Change is inevitable, and the construction industry is no exception to this rule. However, it will be easier for your team and the organization to adjust to these changes if good change management practices are in place. Change management in construction is linked when people, policies, procedures, and specifications change.
So what is change management in construction, and how can it be used to ensure any changes will not have a consequential impact on your company’s processes and operations? From change orders and personnel changes to company-wide changes and everything in between, how can your company benefit in a good way? In this article, let us look at how change management affects construction companies for the better.
Defining Change Management in Construction
In a nutshell, change management is the process that a company uses to prepare its employees for upcoming changes and give them the help they need to make them happen. The construction industry comprises a million moving parts that may be subject to change, whether small or significant. In construction, change management is essential because if these changes are handled proactively, they can help save firms time, money, and client satisfaction. With these practices in place, you can make any changes so your project team can keep running smoothly and meeting the client’s needs.
Five Types of Changes That You Might Encounter When Running a Construction Company
Many change management systems offer different ways to deal with problems when things change. With today’s digital advancements and available technology, you can leverage various construction project management software extensions to ensure your operations run as seamlessly and smoothly as possible.
At different points in your company’s journey, you may encounter five different types of changes that you will need to manage.
Organizational change affects everyone, regardless of their position or level of leadership. It may be a new partnership with another company, new HR policies, or even moving to a new office. These changes may seem simple at first, but they could significantly affect how your employees will work.
Some examples of personnel changes are when there is a change in leadership, employee promotions, job layoffs, or resignations. People often ask questions about their job security, place in the chain of command, and responsibilities when personnel changes occur. Suppose there are a lot of personnel changes happening in your company. In that case, your employees may need clarification about who is responsible for a specific scope of work, which they should report to, and who will make the decisions.
Unexpected and Unplanned Changes
Without a good way to handle change, unplanned changes can cause much trouble. Especially in construction, you need to track many moving parts to ensure the project progresses smoothly. An unplanned change could be any change that happens without being planned for, whether it is good, bad, or neutral. An excellent example of this is crew scheduling. Scheduling your crew’s activities is something you do daily. However, what if something goes wrong with the concrete delivery? Then the club you organized for concrete pouring will have to put their activities on hold. Crew scheduling software can help you adjust schedules immediately and inform your staff of updates.
When an organization has a problem or issue, it needs some changes to fix it. These changes are meant to give more help, eliminate practices that are bad for the workplace culture, and improve policies before minor problems worsen. An example of these operational changes is implementing inventory management software to monitor your resources closely. At first, you may experience resistance from your employees, who are used to monitoring everything with a pen-and-paper method or spreadsheets. So, it would help if you created a seamless change management plan to incorporate the software into your daily operations.
Transformational change is the most rewarding kind of change, but it is also the hardest to make happen. Transformational changes are meant to make a big difference in how a business works or treats its customers. It can be hard to explain this kind of change – however, it completely reshapes your organization. It may lead to a safe and healthy workplace with highly engaged workers, of satisfied clients.
The Importance of Managing Changes in Construction Projects
According to an article published by Harvard Business Review entitled The Hard Side of Change Management <The Hard Side of Change Management (hbr.org)>, companies should focus on the soft and hard sides of change management.
Change management’s “soft side” is about culture, leadership, and getting people to change. While these things are essential for success, they do not directly affect how your organization changes.
As a result, you will also need to focus on the “hard side” of change management, which includes project duration, performance integrity, employee skills, your employee’s commitment, and openness to change, and the additional time and extra work that needs to be done to deal with the change.
The goal of good project management and change processes is to make it easier to stick to the schedule for a building project. Companies in the construction industry that use change management practices can save money and work more efficiently. It can also help you improve the customer experience by planning, getting approval, and implementing changes more quickly.
How to Make a Change Management Plan That Works?
Change is the one thing a business can almost always count on—quite a bit. Whether the change is caused by the market, a cut in the budget, a lack of resources, or growth, your business will likely be affected by these changes.
Change management has grown from a simple thing that organizations do to a whole field of study. This article lists a simple detailed guide on creating an efficient and effective change management plan to help your organization plan for and deal with expected and unexpected changes.
Identify the Change and Evaluate It Against Your Company’s Values and Goals
The first step is to identify the possible change and evaluate it against organizational goals and performance objectives. You need to check and ensure that the change will be positive and move your business in the right direction financially, strategically, and morally. This step will also help you decide how much the difference is worth, telling you how much time and money you should put into it.
Identify its Effects On Your Organization
Once you know what you want to do and why you can make a plan, you figure out how the change will affect different parts of the organization. Look at how it affected each business unit and how it reached that person through the organization’s structure. With this information, a plan will start to take shape for where help and training are most needed to lessen the effects of the change.
Create Your Communication Plan
Every worker should be led through the process of change – it is easy to get lost in the new methods when your workers need a clearer idea of what changes you are implementing. Please choose the best way for your employees or teams to talk to each other to get them on board, whether scheduling a briefing or a simple meeting.
Provide Training and Develop Your Employee’s Skills
Now that everyone knows about the change, your staff must know they will get training. As stated earlier, it is easy to get confused with the new process. So it is better to give them a platform to take in the latest knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs well as the change is made. Exercise could include online learning modules, online and in-person training, or mentoring on the job.
Implement a Support Structure
Building a support system is essential to help employees adjust both physically and emotionally to the changes that are taking place. Along with the technical skills needed to get the results you want, you should also help your employees improve their actions. It may be as simple as a point person where employees can ask questions and get clear answers.
Track Your Changes
During the change management process, a good framework should be set up to measure how the changes affect the business and ensure that there are plenty of chances to practice and improve. You also need to evaluate your plan for managing change to see how well it works and write down any lessons you’ve learned.
Leverage Construction Technology to Your Advantage
Construction companies must be able to change and adapt when things change on construction projects. They need to fix the problem and make the change quickly so that the cost and schedule of the project are manageable. This can be hard for organizations that do not use construction technology to improve their project management and communications. You can use various software or construction management software addons to keep everyone updated while ensuring that your processes are going as smoothly and as seamlessly as possible, regardless of any changes that may come along the way.