Construction is one of the largest contributors to the U.S. economy, with an average of $1.3-trillion per year in new and refurbished structures alone. While construction is a financial business, it’s also a relationship business based upon trust.
Autodesk and FMI (Fails Management Institute) surveyed 2,500 construction professionals worldwide about collaboration and published the findings in the 2020 industry report, “Trust Matters: The High Cost of Low Trust.”
Trust is having confidence in others. In business, trust is knowing that you will get what you need from others because their behavior and output are consistent. In construction, trust can be internal among employees and managers and external with organizations and subcontractors involved in a project.
Trust was more common decades ago, before the complications caused by a remote workforce and teams positioned in other geographic locations.
However, it’s still worth building and nurturing collaborative relationships so you don’t miss out on the following benefits of trust-based collaboration.
Collaboration based on trust and relationships not only benefits the project, it benefits the company long-term in repeat business and loyalty. It’s much less expensive to perform repeat business for existing customers than to acquire new customers. The savings are realized because you’ve already invested in developing the customer relationship, aligned your billing process to their needs and adapted your technology to meet their requirements. In addition, existing customers will often pay a premium to work with you, because through their relationship with you, they know they can rely on you to deliver. Repeat business is more common for firms that operate with high-trust environments.
Trust within an organization depends on finding solutions to problems rather than assigning blame. A culture based on transparency in collaboration provides employees with the job security they want and is a natural segue to a stronger commitment to the company. When problems are handled this way consistently, employees are more willing to give their opinions about what’s not working, thus helping improve the project and company processes overall.
For a closer look at healthy business culture, check out Bridging the Gap episode 33 with Jake Olsen, “Your Personality and the Team.”
With collaboration based on trust, companies can finesse a project’s details and are more likely to complete it on time. The report points out that busted schedules can cost a company an average of 17% against its revenues. Companies with a high level of trust internally can have corporate-wide confidence in meeting project schedules. Employees know they can depend on each other for quality data and communication, and company management knows it can rely on its employees and contractors to collaborate successfully to meet project deadlines.
Collaboration enables teams and team members to engage and take responsibility. An important step in the construction project is to identify each worker’s roles and duties. Most workers will go the extra mile to achieve their work when they understand what they’re responsible for. This empowers them to grow, make decisions and often perform more than what’s expected. Collaboration makes individuals privy to the bigger picture – the common goal – and their part in it. Collaboration is especially important in the field, because those teams make the project happen.
Another benefit of internal relationships that foster collaboration is the retention of talent. Skilled construction labor is at a premium worldwide. The study found that companies with the highest level of trust among employees also had the lowest turnover rates. This not only provides continuity on projects, it saves the company up to one-third of a person’s salary to replace them if they quit – including severance pay, recruitment and training.
From repeat business and better schedules to improved employee performance and retention, trust plays such an important part in collaboration, and collaboration plays a vital role in making the construction industry more productive. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for every company to explore ways to improve internal and external relationships based on trust.
If you’re looking for a technology partner you can trust, contact Applied Software today. The experts of Applied know your industry, and they can help you champion innovation at your company.