New research from Autodesk and FMI shows highest trust organisations can gain up to $6 million and save more than $1 million per year
19th March 2020, Sydney, Australia: Australian construction firms outperform their global peers when it comes to trust, according to a new report, Trust Matters: The High Cost of Low Trust, from FMI and Autodesk. Trust between colleagues and different businesses is critical to the construction industry because of how much each stakeholder relies on the performance of others. The higher level of trust within Australian construction businesses is directly associated with better project outcomes and improved financial performance.
Globally, organisations with the highest levels of trust experience lower voluntary staff turnover, worth savings of up to more than $1 million a year in replacing employees. High trust firms also miss fewer deadlines, gaining up to $6 million a year, and have higher levels of repeat business, potentially driving gross margins between two and seven percent higher.
When asked to rank the amount of trust within their organisation, construction professionals in Australia report the highest level (38 percent), outstripping the global average of 36 percent. Employees at the most trusted firms – respondents who report having “very high” levels of trust – are twice as likely to go above and beyond what’s expected of them (49 percent compared to 24 percent), giving Australian businesses a productivity edge.
Construction businesses in Australia share a number of strengths that drive high levels of trust – offering learnings for firms in other countries. Organisations are particularly successful when it comes to:
- Empowering employees: 42 percent of respondents say individual roles and responsibilities are well-defined, compared to 32 percent worldwide, minimising micromanagement to give workers a sense of ownership over their work.
- Setting clear expectations: 26 percent of those surveyed strongly agree that most people are explicit about their requests, compared to 22 percent worldwide, helping team members to understand what’s expected of them and how it will feed into project success.
- Promoting transparency: 29 percent of respondents confirm their organisation provides candid performance feedback, compared to 28 percent worldwide, helping employees understand how to progress in the business for lower staff turnover.
“It is fantastic to see Australian construction businesses empowering employees and creating high levels of trust within their organisations and across their teams,” said Tomy Praveen, managing director of APAC, Autodesk Construction Solutions. “Cultivating a transparent and candid working environment helps employees know what’s expected of them so they can concentrate on getting work done. This dynamic leads to real benefits for productivity and the bottom line. Digital construction solutions can play a key role in improving collaboration and fostering trust by providing a single source of truth for projects and enabling fast, simple communication between teams, the site and the office.”
While individuals feel trusted by their firms, there may be room for improvement when it comes to collaboration between teams and with other project stakeholders. Globally, a quarter of the highest trust construction businesses also report the highest levels of collaboration (24 percent). In Australian firms, this falls to 20 percent. Worldwide, firms with the highest levels of trust are the
most collaborative and are more likely to hear about problems on a project before it is too late, so improving collaboration can drive further benefits for the Australian construction industry.
Australia-based TOGA, which specialises in residential and hotel developments, has increased collaboration with the help of technology. While working on a development in a CBD, the company implemented field collaboration technology to help team members communicate and share information more easily. “It allows both our office staff and site team to be working off the same documents, using the latest versions,” said Simon Kassis, Project Engineer, TOGA. “This single source of truth minimises uncertainty, supporting trust throughout the business.”
Globally, successful information-sharing is associated with the highest levels of trust in construction businesses: two-thirds of the most-trusted organisations have a single source of truth for sharing information (66 percent). Technology can play a key role in building the trust that is crucial to business performance by improving transparency, enhancing communication and providing evidence of success.
Read the full report, Trust Matters: The High Cost of Low Trust.
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