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3 Strategies to Get Past Tech Fatigue in Construction

3 Strategies to Get Past Tech Fatigue in Construction

Ways to flip the script on why construction tech adoption sometimes fails

September 14, 2022

12 min read

Learnables

Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan

Content Marketing Manager

The Two Origins of Tech Fatigue

Have you taken a look at the endless list of vendors at this year's Groundbreak? There are so many software tools available to general contractors today, and it doesn't help that they're all similarly named and logo'd (Buildr is guilty as charged; green is just too good a color to pass up).

It can feel overwhelming with the sheer volume of options out there for every individual pain-point. Want a workforce planning solution? There are 18 companies who'd like a word with you. It goes without saying that any tech you come across could help to improve productivity, enhance safety, or solve scaling issues to some degree. Yet it’s common to be so paralyzed by choice—or also very commonly, you've been burned by your company's past choices and don't want to be burned again—that you develop tech fatigue.

There's already so much other work to do in construction and new tech adoption can feel like a full-time job in itself. As we've touched on in the past, sometimes it's literally a full-time W2 job.

Yet, technology has so much to offer today's general contractors. Technology is ultimately just another tool, after all. Builders could certainly build with less tools—it would just take a heck of a lot longer.

No matter the specific needs your organization has, recognizing the value of some tech—and the value of avoiding others—can help one see real benefits that translate into real profits. 

Let's take a look at some key ways that you can flip the script on tech fatigue. That is, consider how you can encourage and take the lead in implementing new, valuable technology into your operation even when others on your team may not be as interested in learning something new or messing with "how we've always done it."  

1: Determine your pain-point priorities

Before you even getting into the tech-vetting stage, do a temperature check on what your pain-points are. Talk to your people and see what issue keeps floating to the top. Does this issue align with what your company values are? It might be time to start comparing techs.

If your list of pain-points are 20-30 long, chances are you should prioritize seeking tech solutions for the ones you thought of first. Many times when a GC is uninterested in a tech solution, it's not because they don't suffer that pain the tech helps. Simply, there are just more pain points that are much more pronounced and may need solutions sooner.

You may work somewhere where your organization adopted tech in the past, maybe to aid a pain-point that wasn't a true priority. It may have been before your time, but do you remember what happened? The implementation took too long, adoption was low with little internal buy-in, you may have had one or two people who actually knew how to use the damn thing. Ultimately, you ended up not renewing, citing, "a shoddy product."

In truth, you two just weren't a good match. It's not you or them, it's both of you.

One of the most important steps to take once you get a feel for a pain-point that needs a solution is to get to know your myriad of options carefully. It's never a smart move to blindly partner with the first tech you demo. Compare at least two and weigh the pros and cons.

Do you want to take a flyer on an upstart company with more wiggle room when it comes to building to your specific needs? You may very well be an early adopter that enjoys being on the ground floor of an exciting piece of software and understand the risks that come with that. Are you only willing to adopt a piece of software once every single general contractor in existence has already done so, understanding that the inner-workings of this tech is so established that it won't have the same level of support? You're what's known as a laggard in the technology adoption lifecycle, and that's okay too.

It’s easy to find yourself interested in new tech because of the great marketing tactics of a given company. Before you invest, go for a test run—try it for free if that's an option, dig through the reviews, ask your peers at other companies their experiences, and get insight into the actual functionality the piece will offer to your business. Ultimately, you're doing that tech company a favor if you don't partner with them if there isn't truly a fit. You'll eventually have a bad experience and churn which, obviously, is a huge waste of time and benefits nobody.

2: Give your people some kind of incentive

Making a switch from a long-used habit is never easy and there will always be some degree of pushback, even when that habit is paradoxically logistically worse than whatever the new thing is. This buy-in portion could be an article in itself but you have to simultaneously generate buy-in from your team and then continue to incentivize the use of the new technology or you'll be wasting your money.

Sometimes tech fatigue is actually the lack of incentive to want to change the way one does something, in disguise. If you are confident that a new piece of tech is going to produce better results for your organization, then it is worth putting some money or other benefits towards incentivizing your people to learn and use it. 

Find creative ways to gain buy-in. If you've got some competitive team members, make a game out of it. Have a time-blocked session at your next company retreat where all you do is work together using the tech with a comped lunch. Don’t patronize or threaten your team, but be open in your goals of a tech solution being widely adopted. Put some sort of bonus on the proof of your team's true buy-in of the new piece of tech. 

3: Ensure there’s ample support and haste for implementation 

While you may be focused on what your team needs to do to ensure the success of this spanking new tool, you also have to consider what specific strategies you need to put in place to ensure its implementation goes well. Poor implementation is always a sin of the tech company and not your company, and is an organizational issue that stems from their not prioritizing customer success. They want to make a sale but don't want to make a lasting relationship.

Think of it like this: there's a chainlink between the tech company and you and there's another chainlink between you and your company. Both chainlinks need to be sturdy; if either breaks, the tech simply won't bring balance to your organization and your contract will be a complete waste of money.

One component of implementation success is to suss out and ensure you've vetted the customer success team of the technology provider. You want to be sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they have a process that works well and is proven. The smoother the application of the new technology goes, the more likely your team is to use it. This is where consulting other customers of the product directly comes into play. If you know implementation can be rocky with your organization and you need extra hand-holding at the beginning, try to get the inside scoop on how the new piece of tech's implementation process is.

More so, it helps to ensure that there's ample support available once the system is in place. If your team does not have a way to get help for a problem, they are less likely to actually adopt that technology and use it. They will go back to what they know is easier, faster, and more productive. 

Also, be sure that the implementation process will not take very long to complete. At the same time, it has to be expansive. It’s a fine balancing act to ensure it goes well.

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