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Leadership & Culture Safety Best Practice

How KPost Roofing Uses Harness

KPost Roofing & Waterproofing was recently named 20th overall on the Top 100 Roofing Contractors list. The Dallas company also has the enviable title of “Official Roofer Of The Dallas Cowboys” and 2017 Contractor Of The Year. Founded in 2003, the company has grown to over 400 employees and a whopping $65M in annual revenue.

KPost founders Keith Post, Steve Little, and Jayne Williams worked for another local roofer and struck out on their own with a philosophy of creating exceptional customer experiences and a company culture based on respect & support. That philosophy continues to this day and the results speak for themselves.

The Problem

KPost has dedicated health & safety staff that provide training & coaching but they were struggling to get participation from field staff, manage paperwork, and know where they should be focusing their time & attention. This led to a higher risk of incidents.

The Harness Solution

Harness worked with KPost to create customized electronic forms for job site hazard analysis, safety inspections, incident reports, and more. Coupled with our toolbox talks, training records management, and document storage features, KPost now has a single place to house all of its safety program information. All their safety stuff can be accessed anytime, anywhere from any device.

Field staff complete a weekly toolbox talk based on a topic sent out by the safety staff via Harness. They also complete a daily job site hazard analysis that covers how to avoid the risks that they might experience that day. Safety staff follow up with safety inspections to verify that safe work practices are being used.

All information submitted into Harness is fed into custom dashboards that show KPost management insights such as;

  • Who is & isn’t participating in the program
  • At what the rate are safety deficiencies occurring on their job sites
  • What types of deficiencies are occurring along with their severities

The Results

KPost had a few objectives when they chose to use Harness to better manage their safety program.

  • Reduce time spent on administration
  • Increase safety program participating & compliance with policies
  • Lower risk & workers compensation premiums

One year into their Harness deployment, KPost has achieved the first two objectives. They expect to achieve the third in the next two years as Harness provides the intelligence they need to further strengthen their culture of safety. For KPost, even a small reduction in their EMR will provide them with hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings each year.

“Harness helps our team complete their safety tasks easier and provides me as an owner real-time views of what’s going on. Harness is also helping us fulfill our goal of keeping our workers returning safe to their families each night.” – Steve Little, President of KPost

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Categories
Leadership & Culture

Why Your Construction Company Should Break Up With Email And Use Slack

Why Are There So Many Darn Emails?

Since it came of age in the mid-1990’s, email has been the most heavily used communications tool in business.  Over 269 BILLION emails are sent and received worldwide each day and the average office worker receives somewhere around 121 emails per day. 

Emails were useful because they allow for (usually) short concise exchanges with co-workers, clients, and more.  But is email still the best method for all types of communication?  Might there be better tools out there?  Finally, what would be the advantages for construction companies in particular that choose those different tools?

The average employee spends 40% of their working week dealing with internal emails which add no value to the business.

Do a quick scan of your inbox.  How many of your email messages are conversations amongst your team?  How many of them are communications with outsiders like suppliers or clients? 

Independent research by Atos Origin highlighted that the average employee spends 40% of their working week dealing with internal emails which add no value to the business. In short, your employees might only start working on anything of value from Wednesday each week. 

US-based studies by Siemens Group point to the value of this “lost” time.  They estimated that a company with 100 employees loses the equivalent of $528,443 each year.

Organizations with effective communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.

Since email is the primary communications tool for most companies, if a company has a problem keeping workers engaged, they MUST consider that the method of their communications could be a contributing factor.   A lack of engagement certainly seems to be a factor.  According to a 2015 Gallup study, only 32% of US employees feel engaged with their companies.  This disengagement leads to poor productivity, high turnover, and what could be aptly described as a negative company culture. 

A separate study found that moving a “disengaged” employee over to “engaged” could add over $13,000 in value to your company.  In the construction sector, where labor shortages are rampant, the need to keep workers engaged is even more important.  Companies must strive to improve communication if they want to attract & retain engaged workers.  And it’s not even just about engagement.  Organizations with effective communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.

Introducing Slack

In 2013, a small Vancouver, Canada based company called Tiny Speck decided to stop development on a failed online video game and instead launch an innovative chat-based communications tool they had built to facilitate communications between their Canadian & US teams. 

Called, “Slack” as an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation & Knowledge”, the service grew to become one of the fastest growing products in the history of software.  Slack is now in use by over 8 million people every day.

“The world is in the very early stages of a 100-year shift in how people communicate, and we’re determined to push the boundaries,” said their founder & CEO, Steward Butterfield.

Slack is a cloud-based communication tool so it works on all types of devices and allows teams to communicate with each other by sending short messages to the whole team, subsets of the team, or individuals.  Over the past few years, messages have become much richer than just text and Slack is now used to exchange documents, images, and other information seamlessly.

Teams across the world have found that Slack helps them:

  1. Collaborate online just like they would in person.
  2. Bring the right people and information together in one place.
  3. Communicate efficiently, stay connected, and get things done faster.

At Harness, we use Slack to focus our internal communications around “channels”, a core feature of Slack.  For instance, we have a channel for discussions between our development team, a channel for marketing, and a channel to collaborate on customer issues.  We even have a channel where we post our latest sales wins. 

Channels can be either public, meaning they’re available to anyone in your organization or they can be private.  Generally though, Slack works best when the majority of communication happens in public.  Channels all have one thing in common; they contain the entire message history of the group in a searchable archive.  This means, for example, that any new member of our “development” channel could get insights from past discussions or search to find a specific topic of discussion without having to ask a colleague.  When a more specific conversation is needed, team members can direct message each other, start a video chat, or connect via phone right from within the app.

Slack integrates with nearly everything which makes it even more valuable.  For example, our “new-deals” channel at Harness is populated with messages automatically whenever our CRM system records a won opportunity.  Sharing good news has never been easier.

Slack In A Construction Context

Slack’s early adopters included digital agencies, software companies, and other “high-tech” industries but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also a great tool for construction companies.  How many of your company’s internal discussions revolve around individual projects?  If you use Slack, each project could have its own “channel”.  All discussions for that project now have a central location accessible to anyone on your team.  Things you might put into Slack could include:

  1. Change order details & approvals
  2. Daily progress photos
  3. Copies of submittals, plans, or other documents
  4. Production issues that need resolving with input from others

Slack makes sure these conversations are easy to have and that each team member is aware of the outcome.  No need to worry about not including someone on an email chain.  The fact that some of your team will be in the field and some others in the office doesn’t mean sacrificing quality of communication.

Let’s say that there needs to be a heavy discussion surrounding an issue that could cause significant delays or cost increases on a project.  The foreman on site could initiate a video chat that could include the project manager, superintendent, or even the owner.  Each of those team members could be in a different location.  The details of the discussion could be recorded and posted in that projects Slack channel so that it could be referred back to later by anyone who wasn’t on the initial call.

Oh Yeah…It’s FREE!!

Probably the greatest thing about Slack is that you can start using it for free. Unlike some “free” products, you’ll get all the features that you need to experience the power of Slack. When you’re ready the paid plans start at $6.67 per user per month. With those plans, you get a longer searchable history and some more integration options, along with the group calling & screen sharing. Slack is definitely worth it in my opinion. But I’m not the only one that feels that way…

Construction companies are made up of teams in the same way as tech companies like Harness. So why can’t we use the same tools for internal communications? Better employee engagement, more complete communications, better productivity. These are some of the many reasons why you should break up with email and try Slack.

Next, click the button below to you read our article on how to select and implement technology at construction companies.