators construction stakeholders need to be aware of is essential.
What is a Key Performance Indicator in Construction?
KPIs are defined by Investopedia as the set of quantifiable measurements used to gauge a company's overall long-term performance. Think of these as the metrics used to measure whether your company can do the job you have been tasked with accomplishing.
They must demonstrate how you will perform long-term and what makes you a safer bet for investors, contractors, and owners. Additionally, having the data that tracking performance provides allows your company to identify and pivot as needed to progress forward.
Targeting two major elements can drive your organization to the top and set you apart as a leader in your trade.
Construction KPIs: Job Performance
Being a top-tier construction company does not just happen without a plan. Building a long-term set of goals and visions should include setting out to measure the success of your job performance. Defining, measuring, and then refining your performance in the following areas is critical:
Quality can be measured in a few different ways. At a minimum, it should include what type of defects or rework is being seen, how much time defects and rework require from the workforce, and the total cost of defects and rework.
For each trade, general contractor, and owner, the specific details that will be tracked may be different. Still, the KPIs should include a detailed look at the following elements:
These indicators can predict issues with suppliers, training of employees, and problems with schedules that make future projects more successful.
When addressing safety performance, oftentimes, we get caught up in the numbers surrounding lost time incidents, workers' compensation claims, and root cause analysis. While that data is relevant and critical, it is not the only item to include in your metrics to differentiate your company as among the safest.
Safety experts agree that a safety program that measures participation and leadership, hazard identification and control, training, and continuous improvement is vital.
Participation and Leadership
The only way to have a truly effective safety program is to have full participation that starts with senior leadership and extends throughout the company. Building a safety culture starts with creating a program that everyone will be required to participate in and manage – both personally and organizationally.
Hazard Identification and Control
Ensuring your safety program is built around hazard identification, control, and elimination is critical for its success. Measuring how well this is done on the job site can impact your ability to provide a safer work environment for everyone on the job site even beyond those in your teams.
Training and Continuous Improvement
Like all skills, safety must be taught, assessed, and constantly refined. When looking at the success of your safety program and defining KPIs, ensuring that safety education is integrated into trade skills training and continuously evaluated for improvement is critical. A company that fails to connect safety and trade skills will suffer long-term with more accidents and higher costs.
Traditionally, we see productivity measured by the output of our employees. For example, how many linear feet of concrete was laid or gypsum was hung?
But a more meaningful indicator of long-term success and bottom-line impact is the measure of time spent not on the job-specific tasks both for your employees and your equipment. For example, a rented crane that is not used for two weeks but also not returned, or a worker who spends two hours over the course of the day riding the elevator getting material to the correct locations.
The bottom line of your revenue is more impacted by what your equipment and people don’t get to do than what they do in many situations. Tracking productivity can be a significant differentiator for companies.
Construction KPIs: Engaged Employees
Acknowledging that your workforce significantly impacts company performance is critical. Knowing what to measure regarding this resource gives you an edge over the competition to proactively identify issues with the crew.
Quickly identifying and addressing how you hire, train, reward, and retain employees is a lever that triggers cascading benefits throughout the organization.
Understanding what metrics to watch and which responses to take with reference to employee performance will drive long-term project performance. According to Oracle, a workforce planning and management system should include metrics like:
Leveraging an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) can make it much simpler to gather, analyze, and respond to data related to the human element of your company.
Work With C3 to Use the Data Effectively
There is so much data to capture concerning your company's performance in the market and on the jobsite. Ensuring that you continue beyond the simple indications of success, like revenue and cash flow, will lead to a more robust outlook.
Consider us a resource if you need support setting up and defining KPIs. Giving you the upper hand with workforce and performance is part of the C3 program, and your participation with us makes us all better.
Being an Accredited Employer is the first step to optimizing the performance of your workforce and company, helping create a sustainable future for everyone.
Contact us today to discuss key performance indicators construction stakeholders need to implement, monitor, and analyze.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Do you want to find a better job or have the chance to be advanced in your trade? Then you need to invest in trade skills training. In workforce management, we call this investment “upskilling.”
While trade skills training is important to many industries, it is especially so for construction. So who is most likely to benefit from participating in training to grow their career path?
Candidates for Trade Skills Training
There are four basic populations that should seek trade skills training:
If you are one of these individuals, keep reading to find out what makes a good training program for you.
Finding the Right Program
Skills training should include a variety of items in the curriculum but should mainly focus on providing practical knowledge and practice to grow competency in a trade. When shopping for a trade school or trade training program, it's important to remember that this is much like buying a car or a house.
Training programs come with a variety of price tags and amenities attached. So, as a guideline, make sure you examine the following items:
Depending upon what type of program you are seeking the content should always include some theory and a lot of hands-on practice. Additionally, you should ask if the content will include items like financial literacy, fluency in a second language, and rigorous safety training.
2. Time Commitment
Now that you've examined your content let's look at your time commitment. Time commitment is often driven by whether a program is registered as an apprenticeship, offered as on the job, or is a pre-work boot camp.
Registered apprenticeship programs must follow specific guidelines that allocate a certain number of hours to skill development relative to the number of hours in a classroom. Registered apprenticeships can run from one year to five years. They must be closely documented and provide enrolled trainees the ability to practice in the field alongside a journeyman as a working employee. They are offered by many different training providers including:
On-the-job training generally has no set timeline. The learner is given some supervision and some education throughout the course of a work day and is allowed to progress at their own speed. While some employers leverage a competency map which may be guided by suggested timelines, many employers allow for expedited movement through their OJT programs or slower progress as is needed by the organization and individual.
As construction continues to recruit more employees to manage the ongoing influx of construction projects, pre-employment boot camps are becoming a vital option for trade skilling programs.
Boot camps can range anywhere from 40 hours to 8 weeks. Much like military boot camps, these skills boot camps are meant to quickly prepare prospective employees to enter long-term training programs. Unlike apprenticeships and OJT programs, boot camps allow you to more quickly skill up for entry-level positions but generally do not allow you to work simultaneously.
When upskilling yourself in the trades it is important to weigh out the investment of the schooling to the return. Often apprenticeships, OJT, and even boot camps are free or employer-sponsored, but independent trade schools may charge tuition. These programs are good for unique niche skills specific to a trade. How training providers price their programs varies so it's important to consider cost versus quality received.
4. Help with Employment
If you choose a provider that is not an employer or does not sponsor employment during training then knowing how you will find employment upon completion is critical. Nothing is worse than obtaining your certification only to find out that no one is hiring. It is good to know upfront if they offer placement services.
Step Up Your Career
The greatest piece of advice I've ever received was that my career is mine to own. So do all the trade professionals who hopefully read this blog. You are the master of your destiny. And we are here to help you steer your destiny in the right direction.
Don't hesitate to reach out to Construction Career Collaborative (C3), where we are working with the top contractors, training partners, and community partners to grow careers and opportunities for trade professionals.
We may not have a job for you today, but we know that your skills and desire to step up your career will make you integral to the workforce building our tomorrow. Talk to us today about trade skills training that fits the stage of your career.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Construction workforce management is so much more than just scheduling the crews to show up at the job. It is knowing your bench strength and leveraging it to produce better outcomes through people who are safer, more engaged, and highly productive.
With the introduction of many pieces of software to support construction management digitally, you can become more innovative and appeal to the next generation of construction professionals.
3 Key Steps to Optimize Construction Workforce Management
Like any good sports coach or general manager, you need to know your people, the game you are playing, and how to assemble a skilled roster to win the game. Find out how to strategically support workforce management for construction projects.
1. Know Your Bench
Knowing your bench is a sports term that indicates you have skills that are not currently playing but are available as you need them. For a coach or a project executive to best utilize their roster of available workers, they have to have access to and fully understand two pieces of data:
2. Identify Skills
When you are setting up a “game” or project plan, you must understand the unique set of skills you need to accomplish the goal (win the game).
For construction teams, this means understanding the skills necessary to bid the job, prepare for the job, complete the job, and be able to service the job while moving to the next one.
Three steps can help you quickly identify the skills necessary and capture who has the competency to provide them:
Once you have completed these steps, you can capture the mastered skills in a central location.
3. Create a Game Plan
Starting with bidding and estimating the project, it’s critical to have a game plan in place to arrive at ultimate project success.
Consider using a resource allocation strategy that has estimators working in real-time with project superintendents that will be moving to projects as they are won. This step will allow the team to more accurately understand the potential for risk and mitigate it at the onset.
When the team is planned based on the type of work to be completed and their level of mastery of the work to be performed, you end up with a better project.
Get Innovative and Go Digital Managing the Workforce
In the long run, the more your teams work together and can make decisions quickly through digital tools and innovative methodologies, the better the quality and productivity of the workforce.
As we move into the next generation of high-tech workers arriving on our project job sites, it will be imperative to manage them with flexible, digital products. But even more so is the need for them to be well-trained in all aspects of the job.
When reviewing your capabilities around construction workforce management, find the answer to these two questions:
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Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)