Are you happy here?: Gallup says 70 percent of employees are not

Published 10:42 pm Monday, June 24, 2013

Washington native Lauren Allen (right) and employer Adam Feldhousen say the offices of Deep Fried Creative, Inc. are a happy place to be.

Washington native Lauren Allen (right) and employer Adam Feldhousen say the offices of Deep Fried Creative, Inc. are a happy place to be.   MONA MOORE | Daily News

Lauren Allen struck gold when she accepted an advertising account manager position at Deep Fried Creative, Inc. last April.
“I majored in communication … at NC State. It’s cool to get to use my degree and live close to home,” she said. “I like the opportunity to work with people around Washington and to develop relationships with
people I’ve known all my life as well as ones I just
According to a Gallup poll, Allen is the exception, not the rule. The poll found that 70 percent of Americans were unhappy with their jobs.
Surveyors asked about 500 North Carolinians about job satisfaction every month of 2012. The results mirrored the national average, making North Carolina the 22nd highest state with employees engaged in their work and happy to be there.
Bob Schultz, a counselor at East Carolina SCORE Chapter 693, said the economy has had its toll on job satisfaction. Many accepted positions making less than they did in the past.
“Another thing that is contributing to it is the gap between top management and working people seems to be growing,” Schultz said. “I think there’s got to be some basis for narrowing that gap.”
Schultz had suggestions for local employers who want to improve the job satisfaction of employees.
“I think one of the key things is to keep
employee communication open and give them responsibility so that they can have a sense of accomplishment and so they feel ownership (in the business),” he said.
Allen’s advice for those who want to be a 30-percenter is simple: enjoy the people you work with.
She and her boss, Adam Feldhousen, share a Havens Wharf office in downtown Washington. They bounce ideas off each other, talk about random things and often have music playing while they work.
Feldhousen developed his management style working in larger advertising agencies in Raleigh and New York before coming to Washington.
“I try to keep in mind the different things that I liked at those agencies,” he said.
The agencies would do teambuilding perks like closing early for a round of miniature golf or to take in a movie.
“What I struggle with is we’re not big enough, at this point, to do those sorts of things,” Feldhousen said.
A company of two has its advantages. With accounts that cover everything from power to jewelry, the job has variety and the pair have the flexibility to work from home.
“For me, I like working with a close-nit group of people,” Feldhousen said. “Even with the freelancers I use.”
Happy employees make happy clients. He fosters the same cohesion with clients.
“Clients know who we are and what we do. It’s a much closer relationship,” he said.
Wayne Rollins is senior business specialist at Mid-East Commission, a part of the Workforce Development Board. He said the poll results paint a different picture than the one he sees in Beaufort County.
Here, people know the businesses and the people behind them. They know what to expect when they apply for a position. Having a job meet employee expectations is a large part of satisfaction, he said.
“North Carolina has a good reputation about being business friendly,” Rollins said. “We were considered the best place to open a business. And it’s not just about the incentives.”
He said education; recreation and the community add value to the area. Rollins credited Bob Heuts, head of Economic Development in Beaufort County, with bringing stakeholders to the table, continuing to move the area forward and developing a positive reputation.
“Heuts has been fantastic,” he said. “Beaufort County is probably one of the premier destinations to come and retire.”
The Mid-East Commission is one resource that businesses can use to improve job satisfaction, Rollins said. In addition to helping them wade through labor market information, Rollins said he could help employers measure how they stack up to the Gallup poll findings.
“One of the greatest things an employer should do is use a third party to survey employees,” Rollins said. “You can get some valuable information if you listen.”