When it comes to construction crew management, an employee’s soft skills are as critical as any complex and hard skills they can offer. New employees are often surprised that more than their technical skills are needed to land them a job in the construction industry. Companies are just as interested and prioritize determining if the employee has the right non-technical skills and qualities to help a project go well. But this does not mean that you should look for the perfect employee – if you see their potential, you can cultivate and hone their skills through training on the job.
This article discusses the top ten soft skills you need to cultivate in your construction crew to boost your company’s productivity, profitability, efficiency, effectiveness, and success. But first things first, let us dive into the importance of soft skills.
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
When managing construction, you need to know much more than just how to do the job well. Various soft skills improve safety and productivity on the job site, leading to a long career in the field.
In a nutshell, soft skills are defined as personal traits that help people get along with others and do their jobs well. These skills have always been necessary for construction because they are directly linked to safety and efficiency. When there is little or no communication, teamwork, or leadership on a construction site, it can result in severe costs and time impacts.
As hiring managers and companies realize how vital real-world skills are in the workplace, soft skills are becoming more critical. Employees and job seekers need to focus on honing their skills to become effective and efficient contributors in the workplace.
Ten Essential Soft Skills That Your Crew Should Develop
You may think you have what it takes to work on a building site – it is because you have the technical knowledge and expertise to do the job.
But you need more than just brains and brawn to do well. Having the right soft skills to back up your hard skills can help you significantly boost your career.
Time Management Skills
When you are working in the construction industry, you need to be able to manage your time well. Due to tight schedules and deadlines, working in construction is one of the most challenging jobs – one slight delay can result in a massive problem that can severely impact your project and company. This is where effective crew schedule planning plays a significant role.
Make sure you always know your schedules and deadlines and your team’s workloads. You can plan out all your activities, identify critical ones for completion, and prioritize those. Plotting your team’s schedules and checking their progress can help you get an overview of which groups are doing well and which ones may need additional support to complete the task on time.
In all businesses, communication is an essential soft skill. You communicate and build relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, and others. Whether a simple document transmittal or cascading information about new change orders, it is crucial for teams to communicate with each other to be on the same page. To learn how to communicate well, you must first learn how to listen. So, pay close attention, ask questions when you need to, speak clearly, and give the correct information.
Collaboration means that teams work together to reach the same project goal. Using a digital platform that boosts collaboration – like construction software allows everyone to access the same information without going through gatekeepers or traveling to remote offices. When team members work well together, they share their resources and knowledge and put the team’s goals, which are set by the timeline and budget of the whole process, ahead of their own.
Problem Solving Skills
Another important soft skill for people who work in the construction industry is the ability to solve problems. This skill is about finding an excellent solution to a problem using logic and creativity. It is essential in the construction business because every situation is different, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer.
When working on projects, you’ll have to deal with many situations where the answer is unclear or where more than one opinion or point of view could be correct. Because of this, it is essential to be able to spot a problem, come up with options, find out which one is the best solution and conclude. You can always ask for your stakeholder’s opinions and input if you need help solving a problem.
Stress Management Skills
In the construction industry, stress management is critical because people work long hours and are often in stressful situations. Often, construction workers are also in dangerous and stressful environments. As a result, companies have placed more importance on creating a healthy work environment for their employees to stay and be productive. You can utilize a crew scheduler to ensure that your crew is working the right number of hours and can handle the work and deadlines.
Adaptability and Flexibility to Changes
Employees need to be flexible and adapt in two main ways: first, they need to be able to change direction and reorder tasks if something unexpected happens on a project, and second, they need to be ready to move for each project. Construction projects are made up of a million moving parts. If you do not monitor it efficiently, you can easily get lost in all the data, documents, and information. Construction Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can help easily manage daily operational activities such as financials, accounting, project management, risk management, and supply chain operations.
The ability to direct others to strive toward the same objective as oneself is essential to leadership. There is a significant demand for leaders at every level of the construction business. They are the members of your workforce who excel in their positions and can encourage, inspire, communicate, negotiate, and delegate work to other individuals. To be a leader, however, is not something that happens; instead, it demands purposeful and ongoing work. You need to keep a close eye on every operation and process, take the initiative to start new things, and assist your personnel in achieving their objectives.
Project Management Skills
Construction projects require project managers to make sure that each one is completed on schedule, without going over budget, and to the most excellent quality standard that can be achieved. A project manager is responsible for designing, carrying out, monitoring, and directing projects and bringing them to a successful conclusion. They are accountable for the entirety of the project, which includes the project team, the project resources, the project budget, and the accomplishment or failure of the task.
Only some people are cut out to be project managers since the functions and responsibilities of a project manager are essential to the project’s success. People that are successful in project management typically have strong organizational skills, are detail-oriented, are self-motivated, and have clear objectives for their work.
Good Work Ethic
Every business operates under its own set of regulations and protocols. It could be as simple as reporting to work at a specific hour or as involved as filing reports and appearing at scheduled meetings. A solid work ethic almost always entails exercising maximum effort to do one’s duties to the highest possible standard. It is possible to demonstrate that you are dedicated to your work, responsible for your actions, and have a positive attitude. You can perform your job more effectively, cultivate stronger relationships with your coworkers, and offer the company a positive reputation. People with a good work ethic are usually dependable, courteous, productive, and able to collaborate efficiently and effectively with others.
When working in a varied field that provides services to a diverse state, having sympathy and understanding for all of the employees on the job site helps to create a healthier and safer environment, which is preferable for everyone at the end of the day. No matter what role you play in the organization, developing your capacity for empathy should be one of your top priorities. You will increase the likelihood that the project will be successful if you effortlessly comprehend the requirements of both your team and the client.
Every industry needs soft skills, and construction is no exception. Soft skills can be easily forgotten in construction, where technical skills are in high demand. Companies now know how vital real-world skills are in the workplace and place importance on them. To help build successful, effective, and efficient teams, the top management needs to see the value in soft skills and look for them during the hiring process. Soft skills include being able to solve problems and make decisions. They are made up of personal traits and interpersonal skills, and they can lead to successful results and a safer and more efficient workplace.