While communication is essential in every industry, it is especially important in construction. Miscommunications are much more dangerous on a job site than they are in a boardroom or behind a desk. Here, our team explains why communication is so imperative and provides tips on how to make sure that everyone gets on the same page on the job site.
Importance of Clear Communication
Not only does clear communication help to make sure jobs are done properly, but it can also help to save a life. According to a recent study by the National Institute of Health, injury rates are 71% higher in construction than any other industry. Making sure that your team understands what to do and how to properly do it can ensure that they leave the job site safely every day.
Communication Tips for Construction Workers
While clear communication may seem like a simple goal, achieving this can be complicated, especially for bigger teams and intricate projects. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Avoid Using Jargon
Jargon, or industry-specific terms, is no stranger to the construction industry. However, jargon may not be universally understood, especially by those who are new to construction. Cutting out jargon can help cut out the confusion and ensure that your team spends more time working safely and less time trying to decipher what something means.
Build Soft Skills
Communication is an essential soft skill. While the construction industry places a strong emphasis on more concrete skill sets, soft skills are extremely important on the job site. Examples of valuable soft skills include being able to write clearly, accurately take measurements, draw diagrams clearly, actively listen, and properly comprehend instructions.
Soft skills may come easily to some, but not to others. Some team members may need extra support to develop these skills. Holding team-building exercises can help strengthen soft skills as well as boost team morale.
Establish a Clear Chain of Command
It is important that your team has a clear chain of command. This will help to standardize communication, create efficiency and accountability, and eliminate confusion. When everyone on the team understands who needs to know what, they can properly relay messages.
The chain of command should be laid out at the beginning of a project and include project owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and any other members of individual crews who will be working on the project.
Use Technology Where Possible
In today’s day and age, many industries are embracing technology, and construction is no exception. Many construction-specific platforms and applications have been developed specifically for communication on the job site.
While new technology or project management software may be pricey, it is a worthwhile investment. It can help to cut down on time, wasted materials, and frustration. Taking the time to properly train your team to use any software you introduce will ensure that it is being used correctly.
Quality checks are commonplace in construction. Inspections, safety checks, and walk-throughs hold us accountable in the quality of our work. The same should be done for the quality of communication. Requiring proper documentation of communications and implementing checks will ensure that established processes are being followed. Metrics such as frequency of meetings and accuracy of documentation are things you can use to measure your team’s success.
Encourage Open Communication
While many of the above steps help to teach employees how to communicate, it is also important that they understand when to communicate. It is management’s job to establish an environment where employees are encouraged to communicate—not just when things are going well, but especially when they aren’t. Ensuring that team members feel satisfied, valued, and heard will make it easier for problems to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Educate and Plan for a Bilingual Workforce
All of the aforementioned tips are useless if there is a language barrier on your team. One study from Forbes found that 67% of employers have experienced miscommunications caused by language barriers in their organization, ultimately leading to inefficiencies.
The construction industry is an extremely diverse industry. Management needs to be equipped to communicate with workers whose primary language isn’t English. Offering basic language training and implementing processes in more than one language are structural updates that can ensure all team members can do their jobs properly.
Communication is a Key Part of The Gray Way
At Gray & Son, we understand just how important communication is. Our team approach is something that sets us apart. We work in team environments at nearly all levels of the company, and communication is an integral part of this. To learn more about how we work or to request an estimate, call us today!