Is Bigger Always Better: An employee's perspective on working for smaller companies
I used to think I missed an opportunity by not getting into a large corporation right out of college.
My first job out of college was with the title Office Manager (I also did all the accounting and payroll and HR) and the company consisted of 6 people and had only recently begun offering benefits. When I left them 3.5 years later my role had grown to Corporate Controller and they now had 30-40 employees, many working remotely from across the states and even some employees living and working in Europe.
Their growth was off the charts. And this directly benefited me. In the less than four years I was with them my salary had more than doubled. Yes, I worked like crazy and wore many hats (as is typical of start-up & growth cycles in companies) but it was very rewarding.
Fast forward 10 years, I have only ever worked for smaller companies. When I have been job hunting, I have looked at and even interviewed for positions within very large companies. It never “worked out”. And because this is an unknown for me, I always had a niggling feeling that I was missing out on some opportunities only found within a large corporation.
I will let the employees for larger corporations weigh in on that.
Here is what I do know. There are many benefits for working with a smaller, growing company. Here are the top 3 benefits I have personally seen in my 10 years of experience:
Smaller companies feel more personal. Your supervisor is more likely to remember details about you and build a deeper relationship when they don’t have 50+ people to oversee. It is simple numbers. You are bound to know the members of a smaller group better than a large group.
Smaller companies can offer more creativity and flexibility within your role. Yes, a downside is lack of duplication in roles but that leads to more ownership within a role. And as growth occurs this also leads to an openness to keep the right people on the “bus” and a dedication to get them into the right “seat” too. Growing up with a smaller company provides a unique opportunity to, at times, create a role you really want.
Smaller companies don’t have a process and SOP for every procedure. And while you might be thinking this is a negative, it is not. Too much regulation and rules will keep some great innovations from the workplace. Not as much “red-tape” can lead to more work getting done. Better solutions to serve clients. Employees need enough guidance to accomplish the company’s goals while also having autonomy.
I once had a recruiter ask me if I wanted to work for a large corporation. At the time I said I was unsure. I think there are benefits to all sizes of companies to work for. What I do know now is fear of missing out or FOMO is not an adequate reason to jump from a smaller ship to a larger ship. Who even knows if you are a “large ship” type of person? Focus on what you can build where you are. Another way to say this is bloom where you are planted.
What about you?
What are your thoughts on different sized employers?