Imagine walking through one of your job sites and notice the same mistake being made by your project team that occurred only a few months ago on another job site. The risks and costs associated with mistakes on projects can be substantial. Teams must recognize and assess those risks and establish processes to manage them. Often these standard operating practices are defined with input from all stakeholders. This ensures the collective project team is aligned with the objective and working towards the same goal. This same concept goes for construction companies. Having well defined business processes can help your company align with the business objectives, provide standard guidelines for organizations to work together efficiently and mitigate risks.
Where do I start?
Establish a Business Operating Leadership team with representation from core areas of the business. The team would lead, monitor, and identify opportunities to improve business processes. Consider individuals who are innovated, open minded, effective communicators and organized.
Then identify your business processes, this is an activity or set of activities that accomplish a specific organization goal. Then consider organizing them into broader categories, for example operations process, supporting process, management, etc. This provides clear descriptions of the activity(s), how different processes function and stakeholders who would be involved.
Next define the methods available for how they will be captured and documented. Often using a variety of methods (workflows, step-by-step instructions, videos, etc.) can be most effective. Consideration should be given to the process, who will be using it and what makes the most sense to your organization.
Finally, set expectations with your organization on the importance of process documentation and encourage a mindset of contribution and continuous improvement.
As you establish and/or evaluate business processes, consider collaborating with process stakeholders as needed. Getting buy-in to contribute to process documentation will be one of the more difficult tasks. Encouraging individuals to participate helps employees feel empowered and creates buy-in. It also benefits the organization by leveraging individuals’ knowledge and experiences.
Encourage continuous improvement by allowing stakeholders to submit improvement ideas, highlighting their contributions and provide incentives for great ideas.
How do I make content available?
Investing in a software platform designed for knowledge sharing, like a learning management system (LMS) solution, can be a valuable asset to a company. These types of platforms are most often scalable allowing companies to start small and continue to leverage tools/functions over time.
Traditionally, to capture and pass on knowledge, companies would create a large binder of documented processes. This manual would contain an overview of company processes and would oftentimes include paper copies of essential templates to reference (ex.: Purchase Order forms, Punchlist template, etc.).
Over time with the evolution of technology companies moved away from paper copies to electronic forms. These were saved on employee local drive or internal intranet sites. However, these solutions were limited in their capabilities. Oftentimes resulting in confusing folder structures, increasing difficulty finding documents and additionally, they lacked the functionality of easy collaboration, version management and searchability.
A knowledge-based platform offers enhanced capabilities for organizations to better manage their content making it easier for users to access what they need and mobile too to access it when they need it. More advanced technology can also be a leverage to curate content, assign it to users and track progress.
Whatever approach you choose, focus on making it easier for your employees to access what they need in order to complete their jobs most efficiently– whether they’re in the office or on one or more job sites.