Why Road Construction Needs to Add the “People Component”
Our street is under construction. In three months, they say, it will be a totally new, wonderful, perfectly working street that will solve all of the neighborhood's water problems (OK, they didn't say it would solve ALL problems, but...)
We have had workers of all sorts pound on our door at 7:00AM asking us to move our cars. We have had panicky neighbors at that early hour asking if they can park in our driveway for an hour while they figure out how to get their morning tasks done before work.
We lost cable for two days - and being a "work from home" family, that was tough: meetings had to be rescheduled and even the library was full of patrons when we needed it most!
All day long, we hear beeping - vehicles backing up. I hear it in my sleep now...beep, beep, beep....
Getting to and from our house is sometimes impossible by car and parking options are slim.
And the DUST...is everywhere. EVERYWHERE!
The workers are perfectly nice, hard-working, I-want-to-bring-them-a-beer sort of folks. Their job isn't to think about the people impact. Their job is to get the work done, and do it as safely and efficiently as possible.
In a perfect world where this project has a "people component," a team would plan for the impact on the families. They would seek to understand the possible challenges each family would face, and would work with representatives of the neighborhood together to develop a solid plan to mitigate these challenges.
Below are some examples of what an Organizational Change Leader or "People Leader" would probably do in a project like ours:
- Each family would be provided a rough timeline for the project so they can see what's completed and what's coming next.
- The Association Board (neighborhood leaders) would be utilized to proactively plan for possible inconveniences or challenges for the project.
- The project team and Association Board would coordinate with the cable, internet, and phone companies and other utilities to ensure that the impact, if any, is explained, planned for, and short in duration.
- Each family would receive a list of "what to expect" and basic recommendations: "There will be dust and loud beeping sounds...we recommend you close your windows when possible." "You may need to move your car into a temporary parking spot: Here is a map of parking areas that are authorized during this project."
- Families would have a number to call to ask questions- where they would get real, up to date information about the project quickly.
- If cars need to be moved or couldn't be parked in the driveway, families would be notified in the evening, perhaps by postcard in their door or text...or both. Then, a knock on the door in the morning would serve as a reminder
- Notification and update messages about the project would be shared on the neighborhood Facebook page.
- Homeowner calls with the project team would be scheduled at regular intervals to discuss the project plans and provide risk management where necessary. These calls would share information about the project and provide opportunities to receive feedback and answer questions from the people in the neighborhood.
Of course, these are just a few ideas of what would work in our neighborhood, and we all know each neighborhood is slightly different and might require a slightly different approach. It would, however, be a better experience for the homeowners (us!) if some of the activities listed above were put into place during this project.
What other ideas do you think would help the homeowners (People!) prepare and live through a project like this?