Tech adoption trends in the construction industry today are reminiscent of that 173-year old quote by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” A 2021 article by Enigma People Solutions explains that a change of heart must accompany turbulent changes before they will affect reality on a deeper level than merely emphasizing the status quo. A change of heart – an investment of desire – is needed for lasting change to take place.
It may be this very phenomenon which is playing out in the construction industry. As a whole, the construction industry is resilient. But it’s somewhat cheerless to admit that’s a surprise.
Consider that the industry as a whole has been under a microscope since March 2020, when it was forced to adopt technology at breakneck speeds in order to survive. We know that most companies need a compelling reason to adopt technology. Margins are thin as it is, so there needs to be a direct line between innovation and better productivity, particularly less rework.
For companies that had already built a tech-savvy staff prior to 2020, they were able to change lanes without much of a hit to productivity. For others that were conflicted about the changes, they either became stronger or leadership decided retirement looked a lot better than what loomed ahead. And yet, for the hesitant employees within the companies that embraced tech, it’s likely they discovered the transition wasn’t as bad and they envisioned it would be.
During that year of transition, the fortunate companies were the ones that discovered their technology providers could serve well as the partner they needed to help them understand, plan and make a successful technical transition. They needed to determine what the issues were, then bring together different champions, voices and stakeholders to solve those issues. Perhaps a solution doesn’t align perfectly with a company’s needs. Then customization is called for. The key is finding the solution that will be most flexible in terms of helping meet the need(s) of the company.
It doesn’t end there. Company leadership needs to stay abreast of what works and what doesn’t. Some companies may not have thought through what they need before they start considering software solutions and providers.
Social dynamics have a big part to play in the culture that nurtures tech adoption. A group tasked with a tech transition should work well together. Psychology factors into this as well, and either causes barriers or removes them. Different people respond differently to change based on their personality.
A cohesive culture can foster disagreement and still move forward. Thus, making a cultural commitment to the company’s human assets can truly pay off. That might include mentoring, leadership training, scholarships, and internships.
Also important is to tap into a person’s enthusiasm. If they are excited about something, it will empower them to find solutions and bring them to the transition group. A successful transition requires that employees take ownership in the process and in the company. The champion, for example, can energize others.
Once construction management understands the strategies, products, best practices, and steps forward to advance technology in the industry, the more things change, the more they will stay changed.
Tune in to Bridging the Gap Podcast episode 132 with guest Carole Filion to hear more about construction tech adoption trends.