Connecting construction: Procore’s Groundbreak 2023
Transformation is the name of the game when it comes to the world of construction. Whether digital or cultural, the need to enhance and advance as an industry is vital to its survival.
Fourty-one per cent of the industry’s current workforce will be retired by 2030, and its up-and-coming faces are shifting focus to tech-centred operations.
Procore’s Groundbreak 2023, held in Chicago from Sept. 19 to 21, was centred around this evolution, along with themes of mental health, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, A.I. and the value of roundtripping data to enhance learning opportunities.
Around 4,000 attendees from over 20 countries gathered to discuss new ideas, common challenges and to be inspired by keynotes from Michael Steep, Laila Ali and Michael Phelps.
During the opening day keynote, Procore unveiled new digital and cultural innovations that aim to help construction professionals attract and retain top talent, improve safety outcomes, and meet growing demand.
Some of these new updates focus on key areas like enabling payments and leveraging artificial intelligence to drive efficiencies.
The expo hall features a demo pavilion, innovation lab, and culture lounge, along with more than 100 companies showcasing their concepts, products, and services.
Participating companies include Bridgit, BUILDR, Egnyte, Sage, Sitekick, Truelook, CMiC, DocuSign, DroneDeploy, GCPAY, hh2 Construction Connected, my COI, OpenSpace, Outbuild, quickbase, TORIC and XYZ Reality.
A focus on people and cultural transformation is equally as important to drive change and position construction as an industry of choice. To champion the community of construction leaders who share a dedication to nurturing thriving workplaces and investing in their people, Procore will reveal new updates to its suite of cultural programs and initiatives.
The three-day conference featured more than 80 breakout sessions intended to help industry professionals become better leaders, team members and builders.
Sessions included enhancing job site safety, streamlining deliverables, improving communication, collaboration and connectivity as well as outlining how Procore can be used to enhance productivity across businesses.
A session, titled “Best Practices for Creating Community for Women in Construction”,
focused on what companies – big or small – can do to build networks for support for women. Another panel discussion, “A Balancing Act: Overcoming the Challenges of Recruiting and Keeping Women in Construction,” heard from women in the industry, who spoke about their mutual challenges, opportunities from remote work and flexible schedules as well as ways to recruit and retain women onsite.
Sasha Reed, Procore’s senior director of business development, noted in an interview with Canadian Contractor, that supporting women and young people coming into the industry is vital. Procore.org, an avenue for education for the construction industry, hosts an advocacy group called Women in Construction.
Reed explains the purpose of this group is to “create a safe space for women to network with peers, to network with peers and strengthen each other and how they are working not only within their organizations but how women are finding themselves in the industry as a whole.”
Reed notes that a focus of the advocacy group has been how to better support women of colour entering the jobsite.
“It’s about understanding barriers of entry for these women and how do we help them either network or to navigate and negotiate those barriers. Some of those conversations point us to our Culture Academy, where we can actually speak to women and other monitories that we are hearing from on the topics that matter to them,” said Reed. “It’s not about us telling them what to do, it’s about showing them they are supported.”
Reed went on to explain that while supporting women and other minorities is crucial, it is equally as important to maintain a consistent conversation at the leadership level within the industry about core business problems and how are they being solved.
“The biggest problems are getting enough people in the right roles. What can become a part of that conversation then is well, what does the makeup your organization look like? If you’re looking statistically at the different groups of individuals from different communities that are in the workforce, ready to work and your workforce is a monoculture or you’re very swayed towards a singular group, that is when you need to start asking ‘well, if we’re really looking at solving a business problem around capacity, are we employing the right people?’”
Reed also noted that as the industry diversifies, it is important to look at the communities you are serving and what they look like.
The many pathways to organizational success was an overarching theme at Groundbreak, with Procore’s Groundbreaker awards highlighting the companies across the construction sector blazing these new trails forward.
This year’s ceremony saw B.C.’s ETRO Construction taking home an award in the category of excellence in workforce deployment. ETRO were honoured for the management of their company’s growth since their founding in 2015 from eight to currently over 100 employees.