Managers are people developers

Thirty-five percent of managers are engaged and 33 percent of U.S. employees are engaged.

Managers, according to a Chicago-area consultant, have 70 percent influence on employee engagement.

Engagement is culture and culture is strategy, Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, said during a webinar last month.

Managers have to hire smart, strong tacticians, but also develop them – not just focus on performance.

“You can’t have great results without a great culture,” Gimbel said during the webinar titled “Developing Middle Managers into Better People Managers.”

Gimbel’s staffing, recruiting and culture company has worked with organizations in more than 30 states. LaSalle Network has been on the Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing companies for the last 11 years, on Glassdoor’s list of “Best Places to Work” and Inc. Magazine’s “Best Workplaces” list in America.

People management involves developing and motivating employees to perform at their best. Those responsibilities are distinct from other managerial roles, such as administration and decision making, Gimbel said.

Influence is built from relationship. That may require some social interaction beyond the routine, typical workplace conversations.

“It really comes down to the involvement you have in people’s lives,” Gimbel said. “It’s about caring for people outside of the office and inside of the office.”

He suggests that compassion, collaborations and competition can enhance workplace culture. Compassion involves being genuine with employees. Collaboration includes asking for their input. Competition, even within an organization, can be healthy, if it means people are driven to get better and improve the overall business.

“You can be collaborative and competitive,” Gimbel said.

And, by the way, when employees have a great idea, give them credit for it. Recognition is important. Most surveys show employees want to feel recognized and valued.

“People want to know that a company looks at who they are and recognizes them for being above average,” Gimbel said.

Managers have to learn what each employee appreciates, whether it’s words of affirmation; an act of service such as doing a small task the employee would normally be responsible for; or having “quality time” with the boss. Gift giving can also be an incentive.

What motivates one employee may not inspire another. “They might want to hear an ‘atta boy,’” Gimbel said. “They might want two tickets to a Cubs game.”

Managers have to recognize that they are in a state of not just recruiting but re-recruiting employees if they want the best retention, particularly in today’s labor market.

In this day and age, managers should assume every employee is getting a recruiting call or email, Gimbel said. It’s also conceivable that employees are reading social media posts by someone else bragging about how great their company is and then wondering why another company – the one they don’t work for – has certain perks.

Article originally published on

By Lisa Green

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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