With annual revenues exceeding $400 million and a nationwide staff of over 150 design and construction professionals, KBD Group has earned a reputation of quality and respect throughout the construction industry.
When KBD Group decided to partner with Procore, they anticipated that many employees would be reluctant to change. After all, with fifty years of experience in the industry, why alter or update a system that had proven successful for decades? Yet the team knew that their processes, while some of the best in the industry, still left room for improvement.
With multiple offices and a nationwide staff of 150 design and construction professionals, KBD knew that a universal buy-in would not be an easy task. They implemented a range of strategies to maximize collaboration and increase internal adoption of Procore that helped employees not only use the platform, but also become advocates for it.
When Neil Lovelace, Technology Manager at KBD Group, and his team turned to Procore to help streamline their construction management processes, they knew that they needed to employ creative strategies to convince skeptical employees. Neil found that with an innovative approach, even those who were hesitant or slow to adopt, became some of Procore's biggest supporters.
From the onset, Neil knew that a top-down approach would be critical for a successful rollout. If the executives were not on board, it would be difficult to convince the rest of the company to buyin. In order for employees to understand and accept the new changes taking place, they needed to know that the executive team undoubtedly supported the new software.
Shortly after implementation and throughout the first year, KBD executives continued to highlight the new program, demonstrate the capabilities of the tools, and encourage employees to learn the software through direct, hands-on experience. Neil found that the first year yielded considerable internal adoption—so much so, that by year two, the management team confirmed that all jobs moving forward would be expected to use the platform.
To help guide their efforts, Neil and his team made use of the custom reporting feature to help them understand which tools were being used the most and who was using them—both internal as well as external third-parties such as owner representatives, clients, and design staff. Neil and his team wanted to know: Were any tools underutilized? If so, why? Who was using the tools more frequently, and why? In doing so, it helped management teams gain a better understanding of the quality and quantity of usage, ensure that content was compliant with company standards, and hold users accountable. Ultimately, it led Neil to reshape and adjust their strategy moving forward to ensure employees were maximizing the platform's capabilities.
To help reinforce their adoption initiative, Neil and his team incentivized the initiative. They looked at the top five team members who were diligently using daily logs, monitoring inspections and observations, and logging safety reports. At the annual superintendent meeting, these individuals received branded Yeti cups—a practical and popular accessory among employees—as well as hats and t-shirts. Throughout the year, top users were also acknowledged in company-wide email blasts where they were recognized for their efforts, further motivating other team members to use the platform more regularly.
In order for employees to more readily accept and adhere to a new concept, it is crucial that they are given the tools to help them navigate the platform and familiarize themselves with the various functionalities. By educating new users on the platform and providing them with robust training and support, KBD helped to reiterate the purpose of the software so that employees understood why their systems and processes would be changing. Once employees understood why they were making the switch—especially when they realized how much time and energy it would save them—it was easier for them to support it.
For Neil and his team, this was a no-brainer. "Whenever we onboard new staff, I'll sit down with them for a few hours and we'll look at all of our various systems, but primarily I'm showing them Procore, just going tool by tool…They're typically pretty engaged and excited to see it."
Once employees have become acquainted with the platform, the next step is implementation. KBD decided to form a Procore Committee as a way to help facilitate the process. They selected users with different titles (for example, PMs, PEs, PAs) and designated them as subject matter experts on particular tool sets. These individuals were responsible for tracking new releases on their tool set, developing SOPs, and best practices. The committee continues to meet on a monthly basis and serves as the internal go-to individuals for Procore-related questions.
In regards to having a committee with different titles, Neil says, "I think that's very, very important so that you have different perspectives on how tools are used. You might have somebody who's more field orientated saying 'Hey, this is what we need to get things done,' and you might have someone else who is more office oriented who might have a more risk averse opinion on the matter. I think that's great… It really helps us get a rounded view of these tools."
With multiple subcontractors focusing on various tasks within the project, it can be difficult for general contractors to get universal buy-in from subs. However, including usage in original commitments can help make it a priority from the start. KBD chose to include language in their contracts that explicitly set expectations and reinforced that Procore would be the main channel for all project management related material including tech requirements, workflows, and processes.
"I think [including language in contracts] has been the biggest driver to get the buy-in from our subs. It at least gets them to pay attention to it and it gets them in the door, and then all of a sudden now we're getting information from them. I think that—at least with the subcontractors we've been working with—they enjoy working in Procore. They like having access to the same documents and knowing that there's that 'one source of truth,'" says Neil.
In the end, Neil found that once team members started to use the platform, they not only began to see the practicality of it, but they also became advocates of it.
"I think the biggest thing is just letting the subs know, 'Hey, we're all on the same team and we're all on the same page,' and being able to use this program allows them to do so. I think that's as important as anything. We're very fortunate that we've had great success across all of our regions...We have offices in New York, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Dallas—we cover just about every square mile of the U.S. Those different regions come with different personality types... Even in those areas where we have the biggest reluctance of adopting new things, we've found out that our subcontractor base is happy to use the program," comments Neil.
While increasing internal adoption may seem like a daunting task at first, as Neil learned, mapping out a comprehensive implementation strategy can significantly increase platform usage and help team members maximize the benefits of Procore. Once employees become acquainted with the platform and see how much time and money it saves them, they will quickly go from users to champions of the software as they did with KBD Group.
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