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Want to Bid More Jobs? Teach Foremen Time Management

Foreman and laborer on site

On every job, someone must be accountable for making things run smoothly. They have to keep the project on schedule and get the crew to do the right thing at the right time. In construction and extraction, that role typically falls on the foreman’s shoulders. 

Foreman on site

That’s a lot of responsibility, and to do it all successfully, foremen need to be good at managing their time and the crew’s time. Let’s walk through the benefits and basics of time management—plus how you can train foremen to do this well.

Benefits of good time management

Good time management helps grow your business and create a better working environment for crew members and leaders. Let’s look at some examples.

More bids

Good time management increases productivity. The job gets done faster, so you have time to complete more projects. That frees up your crews, so you can bid on more jobs and increase your potential revenue.

More cost-effective projects

Poor time management causes mistakes. When crews rush to finish work, work too slowly, or frequently switch between tasks, they’re more likely to miss potential issues. 

With good time management, the right people work on the right thing at the right time. They complete projects with fewer mistakes, less rework, and fewer slowdowns, saving you thousands of dollars.

More business

Because good time management helps you finish work faster with fewer mistakes, it also helps you build a good reputation for efficiency and professionalism. 

That reputation is your brand—your business’ identity. When you get more people to trust your brand, you attract and retain customers. They want to work with you because they trust you to get the work done right and on time. 

Better working environment

The Dirt World has a reputation for being messy and chaotic. But your crews shouldn’t be that way. Foremen should give them well-thought instructions and manage the project itself well. They must clearly tell the crew: 

  • What the plan is 
  • What they have to do to make it happen
  • When to complete each task

When foremen use good time management principles to communicate responsibilities and stay on schedule, the crew stays organized. Let dirt be the only messy thing on your jobsites!

Less stress

No one wants somebody breathing down their neck, rushing them to get the job done. But supervisors often get stressed about being in a time crunch and push the crew to work faster than they should. That stresses the crew out and leads to mistakes and safety issues. 

To perform their best, crews need stability. They need to work at a consistent, sustainable pace. Think of it this way: your car gets the best gas mileage when cruising at 65 mph, not 90 mph. Your crew is most effective when they have balance both a purpose and a sense of peace. Good leaders manage time well to create that stability for the crew.

More loyalty

Crew members don’t want to come to a jobsite where no one—especially not the foreman—knows what’s going on. They don’t want to work someplace where they constantly feel rushed to do their jobs.

That’s exhausting and frustrating. It makes people feel like management doesn’t respect their time or skills. And feeling disrespected is one of the top three reasons people quit their jobs.1 

People want to come to work with a purpose and a clear job to do. That comes from good time management. It’s the foreman’s responsibility to give each crew member a clear mission and timeline for that day. In turn, the whole crew will experience increased loyalty and lower turnover

Safer jobsites

Crew members who rush to complete a poorly managed job are much more likely to get hurt or cause safety hazards for others. And the same is true for workers who are confused about what to do, when to do it, or where to be.

Good time management reduces jobsite safety issues and accidents by eliminating the frantic, stressful feeling of being rushed. It slows down the emotional atmosphere of the workplace—which ironically speeds up the work itself. Good time management also ensures everyone knows where to be when to be there, and what to work on. 

Stronger leaders and crews

You’re trying to build a successful business, but you’re also trying to develop a great crew. When you teach foremen how to manage time wisely, they will learn to manage the crew and the project efficiently. They’ll develop confidence in their leadership abilities, great job satisfaction, and a strong sense of loyalty (because you invested in them as professionals and as people). 

The more confident and effective foremen are, the more they positively impact the rest of the crew. They’ll have someone they can trust to keep them safe on the job, and they’ll have greater job satisfaction, too because they’re accomplishing more each day.

The Benefits of Good Time Management

Basics of good time management

Time management isn’t about being a slave to the clock. It’s about learning how to combine time, resources, and manpower in the most efficient way to maximize the amount and quality of work you get done. 

So, what goes into good time management?

Planning

How often do you see crews stand around waiting for the foreman to decide what to do next? On some crews, this happens multiple times a day. But you don’t want to waste time out in the field trying to decide. With good time management, foremen already have plans and know what’s next.

Teach foremen how to read project plans and make their own plans for how to do the work. Then the crew can keep producing. They don’t have to wonder or wait for information because the foreman has a plan and communicates it to them. 

Delegation

If you want a job to move efficiently, get the right person. That means foremen need to know how to delegate tasks. Delegation also ensures that the foreman is free to focus on management. They’re not “escaping” their role by going on Home Depot runs or digging trenches while the crew watches. 

Good time management lets the foreman do his or her job—not everyone else’s. Now, we’re not saying they can never help in a pinch, but their focus is managing the project and guiding the crew.

Communication

Planning and delegation do no good if you can’t communicate those things to others in a way they can accept. No one wants to take orders from a dictator. 

That’s why good communication is essential to time management. Foremen need to be able to relay information quickly and clearly—especially when things change on the job. And they need to be able to do it in a tactful way that inspires and motivates their crew rather than making them feel belittled or devalued. 

Ownership

Good foremen don’t waste time playing blame games. They acknowledge their responsibility for mistakes and find ways to fix them. They do so promptly if they need to address safety or training issues. Otherwise, they move on. They don’t let setbacks eat at them or their crew and cause morale or safety issues.

And they teach their crews to take ownership as well. With that attitude, people speak up about small problems before they become big—preventing slowdowns and keeping the project on schedule. 

Experience

Ironically, learning time management takes time. It takes experience. However, you can help offset the lack of experience by training every foreman on time management. 

Good time management also helps foremen compensate for inexperienced crew members. Newer crew members will likely work slower and make mistakes that cause slowdowns. But you can’t hire only experienced employees. Companies need to attract a new generation of workers to keep the industry alive. (Besides, even construction veterans may never have had formal training.)

So you solve this problem by hiring a mix of experienced and inexperienced workers and training them. You also teach foremen how to manage training time well, just like they manage time on the jobsite. A foreman who’s good at time management will know when to delegate tasks to newbies, when to let an old pro take care of business, and when to pair the two for a learning opportunity. 

What goes into good time management?

How to teach time management

There are lots of ways to teach foremen how to manage time well. We’d be here all day if we tried to cover every single one, so we’ll stick with the ones that can make the biggest impact on your company. 

Lead by example

A good rule of thumb is never to ask your employees to do something you’re unwilling to do. If you want your foremen to manage their time well, model what that looks like. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What are some time-wasters you can eliminate? 
  • What can you do to make a better plan for your day? 
  • How can you communicate better?
  • What tasks can you delegate to others? 
  • Where do you need to gain experience to run the business better?

Write down some ways to start making these changes and managing your time better. And be open and honest with your foremen about that process. 

Classroom instruction

Whether you hire a trainer, have a training manager already, or teach a class yourself, foremen need formal training on all their roles and responsibilities—including time management. 

Classroom training sessions are helpful because they pull foremen away from the distractions of the jobsite and create a more focused learning environment. 

Mentorship

It’s important to form relationships with other people in the same career—especially those who are farther along. If multiple foremen work for you, consider creating a mentorship program where new foremen can learn from more experienced ones. 

Make sure experienced foremen still get career development and training, too. Just because they’re “old dawgs” in the industry doesn’t mean they’re done learning!

If you run a smaller business, consider how else you might create mentorship and professional development opportunities. Can you send foremen to industry conferences where they could build relationships? Could you partner with other trustworthy companies in your area? There’s plenty of work to do in construction, so collaborating with other companies will help you and make the Dirt World a better place.

Training software

Training software is one of the best ways to teach time management because it’s flexible. Foremen can use it to train anywhere, at any time, and you can easily track their progress. It also standardizes the training experience, so all your foremen learn the same time management principles and get consistent results across the company.

Most training software has a communication feature so foremen can share information quickly with their crew. That’s a great tool for time management in training and on the jobsite. 

There are a lot of different training software available, so it pays to take your time, research them thoroughly, and choose the one that’s the best fit for you. A great place to start? BuildWitt Training. 

This software is designed for the Dirt World and features content from industry experts. The leadership course offers over 100 lessons on time management, planning, delegation, communication, and more. 

Learn more about the leadership course—and how you can sample lessons for free.

 

 

Give your team members a clear path to succeed and watch them grow.