Communication comes in many forms, including email, text, phone calls, instant messaging, radios, intercoms, in-person meetings, signs and hand signals. If your communication flows smoothly, so will your project. It’s all about developing a culture of collaboration within your crew and management structure. Developing effective communication is essential to the success of any work environment. Communication is especially crucial on construction sites where safety, productivity, and efficiency are of the highest priority. If communication on a construction site fails, not only can it potentially cause problems and delays for the project, but it can also result in damage to equipment or property or, in the worst case, injury or death to members of your crew. The good news is that communication is a skill that can be taught, practiced, and improved to decrease the number of communication issues within your team. Check out these methods for fostering strong communication practices on any construction site:
- Establish a chain of command: Companies create a chain of command in order to flow instructions downward and accountability upward by providing each level of workers with a supervisor. Each crew member should be made aware of who they report to, as well as when and why. They also need to have a means of communication such as a cloud-based database where everyone can collaborate in real-time. Using the right tech for your construction company goes a long way in reducing error. It’s also important to have one central location where project communications can be found, such as a mobile app like Crew. This makes it easier for workers to access the latest project details. Of course, verbal and face-to-face communication will always be key parts of the equation.
- Establish hand signal: There are some instances when the best way to transmit information is to do it visually. This may be because the workplace is noisy or there is some distance between the people communicating or it could be because there are general risks in an area, requiring everyone entering it to take precautions. The simplest way to get information across under these conditions is to use workplace signs or hand signals. The ability to rapidly and effectively communicate is essential for worker safety in hazardous waste operations, construction sites, and in other types of workplaces. While hand signaling shouldn’t be your primary means of communication, incorporating signals into your communication strategy helps to solidify every verbal message. Signaling can also save time when verbal communication isn’t necessary.
- Start each day with a meeting: As a Construction Manager, It’s your responsibility to be the keeper of knowledge and know all of the things. It’s worth taking the time in your morning schedule to create and share the agendas for these meetings with your clients and internal team. At the beginning of every workday, you should get everyone together and make sure there’s no confusion. Give your team the opportunity to ask any questions and speak their mind. Even if the meeting just lasts a quick 30 seconds, everyone will be able to work more confidently, knowing there are no looming issues that have gone unaddressed.
- Maintain Quality Checks of Communication: Any construction worker is surely familiar with quality checks, as they appear in just about every area on a worksite. Whether it’s checking equipment function before starting a job or doing a final safety check on an electric system before signing off, construction professionals know a job isn’t done until a quality check has been performed and passed. You can also implement quality checks on your crew’s communications. Require each of your crews to maintain proper documentation of their communications and schedule regular checks to ensure these processes are being followed. There are plenty of metrics you can use to measure communications, such as the frequency of meetings and the accuracy of documentation.
- Foster a Positive Work Environment: A study found that nearly half of employees didn’t feel comfortable communicating issues to their boss between formal reviews, but nearly three-quarters said they’d be more vocal if they received feedback more frequently. It’s a manager’s job to establish a work environment where employees are encouraged to communicate openly not just when things are going well, but also when they are confused or dissatisfied. Establishing open lines of communication ensures team members feel satisfied, valued, and heard. Developing solid communication among your workers starts with the supervisor. The leader of the project sets the mood. In order to improve communication among everyone, you must first improve your own communication.