Posts Tagged ‘construction workers’

Social Media for Recognition and Retention – Part 2

March 27, 2009

In part 1 of this topic I discussed the benefits of sharing your crews’ success stories with the world through social media. Below is a brief outline of the sequence of social media events that a project manager/principle can use to highlight the work of his or her crew:

  1. On a site walk you learn of your superintendent’s amazing effort to rally together with the rebar sub in order to satisfy a city inspector and keep the project moving forward.
  2. Shake the super’s hand and get a photo of him and anyone else involved in the game-saving event.
  3. You immediately grab your blackberry and post a 140-character message to Twitter praising the super by name for a job well done.
  4. Upon returning to the office you write a short description (1-2 paragraphs) of the story (scrubbed of any proprietary information of course) and post it to your blog along with the photo.
  5. Post another announcement on Twitter including a link to the blog post and kudos to the super for job well done.
  6. Write a more lengthy description (2 -4 paragraphs) of the accomplishment including quotes from the super and possibly the client to reinforce the impact on the project.
  7. Send an email to the whole company with a link to the recognition web page and the blog post, where peers can add their own notes of congratulations.

Social Media for Recognition and Retention – Part 1

March 27, 2009

One of the attendees at my social media presentation to the local Associated Builders and Contractors board mentioned that he felt that there were many wasted opportunities to share stories about the great work his crew did.  He went on to say that his superintendents problem solving abilities were a real competitive advantage, but he found it difficult to convey that to current and potential customers.

I thought social media would be a great mechanism for sharing such stories.  The company benefits in a couple of ways. First, as the gentleman above suspected, these stories make great marketing copy. They create an opportunity for current customers to emotionally invest in the work of their contractor and paint an enticing picture for prospective clients.

However, I think efforts to recognize your crews’ success on the web will pay bigger dividends for the morale of the crews themselves. Think about it. If you see yourself mentioned in the company’s print newsletter, you might take it home to share with your spouse. However, if your mentioned in a blog post, with a link to the recognition page on the company website, then you’re likely to share that with all of your friends and family by email. Chances are that more than a few of those folks are in construction too, which means that your recognition effort can have recruiting benefits too.

See part 2 of this post for a 7-step approach for promoting the work of your crews.

Building Airplanes vs. Building Buildings – Part 1 (Mozart vs. Phish)

June 10, 2008

If you’re in construction, believe it or not, you’re in manufacturing too. Although, your product cycle can be quite short (one piece per cycle, in the case of a multi-story tower) there are some amazing comparisons that can be made when examining the construction of $200 million building versus a $200 million airplane.

Commercial airplanes such as the Boeing 747 provide an interesting comparison with skyscrapers in terms of unit cost, complexity, lead time and scale. The one glaring difference is in the methods used to direct and monitor the assembly process. To draw a crude analogy in musical terms, building a commercial airliner is like performing Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, while building a 40-story tower is like jamming at a Phish show. One is a precise, tightly controlled process that produces beautiful music, while the other follows a loose, organic happening that can also produce beautiful music.

However, in reality the music of a jam band can suffer dramatically if one of the players is having an off night. And without a “conductor” to bring that individual player quickly back in line, an individual error can quickly propagate to ruin the song.

Workers on a construction site can suffer from the occasional off day as well. The difference is that an off day in construction can cost a few million bucks.