How to Effectively Communicate With Project Stakeholders as a Construction Operations Manager
Construction operation managers must communicate with many stakeholders, including contractors, engineers, owners, suppliers, inspectors, and so on.
On the other side of the fence, operation managers deal with suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of equipment and materials. On the other side, they have to deal with subcontractors for construction work like roofing and plumbing.
It’s a lot to deal with, which prompts the question: how do you manage construction operations manager jobs effectively? Communication is key. As a construction operations manager, keeping all stakeholders informed and on the same page is your responsibility. But how do you do that? Read now to learn how to ensure effective communication with project stakeholders.
How to communicate with construction project stakeholders
Your chosen communication channel, frequency, and method will differ across stakeholders. For instance, project owners or clients require detailed presentations, while suppliers prefer shorter memos.
There are two types of stakeholders in a construction project; internal and external. Here’s how to communicate with them.
1. Internal stakeholders
The internal stakeholders are the people who are working on the project, such as engineers, contractors, and subcontractors. An internal communication system is necessary to ensure everyone is in the loop about every advancement in the construction process.
2. Clients and project owners
There are three primary ways to communicate with clients and project owners:
- Regular meetings – You can schedule regular meetings with project owners to discuss project progress or issues. The meetings can be online, by phone, or in person, depending on the parties’ availability and location.
- Status reports – These reports tell the project owners about the project budget, timeline, and progress. You can include information about upcoming tasks, completed work, and issues that need resolution. Status reports can be made monthly or weekly, depending on the agreement between you and the client.
- Document sharing – Documentation is an important part of any construction project. Construction operations managers must share important documents, like drawings and project plans, with the project owner. Doing so ensures that your client has the latest project information.
While phone calls and video conferencing are helpful for regular meetings, they often don’t provide a record of the information shared or discussed. Email communication is a good alternative in this regard.
You can use emails to provide updates, share relevant information, and ask questions.
Similarly, collaborative software can help you communicate with clients in real-time. Most of these tools also allow document sharing and video conferencing.
3. Financiers and creditors
Financiers are financial organizations providing loans for the construction project. The best way to communicate with these parties is through:
- Financial reports – Prepare financial reports that include information regarding expenditures and project budgets. If a financial issue has arisen, include it in the report.
- Cash flow projections – When working on commercial projects, financiers want to know when they can expect payments. Construction operations managers can communicate this information through cash flow projections.
Presentations and written reports work well for communicating this information. You can also use a financial reporting tool to give real-time updates to the financiers.
It’s important to choose the right frequency and channel of communication with equipment and material suppliers. Lags in communication result in on-site idle times, while miscommunication may cause material excesses, leading to significant financial losses.
Here’s what you need to know about communicating with suppliers:
- Channels – In-person meetings, phones, and emails are widely used channels for supplier-manager relationships. You can also use supplier portals or supply chain management systems to streamline communications.
- Frequency – How often you communicate with a supplier will depend on the size and complexity of your project. You can create a communication schedule at the beginning of the project to ensure the supplier always has the necessary inventory to meet your demands.
Besides these two factors, you should also know what to communicate. The first thing is the project’s demands. Let the supplier know your equipment and material needs.
Secondly, communicate payment deadlines and schedules to your suppliers. It will help them manage their cash flow to avoid supply chain interruptions and delays.
5. Contractors and subcontractors
Work with your contractors and subcontractors at the beginning of the project to devise a communication plan. It should include the following:
- Frequency of communication
- Channels to use
- Type of information to be communicated
- Documents to be shared
Again, collaborative software can be your ally. Use them to facilitate communication, task assignment, and project tracking.
You should also review the project plan with your contractors so that they can stay aligned with your project timeline. Inform the contractors about any changes or modifications to the project plan.
6. External stakeholders
These stakeholders do not work on the construction site. But they may be affected by the construction process.
Communicating with them is just as important to avoid any issues. You should inform them about the project’s progress and related risks.
Some examples of external stakeholders are:
- Social organizations
- Local residents
- Labor unions
- Public Utilities
- Licensing organizations
- Inspecting organizations
- Government bodies
For instance, every construction project needs licenses and permits from the local government. If the project has taken a turn that requires you to get additional permits, make sure you communicate it to the relevant local authorities.
Tips for effective communication among construction operations managers and project stakeholders
Here are some tips to help improve communication with project stakeholders.
- Establish clear channels – Determine an effective communication channel and make sure it is easily accessible for all stakeholders.
- Define roles – Every stakeholder should know their roles and responsibilities to avoid miscommunications and confusion.
- Use visual aids – Visual aids, such as charts, images, diagrams, and videos, can make communication more effective. They also help break down complex information for everyone’s comprehension.
- Encourage communication – Create an environment in which everyone can be comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. Get feedback from all stakeholders and use it to improve communication in the existing and future projects.
It’s a no-brainer that good communication helps a project run smoothly and finish on time. Often, the communication is there, but it’s not effective.
The tips mentioned above will help you improve communication with all stakeholders. Use these measures to ensure everyone is updated about project progress, information sharing is happening in real-time, and all stakeholders are aligned with the same project objectives.