Outstanding management reaps rewards

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A good management team, just like the captain of a ship, is necessary to steer any business in the right direction.

Three businesses in Pittsburgh excelled in management-related special categories, based on Workplace Dynamics rankings. The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown, with management by Prospera Hospitality; Bridges Hospice; and First National Bank of Pennsylvania won in the categories of Managers, Doers and Clued In Senior Management, respectively.

Leaders from the three businesses said creating a respectful and friendly environment for employees is central to their management style and to the success of their organizations.

"Being a manager really is a little more than just managing the numbers. Great managers are able to manage people," said Vincent J. Delie Jr., president and CEO, FNB Corp. in Hermitage. "They understand the human aspect of how to motivate people."

Creating that type of environment can stem from having been an employee previously, said Mr. Delie. He grew up on the North Side of Pittsburgh and started his career in the mailroom of a brokerage house before working his way through numerous different positions and eventually becoming the CEO.

"I try to understand what my employees face day in and day out," Mr. Delie said. "If the leadership has been in the position that you have been, they have a better understanding of the obstacles you face."

At Bridges Hospice located on Gulf Lab Road in Harmar, a direct connection to employees helps management relate to other staff. Every employee has the cell phone number of Christian Vagley, the executive director.

"We're very open door here," said Mr. Vagley, adding that he tries to answer texts and emails from his employees as quickly as possible.

Employee events help foster a similar environment at the Doubletree, said Bill Osborne, one of the assistant housekeeping managers. He said employees get together once a week to meet and have refreshments.

"From the first day I started, I fell in love with the hotel," Mr. Osborne said, recalling moments like picnics and breakfasts with Santa that were facilitated by the company over his 16 years at the Doubletree.

He also said it is important to find a balance between running an efficient business and being sensitive to the personal lives of employees.

At Bridges Hospice, the staff is well versed in striking this balance. While each employee has a direct line to the manager, which helps make the business like a "family," according to Mr. Vagley, the company is also growing quickly. It had only 10 employees about a year and a half ago and now it has 55. The Top Workplaces category that they won, Doers, is defined as a company that does things efficiently and well.

In order to address any conflicts that may arise, Mr. Vagley said his strategy is to mediate conflicts by removing himself from the situation and approaching it from an unbiased, third-person perspective.


First Published September 12, 2013 4:00 AM


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