All American Entertainment Awarded Number 1 Best Place To Work In Triangle Business Journal's Small Business Category
No. 1 Small Business: All American Entertainment
Local employees: 30
Industry: Business services President: Greg Friedlander
The role that we play is often behind the scenes. We like to say that our job is to make other people look good, but we are very happy for our team to receive recognition and validation for their tremendous hard work and commitment. The key to our success is having a team of passionate and motivated people who take pride in delighting our customers, providing a superior experience, and building long-term relationships.
The statistic that we are most proud of is that more than 96% of our customers say they would recommend us to a friend or colleague. This speaks to the people we have and to the type of business we are building.
The office culture is extremely important to all of our employees. We hire for cultural fit as much as skillset, knowing that our people are the real reason for our success. We involve multiple employees in the interview process of new employees to ensure that there will be a good cultural fit. The result is very low turnover and a growing number of employees who are invested in the long-term success of the company, which is a significant reason for our success.
"This company embodies the "work hard, play hard" work culture. Every single person at each level of the company is encouraged and rewarded for their hard work. Management is extremely supportive and empathetic, both in the office and from a personal life standpoint. I have never felt more supported in any other work environment, it really feels like you are working with your family and friends each day. Each individual is encouraged to pursue what they like and what they are good at, and management assists you along the way to help you succeed."*
AAE Employees Proudly Show The #1 Best Place To Work Award During Award Ceremony At PNC Arena
Dedicated employees and happy customers lead to robust growth. Based on our three-year growth of 214%, we were recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America, where we ranked No. 2080 overall, No. 53 in North Carolina, and No. 3 in the Triangle in the Business Services category. AAE is one of only 11 Durham companies to make the list.
We are very excited to be one of only 3 companies in 2018 to be named to both the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America and the Triangle Business Journal's Best Places to Work list!
* All quotes used are from anonymous survey results conducted by Quantum Analytics as part of Inc. Best Workplaces.
We believe in an open-door policy and encourage all employees to provide feedback and ideas to continually improve ourselves. As we continue to grow, we will never lose sight of the commitment to our culture and our values.
"Working at All American Entertainment has given me the opportunity to own my work and projects from start to finish. Managers are there as an aid to answer questions and provide assistance, but my role has empowered me to work independently and helped me improve upon my organization, time management, and communication skills."
Every employee is treated with the same amount of respect, no matter their age, department, or number of years with the company. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand and teach one another best practices. Our leaders always engage in team lunches and volunteer opportunities, going out of their way to foster relationships with all employees.
"The amount of trust that is given to the employees in this job is incredible. After working in other atmospheres, where the leaders micro-managed and did not believe in the lower-level employees, it is refreshing and inspiring to work where the leadership is genuinely interested in everyone's advancement and growth."
Award Luncheon for Best Places To Work 2018 at PNC Arena
Besides open communication and a supportive work environment, we strive to keep employee morale high by continuously recognizing the team's efforts and rewarding our employees with fun activities and opportunities for personal and professional growth. We organize quarterly happy hours, host monthly catered Lunch & Learn sessions covering different topics that are educational and relevant to our employees, and our CEO regularly purchases books that the team is interested in reading.
"From the first day I started I've been respected, praised and compensated for the great work I do. This keeps me motivated and inspired. I love the people in this company and the work that we do. The speakers we book have an effect on people's thinking and make a difference in many areas of business and society. I am very proud to be a part of an organization that can have that type of impact in the world. I can't wait to see how we continue to grow!"
Finally, we are fortunate to work with some very interesting and inspiring people every day. Over the last few years, employees have had the opportunity to attend our events and meet the following celebrities and industry leaders:
Music: Aretha Franklin, Bruno Mars, Alison Krauss, 2Chainz, and Pentatonix.
Sports: Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Wayne Gretzky, Tim Tebow, Billie Jean King, and Ronda Rousey.
Business: Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Wozniak, Richard Branson and Mark Cuban.
Television: Dr. Mehmet Oz, Mike Rowe, Michael Strahan and Ree Drummond.
Entertainment: Rob Lowe, Steve Martin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Viola Davis, and Elisabeth Moss.
At AAE, we actively encourage and support our employees to lead a healthy lifestyle. The company offers its employees a monthly membership at a gym of their choice, reimbursement for dental procedures, and individual and family health insurance with great coverage.
Family is very important to us and maintaining a positive work/life balance is encouraged by offering employees early release on Fridays. Furthermore, our employees' young children are always welcome at the office. This past year we hosted a Halloween event for toddlers and turned the office into a haunted house! Other activities included: a slime station, a costume contest, and decorating brownies and cookies with colorful frosting and all sorts of Halloween candy.
We organize many fun office outings, but the one that definitely stood out this year was the day that we "kidnapped" our CEO for his 40th birthday! The team threw him an awesome surprise party and we spent the afternoon bowling and playing video games at a local establishment.
The AAE Team Celebrating CEO Greg Friedlander's 40th Birthday At A Bowling Alley
As for office perks, the most popular is the cash wheel that employees spin on their birthdays, "workaversaries", and when we hit certain team goals.
"There are numerous incentives and perks that keep motivation (and fun levels) high. For example, if we meet weekly goals by a certain day, the company treats everyone to lunch on Friday and we get to leave the office a few hours early. Monthly incentive goals include spinning a prize wheel and you walk away with cash in hand! I've personally seen people win several hundred dollars during a spin ceremony. And sometimes it's a "just because" kind of thing... Yesterday, our CEO paid to have someone onsite professionally clean all of our cars. Such a nice surprise."
Last but not least, the company frequently adds to our so-called "swag fund" and the entire team gets to vote on how we want to use that money! Some of the most popular activities and purchases from the past year include:
We are thankful for our company's success, and we've made it our goal to give back to the local community. This past year, the company founded a special community outreach committee called AAE Cares.
AAE Cares has organized a number of amazing events, including a food drive for the Food Bank of North Carolina, a back-to-school drive for the Boys & Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties, and a pet supply drive for the Animal Protection Society of Durham.
The numbers were staggering. No less than 210 pounds of food were collected for the Food Bank, approximately 100 kids were equipped with backpacks full of school supplies, and more than 400 pounds of pet food as well as hundreds of toys and other supplies went to APS.
Apart from donation drives, AAE Cares also organized an Angel Tree initiative to make the holidays happier for Durham families, and our team participated in several Special Olympics events throughout the Triangle. Seeing those families receive their Christmas presents, and the kids enjoy their basketball, track & field and other tournaments, truly fills our hearts with joy.
Our office has a number of special features and spaces to boost employee health, morale, and creativity, as well as a casual dress code that allows employees to be comfortable at work.
A fully stocked snack room provides everything from coffee and tea, soft drinks, and water to chips, cookies, and more healthy options like protein bars, cereals, and nuts. If you take anything back to your desk, you can be sure the adorable office dog will come beg for a treat.
If you're in need of a break, there is a room with two massage chairs and beanbags to relax in. Alternatively, you can treat yourself to a massage right at your desk with one of the massage chair inserts. If you're looking for exercise, the office boasts a treadmill, free weights, exercise balls, and standing desks to relieve your back. The best way to create a stress-free work day!
In addition, there are puzzles and games (including a dartboard) for downtime. The walls throughout our office are decorated with flat screen TVs that keep the team up-to-date with the latest news, trending celebrities, and entertainment. One is even equipped with an XBox!
To keep the creative juices flowing, we love to go on daily wellness walks in the afternoon along the nearby nature trail.
Even though we are a rapidly growing company, we will work to maintain a start-up's level of excitement and keep our company culture strong. We owe our success to our employees' dedication and customers' trust, and we promise to never become complacent or lose sight of everything it took to get to where we are today.
We place a high priority on developing opportunities for personal and professional growth. Therefore, we strive to always make the necessary investments to ensure each individual's success, as well as boost the team's overall performance.
"Our leaders are always willing to listen to any question or problem, no matter how small. I've never been turned away when I needed something. Even our President's door is always open. They provide us feedback and suggestions based on their own work experience which always helps."
For more information about All American Entertainment, please visit www.allamericanspeakers.com or call 1-800-698-2536.