Tampa Bay Business Journal Feature on Florida Business Interiors
Date: April 22, 2016
How Florida Business Interiors builds a best place to work company
By Kevin Baker - President/Owner of Florida Business Interiors, Tampa
I have been in the workforce since I was 15. Through the years, I worked for many companies run by bosses who wanted to micromanage everything the employees did during the day. I knew that when I started my own company, I wanted to create a unique atmosphere. I wanted to build an environment of trust, respect, and, most of all, create a workspace and a team that people want to join.
Florida Business Interiors was founded in Tampa in 2007 and we made Ybor Square in Ybor City our first home. We created a state of the art, completely modular office inside a building built in 1886. It was the beginning of my dream to create a space where people wanted to work. It also became a living laboratory for the furniture and technology solutions we would be providing our customers.
Nine years later and we are still in beautiful Ybor City, in an even larger and unique historical space in Centro Ybor, overlooking Seventh Avenue. Since that first year, we have been fortunate to receive recognition every year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as a finalist for Best Places to Work.
So, you may ask — how have we been finalists for nine years running?
Here are some of the highlights:
TRUST YOUR TEAM
FBI believes in hiring the best and most creative people in our industry and “getting out of their way” to let them do what we hired them to do. We allow all team members to suggest improvements to every process we have. This open communication leads to innovation, which in turn leads to improved profitability.
INVEST IN YOUR PEOPLE
We believe in investing in our people, our workplace and our brand. Being a locally-owned small business, we can make those investments without having to get “buy in” from some out-of-town owner who doesn’t understand the importance of the need in the local market. By making these investments, we have more engaged team members, which builds excitement around why we do what we do. FBI is also believes in investing in great benefits. We believe in helping team members plan for their futures, both near term and long term.
WORK HARD & PLAY HARD TOGETHER
I firmly believe that a team of people who work hard for each other and their customers also needs to play together. To achieve these goals, we have weekly gatherings on Friday afternoons. Everyone comes together to enjoy the last part of the day in our office social area to celebrate the week. We also take an annual trip together, which includes significant others, based on achieving our companywide goal for the year. We have company-sponsored days off to volunteer at a local charity in the morning, followed by team-building activities in the afternoon. When you invest in your team in creative ways, they feel appreciated and inspired.
KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Too often, companies try to be too many things, not performing any of them to their fullest capability. The entire FBI team takes pride in knowing why we do what we do, and doing it to the best of our ability. A clear vision helps our team communicate our message to our customers. We know this leads to much higher employee and customer satisfaction. By understanding our skill set, we can offer the best experience possible.
We know our survival depends on partnerships between team members, with our manufacturer partners, and most importantly with our customers. These partnerships help us to create collaborative, successful and meaningful relationships that are lasting. As an organization, we believe in building these relationships and make that a priority in all that we do.
This article originally appeared in the Tampa Bay Business Journal on April 22, 2016 on pages 34-35.