Each year, the 100 people who work at Supplyhouse.com’s Melville, New York headquarters take a break from their daily routines to take part in a 10-week celebration of the company’s core values.
“Almost every company has a set of core values,” says Tom Reilly, marketing captain. “But a lot of times it might just be a plaque on a wall that no one really talks about. We wanted to make sure that our core values were ingrained in the employees so it's not just a sign on the wall or a page on our website.”
This year’s event started on the week of May 8 and stretched until the week of July 10. We caught up with Reilly and his colleagues, Kari Stirnweis, human resources captain and Raquel Sosnovich, social media strategist, on the third week of this year’s initiative.
With the first week’s focus on flexibility, the company held a department swap in which employees shadowed others to learn about everyone’s respective departments. It’s one of Stirnweis’ favorites for the event that’s in its third year.
“When you’re walking into someone else’s department, you’re really going to see what a day is like for them,” Stirnweis says. “You’re building bonds and relationships. The next time you have a question, you’re going to be more comfortable going up to that person to ask for help.”
The first week also took “flexibility” a bit more literally than in the past with a company yoga class.
“It also encouraged employees to step outside of their comfort zone for those who were not familiar with yoga practice,” Sosnovich says. “It allowed them to ‘stretch’ themselves when times are challenging, both in unfamiliar situations like yoga and in the workplace.”
Week two segued into teamwork with everyone putting together a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of one of the company’s trucks. Everyone could take 30 minutes out of the workweek to dedicate to the effort, but could also work on it during lunch or coffee breaks.
“Employees also participated in a team theme day where we coordinated outfits to wear as a group,” Sosnovich adds. “Lastly, each team came together to create and build decorations for our office lounge.”
Week three, education, is another annual favorite. Know anything about photography? Can you change a tire? Employees with any life skill that might come in handy are invited to share their know-how with others.
On Thursday of that week, employees were encouraged to wear gear from their alma maters be it high school or college. And, finally, everyone participated in the Supplyhouse.com version of Jeopardy where teams answered questions about the company, its culture and the products it sells.
“I’m coming up on a year being here,” Sosnovich explains, “and core values like these were something I was looking for in a job. It helps everyone just be comfortable around everyone else and is a great way of connecting with my co-workers.”
The company’s core values emphasize the type of environment they strive to create, according Josh Meyerowitz, president, who along with Fernando Cunha, chief operating officer, founded the e-commerce plumbing and heating supplies site in 2004.
The firm promises to ship supplies that are in stock or available from a local supplier within 24 to 48 hours.
Most orders ship directly from either a warehouse in Long Island or Columbus, Ohio, but if a supplier has an item available and it will get to customers faster, the firm will sometimes drop ship.
Customers located within a 20-mile radius of its Melville location also can pick up products ordered online.
“I think that a lot of our success has been driven on the fact that people feel comfortable here,” Meyerowitz says on a video posted to the company website explaining the core values. “A lot of that can be drawn back to our core values of respect, humility, teamwork and innovation. And by working toward those values, everyone is on the same page and the company is moving forward together.”