Recently we began delivering construction apps for use on mobile devices. When we started out, this was new territory for us, and meant having some construction software developers learn the ins and outs of mobile app development. It also meant having to create new graphical interfaces.
I was talking about this with one of our graphic designers in the lunch room one day, soliciting some opinions about how best to approach the design of app user interfaces. To my pleasant surprise, I learned that he not only had ideas on the subject—he had experience designing for the standards of both Apple and Android devices. And so now he helps our design team accelerate development of our construction software apps.
I imagine we all have stories of people surprising us with abilities we didn’t know they had. The friend who breaks into fluent Spanish, the relative who brings a banjo to a family vacation (that one got old fast), etc. In the business world where agility is key to success, uncovering hidden talents can give you a significant advantage over your competition.
Why keep everyone on your team confined to a set job description when they have more to offer? That doesn’t mean abandoning these job descriptions—everyone needs to know what their primary responsibilities are. But in a pinch, if you know you can call on someone to step away from their “day job” and help the team in other ways, then the team wins and the individual feels more valuable and fulfilled.
Know your People—Grow your People
Making the commitment to actively expand and make use of the skills of your employees is step one. The next step is translating this commitment into actual business practices. Whether or not you have a formal HR department or manager, you can still put process in place to help identify, track and grow the competencies of your people. Here are a few things I’ve seen companies do:
- Create personal development plans for all employees
- Be disciplined about holding regular performance reviews
- Actively maintain a record of employee skills, training, and certifications
Construction software that includes human relations applications can help you work toward a more fulfilled staff and agile operation. But an appreciation for the importance of staff growth has to come first and be an integral part of the culture of your business.
How much time and emphasis do you put on staff development?