2023 is upon us, and like many, we at EDA see the new year as a time to reflect and consider ways to improve on processes, practices, and strategies. In our industry, things are constantly changing. From new developments in building science, changing architectural trends, and improving technology, it is important to constantly strive to improve as a company. To help our employees and those in our industry, we have compiled a list of 10 New Year’s Resolutions that all construction companies and their workers should consider prioritizing as we move into the new year.
Improve collaboration and interdepartmental communication
Communication gaps between different departments are common in every industry, and in construction, where many individuals work in the field, communication can falter quickly. One of the best ways to ensure interdepartmental communication works is by ensuring positive relationships between individuals across departments. This may mean regular meetings, outings, or mapping out team goals early. It is also important to establish a clear chain of command so that there is an understanding of accountability from the get-go.
Prioritize and invest in company culture
According to a survey published in Forbes, 1 in 3 Americans are considering quitting their job. The largest driving factor for wanting a change is company culture, with 62% of respondents quitting because of a toxic work environment. People spend a great deal of their time at work, and if they are unhappy at work issues can bleed into their personal life. Additionally, happy employees tend to be more productive. While many construction companies question the need for investing in culture, it can offer a strong ROI. In an industry where injury, addiction, and turnover are high, culture can help retain good employees and recruit new ones. Empowering employees and prioritizing culture are great ways to show your employees that you care.
Embrace new technology
The construction industry has been notoriously slow to embrace new technology, but in recent years it has made some advancements. Changes can vary in scale, and the necessity of these changes will differ based on the size of a business. It is always good to start small; switching to digital bookkeeping or invoicing, upgrading your fleet management system, and modernizing your website are often easy places to start. Many companies avoid embracing new technologies because they think the change is too big or too expensive the size of their business, but that is not necessarily true. Small changes now can lead to long-term savings of time and money down the road.
Keeping health and safety at the forefront is integral to ensuring that all workers return home safely each night. Some key ways to ensuring workers are safe is by ensuring proper protocols on jobsites are met, appropriate first aid trainings are completed, and being conscious about communicating new trends in safety to workers. Everybody plays a part in worker safety, and by drilling down its importance, we can all help alleviate the high numbers of claims and reportable injuries that our industry sees each year.
Invest in your employees – expand professional development opportunities
Some workers think that once they complete their apprenticeship, they can just continue to build their skills by being on site each day. While this is partially true, it is important to stay knowledgeable about the industry and new technologies. Mastering a new skill, learning about new products, and being more in-tune with best practices in health and safety are all areas that you should always focus on. Construction companies can help by offering training programs and encouraging employees to grow professionally. Incentivizing employees who want to learn and supporting professional development opportunities are ways to ensure that your workforce is on top of industry trends.
Take care of yourself
It is easy to get lost in your work and not understand what your body is telling you. Construction is hard work, and if you do not take care of yourself, you can get seriously injured. Next time you are on a job, take a minute to stretch before lifting that heavy object, put on sunscreen on that hot summer day, and make sure you stay hydrated. When is the last time you have reflected on your eating habits? Consider bringing a healthier lunch and snacks. Of course, it is easy to grab fast food at lunch, but a salad, chicken, or roasted vegetables can make you feel better and be more active at work. Lastly, consider working out. After a long day of physical labor, going for a run or bike ride may not seem appealing, but it is a great way to strengthen the muscles that you use at work each day.
Don’t be afraid to do things differently
Just because you have done things a certain way for years does not mean that it is the best or most efficient way of accomplishing a task. Be open to continuous improvement and approach each job with an open mind. Oftentimes in work and life it can be easy to get caught in a rut, but if you keep an open mind and welcome change you can learn something new. As a company, it is important to embrace change and encourage employees to think critically and make suggestions. Some good ways to drive change at your organization are to start with things like suggestion boxes, open door policies, and company-wide outings with leadership. After implementing these policies, staying consistent and taking action on employee recommendations are key to keeping the confidence of your employees.
Emphasize the importance of mental health
Construction workers have some of the highest rates of work-related injury, suicide, and mental health issues when compared to other industries. This is a result of numerous factors, often beginning with stressful, dangerous, and unpredictable work environments. It is important for construction companies to break down the stigma of mental health and create a safe environment for employees to talk about their feelings.
Encourage Family Time
It is important for companies to encourage a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout and keep employees happy. Taking paid time off should not be discouraged and employees should not feel obligated to stay plugged into work when they are on leave. This time away from work is healthy and allows employees to unwind and escape the stresses of work. Having regular communication with colleagues will make it easier to ensure the work moves forward while you are enjoying time off. Having confidence in a colleague to move forward projects in your absence further ensures that individuals can truly enjoy their time away. It also highlights a strong team dynamic and fosters a culture of trust.
Oftentimes it is easy to complete a project and quickly move onto the next thing. Make it a habit to reflect on completed projects, regardless of how big, or small they are. If somebody does a good job, tell them and consider incentivizing accomplishments when possible. By recognizing an accomplishment, you can improve individuals physical and mental health, as well make others feel more confident in their work. It can be easy to get caught up in the stresses of work, but celebrating success is an important step in building better connections and showing employees that you care.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with the changes that your New Year’s Resolution promises, but there are several strategies that you can follow to help ensure lasting change. Remember, that you are not going to permanently change overnight, so start with something easier and give yourself an easy win. Once you are comfortable, move to the next thing. And remember, don’t be afraid of failure, if you lose track of one of your resolutions, you can always start back up.
From all of us at EDA Contractors, we wish you happiness, health, and prosperity in the New Year. Thank you for all you do to support our company.