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Build a Bridge to the Workforce Via Mobile Technology


By Carla Kath, Construction Executive

A construction worker can’t singlehandedly build a stadium or a 70-story skyscraper. It takes a team of workers for a large construction project to stand tall. It took almost 3,500 construction workers to build the Empire State Building in New York City, nearly 300 workers to build the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and currently 1.4 million workers to build the 2020 World Cup stadiums in Qatar.

In the construction industry, connections between employers and employees are critical to ensure a culture of collaboration, wellness and most importantly, workplace safety.

But most construction workers aren’t connected to standard communications tools, like desktop computers, each day. Rather, they’re connected to ladders, harnesses and hard hats. It’s difficult to download the latest message from a CEO when they are suspended from a steel beam 100 feet in the air.

Construction workers communicate most frequently with direct supervisors or project managers – not the CEO – to get the job done. And some subcontractors have little or no connectivity to the C-suite. Without communications channels to reach workers successfully, construction executives are missing out on the opportunity to engage their workforce and drive productivity to the top of the hub.

Construction leaders who look for new ways to reach their remote workforce with communications that matter will create a healthy workplace culture that is transparent, safe and team-oriented. Improved executive and employee connections will contribute to any construction project, from a 1,000 piece Lego set to the largest tower in the city skyline.

So, how does a construction executive connect with a widespread workforce who are pounding away on multiple projects?

The installation of an employee app is an internal communications solution used by companies across the globe. An employee app offers a broad reaching solution to engage a disconnected workforce who currently operate and communicate via the one channel that is already in their pockets: their mobile devices. An employee app could be the structure for success in any industry, especially construction.

  1. Draft a plan. Work with employees and leadership to create the architecture for a new internal communications platform. What does the tool need to do? What problems can it solve? What opportunities does it create? What content should the app include first? Create a wishlist of functionalities.
  2. Establish the foundation. Gather all of the tools, resources, people and content (copy, documents, forms, images, etc.) needed to get the employee app off the ground. A solid start will ensure that the app engages employees from day one.
  3. Build the framework. Most employee app software solutions offer free trials or demo versions of the product with minimal investment. And some allow companies to begin building the final employee app during the demo phase. Use these opportunities to test plug-ins and functionality to see what fits the best within company architecture. Add content and more content, and watch the project grow.
  4. Host a groundbreaking. Work with a team to develop a launch plan for the employee app. Make it rewarding and fun with team events, contests and useful content to keep employees coming back for more. Ask other companies what worked well for the launch and celebration of their employee apps.
  5. Engineer feedback. Use the new platform to ask employees for their opinions about the app, and gather their suggestions for improvement after a certain amount of time using the platform has passed. Surveys, forms and other feedback plugins in an employee app offer executives the opportunity to listen to employees and respond quickly.
  6. Shape success. Like a building, an employee app requires constant reworking and maintenance to ensure content and features are valuable as the needs of employees shift and change. Create a long-term plan to sustain the positive trajectory of the new internal communications platform. An employee app should grow along with the company.

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