The Construction Workforce Management Gap

Six construction laborers work on a metal structure at sunset.

It’s an uphill battle: Figuring out what field resources you have available, what projects to put them on and how they will get there on time. Most contractors have an inefficient spreadsheet, whiteboard or paper-based solution, handling their most important asset in a fallible way. Instead of using their valuable time improving business practices, construction leadership often spends hours scheduling meetings, making endless phone calls and trying to make sense of confusing documents. This has led to a major gap in construction — a workforce management gap.

“The Way It’s Always Been Done”

Every contractor is practicing workforce management. However, most are doing so unknowingly and unequipped. This equates to processes that are fragmented, unstandardized, redundant and high risk. Imagine running your business without an ERP, your projects without a project manager, or financials without an accounting department. It creates chaos — and that’s exactly how most contractors are handling workforce management today simply because “it’s the way it’s always been done.” 

Redundant and inaccurate workforce information can increase project costs and make work inconsistent every week. With no way to look ahead or behind, contractors have to live day-to-day, unable to optimize past or present data to inform future projects. With all this headache, current labor scheduling and management solutions just aren’t cutting it anymore. What’s missing? A better workforce management solution.

Marion Chartand, Senior Project Coordinator, Mid America Contracting, says “It never occurred to me that scheduling and managing your labor resources were different processes with different needs, until I was manually tracking all of it.”

What is Construction Workforce Management?

Workforce management (WFM) is an organizational approach used to optimize efficiency and effectiveness of employees. When each of your workers are accounted for and utilized appropriately, you’re able to get a better grasp of who makes up your organization and what they're good at

Specific to the industry, construction workforce management means getting the right people, in the right place, at the right time, which in turn, creates the right plan. Without proper workforce management, you're up against a guessing game to locate a skilled worker with the correct qualifications for a certain project at the appointed time. 

Construction workforce management is commonly a fragmented process. Unlike estimating or accounting practices, most contractors do not utilize the proper technology to manage their workforce. However, with the right digital solution, those endless scheduling meetings and cumbersome documents can be replaced with digitized data housed in cloud-based software.

Aaron Tassell, Director of Construction Technologies, DeMaria Building Co., says, “The ability to forecast is most beneficial to our management team because now they can plan properly for the project beforehand.”


WFM: More Than Labor Scheduling

Properly utilized, workforce management means managing your roster beyond a schedule.  

It can also help you manage your people and data to make better decisions about how to assign your labor. Forecasting and increased communication means your current workforce will benefit from knowing exactly when and where they need to be. Instead of wasting time on short-term, inefficient labor management processes, workforce management can create cohesive connections between the office and field. 

Labor can go from the largest unknown on your project to the most organized aspect. Learn more about workforce management and how it can change the game for your organization.

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Director of Business Development
Brian Witt specializes in building the LaborChart community and oversees strategic initiatives with industry and technical partners. Prior to his current role, Brian was one of LaborChart’s first Account Executives and helped lead sales processes and new business growth for the organization. Brian’s operational background stems from his time as an Infantry Officer in the US Army. He is an alum of the Construction Science & Management Program at Kansas State University.

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