Lets face it; change takes effort, no matter what you are doing. But thought that someone else’s new idea is being imposed upon you without your say is not received fondly. No-one really likes this! We like our own ideas, thoughts and motivations. Your business optimizations are most often not in alignment with people who work for you.
Let’s highlight some realizations about the professionalism of this industry; BUT… before I dive head-first into the deep-end, I would like to say that the vast majority of people who I have encountered whom use our software have been fantastic. OK… here we go. This is an industry that for years has operated on the theory of a handshake and the trust of longstanding relationships. From the polar opposites of the guy in waste remediation to a project manager at the Freedom Tower project in New York – the professionalism between subtrades and GC’s is a complex mish-mash of levels.
For instance, you could have a waste remediation company that is run like the perfect machine, with systems and a fantastic leader, to a GC who has dissension in the ranks and a “Tyrant” of an owner. There are many different scenarios. BUT… typically the less glamorous and lower paying the job, the harder it is to get buy in on implementing new processes. How can you get leverage with a worker who would rather be doing something else and has had no motivation to follow his/her dreams? It is really hard to find their purpose in your initiative of new software and optimization… they think it’s all about YOU!
And… They really don’t give a shit. They may nod and say “ya totally, 100% Sir”, but after work their comments to their friends echo variations of, “work is pushing some new system that now I have to do all this extra shit, I don’t really give a crap”. Their EXTRA stuff is not really anything, it is the fact that they have to pay attention to something else other than the actual mechanics of their job.
Wow what a mess, how the hell are you going to do this? Well… simply put, you have to get smart about it.
Here are 7 ways to help you get this accomplished. Before I get to these points… so that you have some reference of my background, and why you should take the points in this article into consideration, here is my past experience. I am currently the Founder & CEO at a construction software company called SiteMax, and I have been working with clients to onboard software for many years now. In addition to this, I used to be a brand strategist who worked with blue chip companies on how to motivate people in the workplace via persuasion of the company’s brand… So I get this stuff on a number of levels.
Here is my list of ideas.
1. Find your leverage
Ok, this really is the hard step. It is part strategy and part psychology. Let’s say you are paying a general labourer $20/hr and you now want them to check-in to the job with their mobile phone to start their time for the day and tell you what they worked on at the end of the day. You have to find a reason why they will want to do it, regardless of the fact that you are mandating it. The leverage has to be on your side to get them to do it. Remember, this is YOUR idea, not his/hers. So what are the elements that you have at your fingertips, that will be either the carrot or the stick. Keep in mind that it is human nature to respond more quickly to the pain of stick than the pleasure of the carrot. So let’s identify carrot factors:
- Conscience – People in construction are, in my experience very down to earth people. You have to establish a personal connection to the workers and aspire to their soft spot of being a stand-up person. This way they won’t want to let you down.
- Value of change personally – Establish that the reason that they may not be where they want to be in life is attributed to value. Being good at the mechanics of the job was enough in the old days, but not today, the systems around the mechanics are just as important. Those who embrace systems around construction and who are good at it are worth more $$ as their career develops. This is free school for them! NOTE: Try not to set your self up for a pay raise here.
- Co-worker reputation – No one likes to be embarrassed or singled out and looking stupid. There is some leverage that you can get here by communicating that “everyone is doing this, so don’t be the weak link in the process”. Also, beware of the company clown who engages a lack of caring via humour with the other crew members. This person requires special treatment to get him/her on side.
2. Get alignment
As mentioned, getting leverage is a key component. Once you have utilized the above, now is the time have some sort of meeting or micro-event that feels special. This is the opportunity to align people in mass. Show that you appreciate the extra effort it will take to become more efficient and that the company will move forward together.
3. Choose an office and field person to lead
Implementing any new system with a whole team is tough. From on-boarding our clients we have discovered that choosing a PM and a Foreman/Superintendent to pilot the system on a single job is a great way to establish initiative-leaders in the company. They will find a way to become familiar with the software to impress their coworkers and you, which will result in a solid foundation of momentum and internal thought leadership.
4. Phase the rollout in weeks of different features
After the pilot process in point (3) is complete, roll out no more than 2 features at a time. Systems are useless without input, so you can’t overwhelm your people with too much new stuff. With most software you can manage permissions to accomplish this.
5. Establish an opportunity for feedback
Showing, and truly demonstrating that you care what they think is imperative. Establish an open dialogue of feedback to get some real answers back. It is recommended to structure this feedback with YOUR questions first to establish some order and then have a general comments section.
6. Conduct a technology overview
There is nothing worse than implementing a system and it falling down due to hardware issues. From phones to tablets, all the field equipment must be checked to ensure that the required device functions are set to what the apps need.
These are some typical things to look our for:
- Memory/Storage space
- App has access to camera
- App has access to location
- App has notifications on
- App has enough data in its monthly plan
- Qr scanner is accessing camera
7. Create a change incentive plan with metrics
Lastly, this is YOUR IDEA!!! Now yes, on one side, it is their job to do what you say, BUT, you still have to get them on side with your leverage. To add more leverage implement an incentive plan that encompasses, gift cards or tickets or some token of appreciation when those who show movement are recognized. Here are some ideas for each quarter incentives:
- Most comprehensive reports
- Most improved from last time
- Most consistent
- Also, it is a good idea to identify those who are poor at it too. You have to do this carefully and use some humility to not cut them too deep.
I hope that this article was useful for you and that you comment on this video (audio-only) with your questions In the comments below or in twitter. Once we have consolidated all your comments, we will address them in a youtube answer video.
James Faulkner – SiteMax Systems