TSI Blog

The Writings On The Wall

July 24th, 2014 by Alison McKinney

Communication is central to all aspects of life. It’s a vital skill for maintaining your personal as well as professional relationships.

It’s also more critically important than ever for organisations to actively promote and foster healthy communication in the workplace.

However, if you have a workforce where operations are primarily made up of sub-contractors spread over numerous project sites, as in the construction industry, then effective communication can be a real challenge.

Construction sites are information intensive environments. Various construction personnel need large amounts of information ranging from project design drawings to calendars to support their ongoing works as well as the all-important Health & Safety regulations.

Technology

There should be consideration given to the use of new technology to assist in communication. While the benefits of such items as mobile phones and two way radios are well known, digital cameras, on site internet and e-mail access can also be beneficial communication tools.

For example, detailed architectural and planning drawings can be e-mailed between the site office and the architect, as can digital photographs of defects and progress. The internet can be utilised to access information such as Building Standards, Building Regulations and Planning Law as well as good practice guidance documentation.

Meetings

Well-structured project meetings should be held and whilst it is almost universally accepted that no one likes going to meetings, it’s a great way to communicate with those people with responsibility on a project and helps site work to progress smoothly.

Minutes should always be circulated after the meeting and include action points with the responsible person(s) identified and dates to be completed by.

In The Loop Comms

Where instructions, drawings or documents end up being passed outside the correct formal channels ensure that all relevant parties are kept informed. For example, where the architect has amended a drawing and perhaps sent it over to a sub-contractor, the main contractor must also be informed and given a copy of the amendment.

Upwards Feedback

Try to look at ways and means by which information can be effectively fed back up through the formal management chain. There are two key areas where this can be particularly important and are as follows:

  • Employees to site office (e.g. reporting on an incorrect drawing).
  • Site office to head office (e.g. where an incorrect detail is discovered, this should be reported back to the design office and the drawings corrected).

Various Other Methods

  • Telephone help desks
  • CD ROMS
  • Videos
  • Hand held guides
  • Posters
  • Instructions printed on packaging

With the rapid pace of change, especially in the construction industry, means that organisations need to step up a gear when it comes to ensuring they have effective and timely communication.

It is also a critical aspect of employee engagement, which in turn, promotes better performance, employee retention and well-being. Employees are more engaged when information flows freely and they are aware of organisational activities and management decisions that affect their jobs.

If you would like to know more about how effective communication can help increase employee engagement levels in your organisation, then contact us on +44 (0) 1255 850051.

Written by Alison McKinney
Alison McKinney is the Project and Quality Assurance Manager at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Alison has extensive experience in project management and quality assurance and has recently worked on projects for clients as diverse as: WSP Middle East. Natural History Museum, Peverel, Marine Stewardship Council, Accor UK &Ireland and Thompsons Solicitors. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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Posted by: The Writings On The Wall | The Survey Initiativ…
July 24, 2014

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