The construction industry is constantly evolving, and change is a necessary part of growth. Its ability to change has seen the industry maintain its position as one of the largest and most important to the Australian economy. Australian businesses within the construction sector are often grappling with innovation, technology, and shifting industry standards in order to remain competitive and viable. This is where change management is so important.
Change management is the structured process that facilitates the transformation of individuals, teams and organisations. It’s essentially a series of steps that allow change to occur with minimal disruption and upheaval. Change management facilitates the seamless integration of new tools, systems, and processes.
Implementing change without falling into common pitfalls is crucial, especially in an industry like construction that is fast-paced and affected by time and money constraints.
In this blog, we’ll explore the five common change management mistakes construction businesses make. Recognising and addressing these challenges can pave the way for agility and efficiency within the industry.
1. Lack of clear communication
Lack of clear and effective communication is a formidable obstacle that can derail change initiatives. Transparent and consistent communication is essential for conveying the vision, goals, and necessary steps for change. This communication needs to filter through to everyone affected by the change and be a two-way process. Employees, subcontractors and stakeholders need to feel comfortable voicing their concerns, asking questions, and sharing their ideas. Without this discussion, doubt and resentment can fester.
2. Neglecting employee involvement in the change process
Neglecting employee involvement is another common pitfall that can impede change management. More often than not, employees will be most affected by the changes you want to implement. They are at the heart of your business, dealing with day-to-day tasks. Involving them in the change process isn’t simply a common courtesy but a strategic decision that can make or break a change initiative. Employees who feel engaged and empowered become advocates of the proposed change and can drive success.
3. Insufficient planning
Construction businesses already know that planning is integral to a project’s success. Without a plan for how the process will work, what resources are needed, and the time constraints and budget, a project will likely fail. Unfortunately, this indisputable fact is often neglected when it comes to change, but it’s just as important. By planning out the transition required for the change and looking at aspects like who will be affected, what tasks will change, what responsibilities will be affected and so on, change is more likely to be successful. Planning ensures everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, creating a smoother path to achieving change management goals.
4. Overlooking resistance to change
People are comfortable with routine and certainty, so it’s natural for them to feel doubt about a change. Doubt can lead to resistance, making the change process an unsuccessful and costly one. This is where communication plays a big part. By asking for feedback at multiple points during the change process and really listening to and addressing people’s concerns, resistance can be managed or avoided altogether. Ignoring or overlooking resistance will only breed greater resistance and resentment. This can have wider implications for company culture and can have a negative impact on all operations.
5. Failing to measure and adapt
As with any construction project, it’s data and feedback that measures the success of a project. This is no different for change initiatives. Measuring the success of a particular change can help adaptations to be made – either to the current change to strengthen its success, or to future change initiatives to avoid repeating mistakes. Continuous measurement allows for fine-tuning of strategies, and creates a change process fully aligned with the unique qualities, values and goals of your construction business.
The significance of effective change management can’t be overstated. By avoiding common change management pitfalls, Australian construction companies can more easily pivot and respond to changes. The ability to do this will ensure growth and success.
Want to learn more about change management and how it can help you fast-track change and minimise resistance? Download our free white paper below.