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As construction companies navigate the fast-changing world of work, they face complex challenges in keeping frontline workers safe, engaged, informed, and productive. And while organizations are responding fast, much remains to be done to adapt and thrive in the new normal.

81% of construction firms have trouble filling both salaried and hourly craft positions, and 72% anticipate labor shortages to be the biggest hurdle in the next few years, according to the 2020 Construction Outlook Survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Leaders find it extremely hard to motivate, manage, and connect with construction workers, not least because the industry has a diverse, distributed, and multilingual workforce. Only 24% of construction workers worldwide feel connected to their workplace and its mission, values, and purpose, based on findings from the 2021 LiveTiles Global Employee Experience Survey.

Digital Collaboration Tools: Building a bridge to the frontline

The entire business landscape has been reshaped by rapid digitization, and construction is no exception. Construction firms can leverage unique opportunities to invest in technology and revamp the industry so it can emerge stronger than before.

About 41% of construction workers believe that having the right tools, technology, and support is crucial to fulfilling their jobs, but only 32% say that they have access to the digital tools they need, according to the LiveTiles survey. By keeping frontline construction workers digitally connected, construction companies benefit from a renewed sense of engagement across their teams.

A connected and engaged workforce leads to an increase in productivity, more seamless workflows, and stronger project management — elements that construction companies need to hit their targets. Here are concrete steps that construction companies can take to adopt digitization strategies, boost employee engagement, and elevate the employee experience in the construction industry.

1. Strengthen safety culture

Leaders in construction have been prioritizing ways to minimize risks on-site even before the pandemic. To effectively protect their frontline workers, they must adopt a mobile-first strategy that optimizes safety-related communication.

Using a mobile platform like LiveTiles Reach enables employees to quickly share ideas on safety-related concerns and improvements. With the mobile app, construction workers can send real-time alerts on safety red flags and upload photos of potential hazards to keep co-workers informed. This mobile-based software makes it easier for construction workers to identify risks and share safety best practices (as well as quickly access all the relevant health and safety manuals). Leaders can also use it to easily track health and safety compliance.

2. Enable seamless communication and a collaborative working environment

A mobile-first strategy empowers leaders and frontline construction workers to reach each other directly on personal devices wherever they’re working. Through a collaboration and productivity app, construction workers get the real-time information, insights, and interaction they need to stay efficient and engaged.

LiveTiles Reach allows every employee to send and receive communication in their preferred language. This helps construction firms and frontline workers overcome language barriers and strengthen relationships and inclusion.

The app also makes communication more personal and relevant to construction workers by giving them a reliable way to send real-time feedback and concerns. Frontline workers feel a sense of belonging and trust when their views are acknowledged and acted upon. Leaders can also use the platform to keep frontline construction workers aligned with the business strategy (or even crowdsource feedback).

3. Provide easy access to resources

Collecting and sharing field data is as essential as it has ever been in the construction industry. Frontline workers in construction need technology that is easy and straightforward  to use. An employee communications app gives them quick access to information and processes that are critical to completing projects.

The mobile app also smooths the path for seamless employee onboarding in a hands-on, fast-paced environment. Access to accurate data can help avoid costly delays and ensures all changes to project plans can be quickly implemented.

Moving Forward: The right technology to enhance engagement

Mobile communication apps have far-reaching implications as stakeholders build momentum in the construction industry. With the right digital communication and technology solutions, construction companies can strengthen workplace culture and connect workers throughout this period of uncertainty.

With a mobile-first strategy, leaders can successfully engage with frontline teams and boost efficiency, safety, well-being, productivity, and morale. As workers embrace mobile technologies, they feel more empowered to share feedback, knowledge, and information. This, in turn, leads to increased employee satisfaction and retention and a much improved employee experience.