We are an industry where machine and computer power enhance the work of the person, in many cases, making the very jobs we undertake possible. Modeling wouldn’t be feasible if not for the computing power of today’s equipment, from Robotic Total Stations (RTS) units to laptops and cranes.
The use of leading-edge technology isn’t simply a time-saver or money-saver for your company. It can be a make-or-break component to recruiting and retaining talent for your team, whether you’re an engineer, a designer or a contractor.
Most companies use technology as part of their recruitment drives for talent, whether it’s through posting a position on a job site like Indeed or researching prospective employees on LinkedIn. And virtually every business uses technology to communicate with and among their employees–like email, Slack, or SurveyMonkey. If there’s anything the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 taught business leaders, it’s that workers can utilize technology in innovative ways when the need rises, and they will continue to in the future.
But technology is more than just a means to an end for most employees. As a 2018 survey by business consultants PwC1 put it, workers have a complicated relationship with technology. A vast majority know that technology makes them more efficient, but some feel it’s underutilized: 73% say they know of tech that can make them productive if it were implemented at their current jobs.
Adopting new technology in BIM, for example, makes an employee feel more valued… and more valuable. Reducing the need to duplicate tasks–whether that’s inputting data from a change order or updating a multitude of spool drawings–cuts down on boredom and monotony that stifle professional satisfaction. Workers want to feel that they’re accomplishing something, not simply (electronically) shuffling papers. People in AEC went into the industry to see things built, not to endlessly and repeatedly notate changes.
Investing in new technology demonstrates to workers, colleagues and stakeholders that your organization has a progressive mindset, able to learn and adapt as needed to advancements in the industry: you won’t be left behind as others move forward in a digital age. While others may be scribbling calculations on the back of an old invoice, you’ll be updating a design on a tablet–and making everyone in the workflow aware of the change thanks to a state-of-the-art platform.
Your technology gap may cost you in ways not directly related to efficiency. Prospective employees–both those fresh out of school and those seasoned professionals–will look at the platforms and systems you work with to gauge their workloads: new systems mean less hassle and more convenience. Old systems mean you better have the IT department on speed dial.
Simply having the technology isn’t enough, though: today’s workers want to make sure their employers are supportive of the teams’ training to stay current with the latest available systems. In the PwC survey, only 53% of employees felt that their leadership put enough emphasis on learning new technology, but 90% of corporate leadership thought they had enough. On average, employees thought that they needed about 15 hours per week in training to keep up
1 “Our status with tech at work: it’s complicated,” PwC, October 2018, accessed 14 April 2021 https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/images/PwC_CIS-Tech-at-Work.pdf
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