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Performance Goals for Managers: KPIs for Construction Management Training
Aug 23, 2021 - AEU LEAD

Running a successful construction company requires skilled job-site supervision. Construction management training programs provide managers with the skills they need to deliver, promoting safer and more productive workplaces with lower turnover.

But it's essential to take a clear-eyed look at your program and ask: How do we measure success? What are our performance goals for managers, and how does our training help each construction supervisor meet them?


KPIs help organizations measure the success of construction supervisors and construction management training programs

A key performance indicator (KPI) distills your performance goals for managers into small, easy-to-measure units. For example, a salesperson might be evaluated by their sales, or a freight driver by the number of deliveries they make in a week. These metrics help organizations gauge their progress and connect long-term strategic goals to success in routine operations.

All KPIs for construction supervisors (and, by extension, KPIs for construction management training) should have three traits in common:

  1. They're important. Every KPI should be essential. A handful of them (about five or so) should do.
  2. They're appropriately tailored. Profitability is a standard measure of success. But performance goals for managers, and the KPIs you use to evaluate progress toward them, should address factors that are at least somewhat within construction supervisors' direct control, such as the number of safety incidents or the frequency of job-site errors. 
  3. They're useful, actionable, and predictive. The best KPIs provide a glimpse into the future. For example, declining employee satisfaction may not hurt the bottom line today, but it may point to problems that impact profitability down the road (like excessive turnover). Good indicators present opportunities to nip problems in the bud.

Choosing good KPIs and performance goals for managers can feel somewhat tricky. A construction supervisor's soft skills, for example, are critically important supervisor's soft skills, for example, are critically important but hard to quantify. Worker productivity is largely, but not entirely, within a manager's control.

But the effort is usually worthwhile. Choosing a few KPIs—and teaching your leaders to focus on them while managing others—can make running a successful construction company much more straightforward.


Focus on employee and project success when choosing KPIs for a construction supervisor

As a leader, each construction supervisor should motivate employees by providing clear expectations and quality mentorship. As experts in their field, they should spot opportunities to reduce costs, chiefly by increasing productivity, reducing turnover, and making errors less common.

To determine if your construction management training program is developing the leadership talent you need, we recommend two categories of KPIs: those concerning employee satisfaction/performance, and those that concern success on the job site.


KPIs can measure construction supervisors' success as leaders

Motivating and retaining employees are essential performance goals for managers. A few KPIs can help you decide if your construction supervisor is succeeding:

  • Resignation rates. Turnover is inevitable. But an increase (particularly among employees who have performed well in the past) may point to low managerial quality; a decline can indicate that supervisors' efforts enhance loyalty and satisfaction.
  • The frequency of employee raises and promotions; employee scores on performance reviews. High-performing managers encourage professional development, producing workers that firms are eager to reward and retain. Raises, promotions, and positive performance reviews can indicate that construction supervisors are making efforts to cultivate and keep cream-of-the-crop employees.
  • Scores on employee evaluations of supervisors. Employee surveys can provide strong evidence of good leadership and even predict employee turnover. Ask questions about trust (how much do you trust your manager?), communication (how clear are their expectations?), and support (does your manager provide feedback and professional development opportunities?).


Construction management training should produce measurable improvements on the job site

Construction supervisors with the right skills can boost direct reports' productivity, safety, and precision. These improvements, in turn, should lead to higher quality projects with reduced overall costs. Consider evaluating the success of your managers and management training program with these KPIs:

  • Re-work costs. Skilled supervisors should make expensive errors less common by providing employees with continuous coaching and opportunities to play to their strengths.  
  • Labor time and cost. Managers who communicate clearly and leverage talent better deliver more consistent results. Successful leadership can also make worker output more predictable, giving project managers a chance to better plan for future jobs.
  • Accident rates. Good construction management training can help supervisors reduce the frequency of accidents. Employees who trust their supervisors may be more likely to disclose potential hazards early—and ask for help when they're unsure how to do tasks safely.
  • Assessments of project quality. Successful leadership and skilled management should lead to better overall outcomes. Keeping an eye on client satisfaction surveys and inspection pass/fail rates can provide a glimpse into managerial improvement.


A few tips can make setting performance goals for managers (and monitoring progress toward them) a little easier

The KPIs we've shared can help you evaluate the performance of construction supervisors and decide if your construction management training program is delivering the results you need.

Most of your chosen goals and indicators should be quantifiable and easily measured. But remember that no set of KPIs will paint a perfect, complete picture of your management team's efforts. Qualitative information—observations, customer stories, and so on—have a place, too. And don't be afraid to do a little meta-analysis: Periodically review the KPIs you've chosen to see if there is a connection between your indicators and your firm's overall success.

And if you're not seeing the progress you'd expect, turn to the experts: AEU LEAD provides organizations with actionable, measurable insights that make running a successful construction company easier. You can learn more about our world-class construction management training programs by exploring our services or reaching out.

The opinions and comments expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of ALMA, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc., AEU LEAD or Amwins. None of the aforementioned parties or the authors are responsible for any inaccuracy of content or for any loss or damages incurred by any party as a result of reliance on information contained in this article. Content may not be published or reproduced without the written consent of the authors. Prior articles may not be updated for accuracy as pertinent information changes over time. The AEU LEAD blog is intended to provide general information and should not be construed as legal advice.
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