It’s no secret that change can be challenging to organizations as new processes may not seem intuitive and employees may resist it. However, by standardizing operations into repeatable business practices, contractors can empower their teams to work more efficiently and effectively—resulting in higher profitability.
Information technology has been a key driver in helping contractors to increase productivity over the past few decades. Yet construction business owners should realize that a new software program won’t make a business more efficient; it is the combination of the construction management software, people, processes, and training that will establish standardized, repeatable practices and make the real difference in productive change and a better bottom line.
By implementing the following best practices about managing organizational change, construction companies can more easily implement technology and standardize processes necessary to unleash their full sales and profit potential.
These points of advice present the value of an owner’s commitment to change, the purpose of key influencers, the impact of training, how to secure buy-in from team members, and how to reward behavior that supports transformative change.
A business filled with people who are open-minded to adapting new technology and standardizing processes for the betterment of the company will be more likely to achieve success. An essential starting point when streamlining the processes within an organization is helping everyone understand how improvements in one department will help the operations of another department and make the entire organization more successful.
The open-mindedness needs to start at the top! It is often one individual or department that sees the need for a specific process change, making it difficult to make the desired modification across the organization. However, if the owner believes the change is necessary and is committed to making it happen, he/she can influence the entire team, reinforcing the importance for the change and how the outcome will benefit the company as a whole.
The owner’s backing is critical, but so too is the involvement of those most impacted by the new processes. Therefore, when making a major transition, it is important to identify the key stakeholders and involve them in the planning process. Holding roundtables with estimators, project managers, or the finance/accounting team to get their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the current practices and what they think would be ideal in the new process and will assist the change management process. These key players will spread the word to colleagues that the modifications are necessary and take more ownership during the process.
Once everyone is on board with the transition to more standardized, repeatable business processes, it is essential that training is conducted for all individuals involved in the new process, from the day-to-day users to senior management. It is critical for senior managers to participate in the training in order to show their commitment and to enable them to better understand how the new processes will flow. Designating user “champions” has also been proven beneficial for new technology implementations. These champions become expert users and can help others learn the technology and use it to its maximum potential.
The success or failure of the new technology and standardized processes will depend on the individuals involved in each step and their buy-in to the change and its anticipated results. For estimators and project managers, being able to demonstrate how new technology and processes can provide information visibility that will empower them to perform their jobs easier and better will help motivate them to embrace the transition. If estimators have more information at their fingertips, they will be able to generate more accurate bids and win more jobs. While the ability for project managers to have easy and anywhere access to more detailed information about the progress of their projects will enable them to better manage their projects for optimum profitability.
On the accounting side, there may be more reluctance to process changes as they often have to re-learn tasks and don’t always reap the direct benefits of changes the estimators and project managers can. Although they will benefit from time savings on certain tasks, the visibility of valuable information is more often being transferred from accounting to the other departments. Motivating this group lies in showing them how the standardized, repeatable processes will benefit the company as a whole and how valuable their work is to the organization’s overall success.
Another way to motivate individuals to embrace the transition is to offer them incentives to accept the new processes and change their behaviors. For example, if estimators are able to win multiple bids on subcontracting work, they will more generate work and increase their margins. This is a great opportunity to offer a bonus to the estimators for securing contracts that meet certain criteria. Project managers can also be incentivized, and often are, for managing quality jobs to come in on schedule and on budget. With new standardized processes, there is an increased likelihood to earn more bonuses—and money is a major motivator for most employees.
By following these best practices, contractors will significantly ease the transition to new technology solutions and new standardized, repeatable processes. They will also benefit from operating at a much higher level of efficiency and empowering their teams to reach their highest potential. ■
About The Author:
Martha Nelson, implementation manager at Maxwell Systems, headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. She can be reached at or 800.688.8226. For more information on Maxwell Systems, visit
Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2013
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