A Harvard Business Review survey found that 71% of managers in different industries said that meetings are inefficient and unproductive, while 65% said meetings kept them from finishing their work on time. The construction industry is also plagued with this problem, where meetings are merely a formality and less of a productive brainstorming session.
Fortunately, workforce planning software can make communication a breeze for general contractors, reducing the need for frequent one-on-one construction meetings. But even then, you may need to conduct meetings to discuss pressing issues like scheduling conflicts, resource allocation problems, and budget constraints.
Below, we look at common mistakes contractors and managers make during construction meetings. We also discuss how to avoid these mistakes and how to take informative action to make your meetings more productive.
4 common mistakes during workplace planning meetings
Workplace planning meetings are integral to a construction project’s success since they help project managers look for gaps in their workforce, develop strategies to address the site’s needs, and plan for timely work completion.
However, the following meetings often restrict progress and render any planning inefficient.
Lack of clear objectives
Any meeting without clear objectives is doomed from the beginning. Without proper objectives and goals, the meeting becomes unfocused, resulting in the participants losing track of the discussion and eventually losing interest.
How to avoid it
Here are some common objectives you can set for your workforce planning meetings:
- Assess workforce capacity – One of the main objectives of a workforce planning meeting is to assess onsite workforce capacity. Managers should discuss if they have a sufficient workforce for every task on the construction site and if there are enough people to complete the project in due time. If there are any gaps in experience, resources, manpower, or skills, the managers should then address them.
- Develop staffing plan – The staffing plan outlines the number of employees designated for each phase of the project. For example, how many welders, electricians, plumbers, and so on should the project have? The plan must also account for fluctuations in labor demand and be flexible enough to accommodate any changes in the project scope or timeline.
- Identify training needs – Are there skills gaps on the site that need to be filled? The meeting could focus on addressing how the managers will fill these skill gaps and which skills are missing from the project. For instance, if the labor has never had safety training, the managers can discuss how to implement a safety training program for their team.
72% of professionals believe that a meeting’s success depends on setting clear objectives, while 67% think having a clear agenda leads to successful meetings. Either way, it’s important to have a clear plan of action before the meeting starts.
Too many opinions
The more attendees in a workforce planning meeting, the more chaos and lack of discipline. When there are too many people giving their opinions, it’s hard to take the project forward since there’s always a risk of someone objecting to the proposed plan of action.
According to Harvard Business Review, the most successful meetings have fewer than 8 people. Having fewer people in the room makes much more sense than overcrowding a space with people, opinions, and conflicts.
How to avoid it
The key is to limit the number of people in meetings to eight or fewer. 35%of attendees believe that having fewer people in the room is the way to a meeting’s success.
You can accomplish this by creating an attendee list based on the chain of communication on your construction site. Only the individuals at the top of the communication hierarchy should attend the meeting. They can then relay the message to people working under them.
A workforce planning meeting should have the following individuals:
- Project manager
- General contractor
- Site manager
- Safety officer
- Quality control specialist
Another mistake managers make when conducting workforce planning meetings is not having enough data to base their decisions on. Even if present, the data is often incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate, resulting in flawed decision-making.
How to avoid it
In 2018, only 38% of the organizations were making data-driven decisions, a number that jumped to 50% by 2020, indicating the importance of data in decision-making. Therefore, if you want to make your meetings data-driven, it’s important to collect data about the onsite workforce. Here are some ways to do this:
- Time tracking software – You can use time tracking software to record the number of hours every employee works. The data helps you track productivity and monitor labor costs.
- Site observations: Site visits can give you insight into the productivity levels, skills, and expertise of your workforce. You can then use this information to plan workforce designation, training, and career development programs.
- Feedback from employees – Asking employees for their feedback helps you understand the current challenges of your workforce. You can hand out employee surveys to learn more about engagement and employee satisfaction. The results will help you develop strategies to address issues that might be slowing the work process.
- Employee records – If you have a history of working with the same labor, you can use employee records to collect data about employee experience, qualifications, skills, and training.
Overlooked inclusion and diversity
Research shows that diverse companies capture new markets and see higher productivity. But if you overlook inclusion and diversity in your workforce planning meetings, you miss out on these benefits.
Many managers make the mistake of not accounting for the unique needs of their employees when creating workforce plans. It can lead to teams becoming unmotivated and unproductive, resulting in lower performance levels.
How to avoid it
Start by creating a record of the current diversity on the construction site. How many women workers do you have? Are people from different races working on the site? Also, account for religious diversity.
Use this data to develop a plan of action that makes all groups feel equally represented and appreciated. For instance, you can ask your Muslim laborers for suggestions on making work easier for them during Ramadan when they fast during the day.
Workforce planning meetings mistakes should be avoided at all costs since they come to haunt you later in the form of delayed work, untimely work completion, unproductive labor, increased costs, and unsatisfied clients.
By avoiding the mistakes mentioned in this guide, you can ensure more successful and efficient meetings that account for your workforce’s needs in addition to their skills and expertise.