Alan Gasvoda

Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development, Lithko Contracting, LLC

Ensuring a positive alignment between employee strengths and a company’s needs is what drives Alan Gasvoda as Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development for Lithko Contracting, a full-service concrete contracting company based in Hamilton.

“I am a strong believer in what motivational speaker Simon Sinek says – when people put their heart and soul into their work, that’s when great things happen. It’s about the heart count, not the head count. Good leadership is the key to enabling people to get to that point.”

Successful leaders listen closely to their people, Gasvoda says, and make every attempt to fully understand what they are saying, especially when facing performance or quality issues.

“Most of the time, most employees do get to the point where they have put their heart and soul into their work, but they are frustrated because they don’t feel like it’s being recognized. Or they haven’t been successful, and no one sees what is keeping them from being successful.”

No employee says, “ ‘I want to go to work and mess up today,’ ” Gasvoda says.

“Their intent is to go to work, do good things, make a fair living and create some value. But sometimes, the people they work for are not encouraging that. Good leaders must understand the emotional bonding, networking and communication needed for trust to develop between them and their people. They will take care of you if you take care of them. It’s a mutual trust relationship.”

Gasvoda believes a leader’s awareness of each employee’s work style is also integral to getting everyone on board with an organization’s mission and goals. For example, leaders might need to ask themselves, “What do I need to do as a driver to work more closely with someone who is amiable but perhaps not as driven as I might like?

“It’s not, ‘How do I change them?’ but ‘What do I need to change about myself?’ ” he notes.

Lithko is particularly proud of its Daily Preparation Process (DPP), which makes employee safety a top priority, and engages people by giving them a say in how the work gets done in order to succeed.

“We get them involved in that process because they did the work the day before, and they know what is needed,” Gasvoda says. “We look for them to put their hearts and souls into what their next eight hours are going to look like. We think that’s a great way to help prepare them to be more comfortable with eventually moving into leadership responsibilities themselves. It’s more of a collaborative effort.”

It makes no difference to Gasvoda if employees are Baby Boomers or Millennials. He believes employees add value, no matter what generation they come from.

“It’s a natural evolution that says we must always be aware of new generations entering the workforce and the changes they bring with them,” he says. “Again, we must recognize the skills and talents individuals bring to the table, and how best to channel it all for the betterment of an organization. We have to give everyone a chance to unleash their passions.”