Profiles in Leadership Series: TriSupply
Building a Team with Staying Power
I’ve been working with the team at Tri Supply for several years now, and one of the things that always strikes me is how much I really like all the people who work there. From Robby Raykovich, President of the four-store-and growing enterprise, to Karla Urbina, Contract Sales Representative and design industry advocate, every person seems to be happy, committed, and genuine. Given how important a great team is to any businesses success and how difficult it can be to build one, I wanted to understand how Tri Supply Mangers attract and keep talent. I sat down with Store Manager Aaron Valdez to get some insight.
The first thing you need to know is that Tri Supply is a family company, started by Robby’s grandfather in 1958. Multiple family members have worked for Tri Supply over the years including Robby’s brother Daren Raykovich who is currently Marketing and Advertising Manager for Tri Supply. Longevity is the norm, with employees enjoying careers of 20, 30, and even 40 years of service with the company.
Given the focus on long-term employees, the first thing Aaron looks for when interviewing is someone career-minded, who wants a position with a company they can grow with. He talks about Tri Supply’s core value of promoting from within that has been practiced since it’s inception.
Enthusiasm and Curiosity
Enthusiasm is another important quality Aaron looks for when hiring. Specific skills can be taught, but the right attitude is critical. Employees who want to learn and grow are the ones who thrive at Tri Supply.
Curiosity and engagement during the interview are also a good sign. Someone who has lots of questions, beyond the typical interview set, is likely to stay curious and engaged once hired.
Keeping the Fire Going
So how does Aaron keep his enthusiastic team members in a competitive job market? It helps that Tri Supply pays well, of course; but making sure that everyone feels valued, respected and recognized is probably more important. He hosts small-team ‘shop talks” where he can really dig in to what each department is challenged with , knowing the needs will differ in each department. He also hosts monthly all-store meetings to keep everyone up to date, while furthering the sense of unity and engagement.
Innovation is encouraged, in fact the idea to participate in the Marketplace was initiated by Karla, and she and Daren have been tasked with being the key implementers of the project. The team is trusted to identify opportunities and execute based on strong understanding of the business.
Culture From the Top Down
As an outside observer, what I can see is a culture that comes from the top down. Aaron’s desk is right up front, just behind the reception desk. He sees every customer that comes in and watches the daily interactions so he has the pulse on what employees and customers are dealing with. Even from the very top, the values of innovation and trust are clear; I’ve heard Robby say several times “You’ve got this, just tell me what you need”, demonstrating that he trusts his team’s decisions.
So, if you’re looking to build a lasting, positive, and flexible culture take a lesson from Tri Supply; listen to your people and reward innovation, and model your culture ever day.