Where's the REAL ROI on New Technology

A decent majority of construction company managers and owners are driven by numbers. Often times we get so wrapped up in the dollars and cents of it all that we forget that there is a human element. After all, we are in construction, not Human Resources.

Having worked and seen many projects and companies adopt different levels of technology, there are clearly some fringe payoffs that aren't quite as obvious as the dollars and cents. The ones that don't really show up in a spreadsheet but often times have a pretty large impact on the daily operations. Nailing some of these soft payoffs can make or break your company's buy-in to new tech.

Most of this a really centered around having the right tool for the job. Not almost the right too. Not something close enough. We're talking about the best tool for the task at hand.

Here are some intangibles that are a result of having the right tool for the job:

Happy employees, ie, Employees that love coming to work. Don't take my word for it - There are studies all over the place showing that happy employees, see also, engaged employees, are up to 12% more productive. That means not only are they happy and will stick around for a while, but they are also making the company more money than someone who is not happy, or disengaged. Investing a little bit of money up front to keep employees happy is a home run. Easy peasy. Just ask Google or Apple - they know that investing in the lives and happiness of their employees has astounding payoffs.

Building trusting relationships. As a follow up to the first point, happy employees need to have relationships with people at work. If there are people coming in just to punch a clock, say goodbye to happy employees and hefty profits. Specific to our case here, employees want to know that if they voice a concern or a need, it is not only heard, but it's taken care of. We should all be encouraging peers and subordinates alike to voice those opinions/concerns/needs. Then we have a chance to evaluate the need and react. Chances are, everyone will be better off because of it.

Empowering Employees - It may seem like a no-brainer, but over and over again, we push our teams to do more with less. What we fail to understand is that often times we make that very demand but don't follow it up with any support mechanism. Would you feel empowered or like management was just coming down on you with demands? A perfect example is the list of 5 Tools Your Construction Company Should be Using Today. Any one of these tools will allow your team to do more with less. We make it ever-so-difficult for that to happen, though. Let's open the door for ideas and evaluate them for the biggest return on investment. There's not shortage of information supporting Employee Empowerment and the major payoffs it has. As Jack Welch put it, "The operative assumption today is that someone, somewhere, has a better idea; and the operative compulsion is to find out who has that better idea, learn it, and put it into action – FAST!” If you don't do it because of this article, do it because Jack said so!

All this to say that there are some incredibly powerful forces at work that aren't driven directly by salary, and most the time it is going to return dividends for years to come just by investing in employees. The first step to investing in employees is providing the right to for the job. It's important to remember that the boss may not know what the exact tool is, so open it up to the team. Find out what can make their day easier and be willing to invest in that thing.