Digital construction technology could forever change most aspects of how you do business. However, people using it for the first time may realize they have much to learn. Here’s how to reduce adoption-related stresses and encourage excitement within your workforce.
Listen to People’s Opinions About Digital Construction Technology
Most changes cause people to feel a mixture of excitement and fear. However, they’re more likely to feel open to whatever’s on the horizon if they believe leaders care about their feedback.
Start the conversation by getting broad perspectives on how people feel about technology adoption. One possibility is to have companywide or team meetings about the matter. Consider breaking people into small groups and having them write down three things that make them hopeful about using the tech and other aspects that bring nervousness or uncertainty.
Have people share their answers with everyone. That approach will likely reveal some common themes you can later address to help people stay comfortable and upbeat. When they realize others share the same hopes and fears, they should feel on common ground with their colleagues.
Invite workers to share their feelings in private, too. Provide them with various options, such as by email or a face-to-face meeting. Even if you can’t directly address their concerns, the support offered can help change their perspective for the better.
Discuss the Likely Benefits
It’s worth reminding your construction workers how many things that now come easily to them once had learning curves. People can get so caught up in the perceived challenges of acquiring new skills that they lose sight of the eventual advantages.
A practical way to get around that reality is to talk about the payoffs others have already seen through the adoption of digital construction technology. One poll from the National Association of Women in Construction and Safe Site Check In gives a glimpse of some of the perks.
About 95% of respondents said construction technologies made them more productive. Another 72% said smartphone apps were most helpful for allowing them to manage projects and workforces.
The outcomes differ across workforces, but people commonly see these advantages. Staying focused on what’s in it for them is an excellent way to keep workers looking forward instead of getting overly worried about potential learning curves.
Let People Work in Pairs
Many people in potentially risky roles use the buddy system. That way, someone’s always available to get help if an accident occurs, the worker needs spotting or someone requires something else they can’t accomplish alone.
Pairing people up is also a practical way to teach digital construction technology. An easy way to do this is to designate some employees as early adopters of the technology. Get them well-equipped as users and peer mentors. Once they feel comfortable with what’s new and know how to get additional help when needed, pair them with workers who are wholly unfamiliar.
It’s often more valuable for someone to see how their colleague uses technology on the job in real-world situations than to read a manual or watch a video about it. When workers see others they know and respect using the technology, they should feel more accepting of it, too.
Help Them See the Parallels in Tech They Already Use
People may worry that digital construction technology will be unlike anything they’ve seen or used before. However, that’s probably further from the reality than they realize. For example, the Apple Watch has fall detection and activity-tracking features. So do many construction-specific wearables that aid in risk detection and monitor for possible overexertion.
There will be some new things to learn, but more than a few aspects will almost certainly be familiar. However, some people are more comfortable with using technology than others. That’s particularly worth noting in the construction industry, where high percentages of people are close to retirement age. Many may have never thought digital technology would eventually become a large part of their jobs.
Take a personalized approach when assessing how much training time someone needs to feel competent and at ease when using the technology. Making people feel rushed and under pressure could lead to safety issues and negatively impact their overall opinions of the technology.
Acknowledge Feedback and Adapt When Possible
Your goal in overseeing training is to shorten an employee’s time-to-value metric. It represents how long it takes for someone to begin making productive contributions to an organization after learning something new.
People have different learning styles, backgrounds, and other specifics that make them more or less suited to catching on quickly when learning digital construction technology. Ask them to check in with you at various stages of the training and be honest about how things are going.
Get them to detail their successes and celebrate those with them, but listen carefully about obstacles and frustrations, too. Work together to find potential solutions and try to understand the reasons behind those problems.
Pay attention to patterns. Perhaps you’ve recently gotten feedback from numerous employees about particular content. People who say it confused them or didn’t apply to their work might prompt you to change the material or delivery method.
Support People Learning Digital Construction Technology
A final thing to remember is to put yourself in the position of the students. Learning new things can be intimidating, even when people are generally excited about the prospect. Be encouraging and empathetic.
Learning journeys start at different places for everyone. However, in the best cases, people will keep developing their skills over their lifetimes.
About the Author
Emily Newton is an industrial writer who specializes in covering how technology is disrupting industrial sectors. She’s also the editor-in-chief of Revolutionized where she covers innovations in industry, construction, and more.