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Employee Experience

Big Business vs. Small Business: 4 Reasons Bigger Isn’t Always Better When it Comes to Employee Experience

The reality is, when it comes to hiring, big corporations are often at an advantage. They can attract talented people with big, resume – building projects and supercharged growth opportunities. In an historically tight labor market, it might seem tougher than ever for small businesses to attract top talent. However, small business owners shouldn’t feel too bad. Here’s why.

While they might get less time in the limelight, companies with fewer than 100 employees do still employ more than a third of the U.S. workforce, according to the most recent census. What is attracting these employees to smaller scale operations rather than big names? A lot of it comes down to having their voices heard, being part of great teams, and seeing the difference their work makes. If you’re a small business owner, let’s break down the pitch you can make to potential employees who don’t know whether a small business or corporation is right for them.

4 Advantages Small Enterprises Have Over Large Corporations

  1. Recruiting and Hiring EmployeesRecruiting for a major corporation – often outsourced to external agencies – can seem like a never-ending series of hurdles. Of course, getting hired by a smaller company isn’t necessarily easy, but it does offer candidates a greater chance for face-to-face conversation with a decision maker.

    In fact, smaller companies can leverage their recruiting processes to showcase what they offer employees that corporations can’t – more personalized experiences, responsive feedback and less bureaucracy. If a candidate is weighing up job offers from small business vs corporation, a superior recruiting process – being able to talk with future coworkers and getting the chance to see a company culture up close – could make all the difference.

  2. Creating a Company CultureCrafting a great company culture is a tough – but important – task for any business. Culture impacts employee engagement, and employee engagement impacts everything – companies with higher engagement have higher staff retention, higher customer engagement and an average of 21% higher profitability (Gallup). The good news is, maintaining the right culture will likely prove easier for a small business compared to a corporation.

    Company culture has to start at the top – but as a company grows, getting that to filter all the way down becomes more difficult. It can be much easier for a smaller organization to maintain the values and beliefs of the founder, because in many cases, the founder still works there.

    Most of all, at a smaller company, employees can avoid “small cog syndrome”, that feeling of being a tiny part of a massive structure. They are more likely to be able to directly see the difference their work makes – that’s great news for company culture and employee engagement, and it’s a great advantage for small businesses over big businesses.

  3. Nimble Decision MakingSure, you may work on big projects at a big company, but there is one thing a small business can offer: faster, more nimble decision making. In a smaller, more dynamic business environment, employees may also have the chance to be more flexible and learn more. Compared to big business, small business often requires ‘T-shaped’ talent – an emphasis on breadth, not just depth, of skills. Not only does this add variety to working life, it boosts learning and development, giving staff a broader range of experiences.
  4. Employee RecognitionIt can be hard to get noticed in the corporate environment. In fact, people who work for large corporations often have to market themselves much more actively, which is kind of like having another job on top of your day-to-day job. In a small business, performance gets recognized – how could it not?

    But recognition isn’t just about opportunities for progression and promotion. It’s also about being listened to when you have ideas, or supported when you require help or have a complaint. It’s crucial that employees feel like their work is seen and their voice is heard – and no matter how many structures corporations put in place to make sure this is true, it’ll always be simpler at a small business.

Your Employee Experience Can be a Competitive Advantage

Small businesses have an advantage over corporations when it comes to designing an employee experience that brings out the best in your people and gives them real motivation to stay engaged. To learn how to create the ideal employee experience, check out our infographic here.


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