Why Should Employees Work For A Small Business?

Big companies might offer beefier benefits but there are ways small businesses can flex their own muscle to attract top talent. The secret is to focus on the unique work experiences only smaller shops can offer. Here are some message points you can use in your recruiting efforts to highlight the small business advantage to prospective employees. They make great retention tools too.

Advantage 1: You can make a difference.

One of the key determiners of job satisfaction is being able to make a meaningful contribution. It’s easier to do that in a small business because there are fewer people in the organization. Employees have a wider span of influence.

If someone has an idea, they can talk directly with the owner, then implement it. In a larger business, they might have to go through layers of management before they get to the decision maker. And then it might get assigned to another team to work.

Advantage 2: You get to wear many hats.

Employees at small businesses tend to be generalists—they take on a number of roles. One day you might need to solve a customer’s problem, while the next day you’re tasked with tracking down a supply order, and then on another day directed to work on a promotion to launch a new product.

That’s a very attractive proposal for someone who is just starting their career. It also appeals to a seasoned employee wanting to branch out and do something different. Each gets to learn new skills in another area. That’s good for the business too—you’ll have a wider depth of talent.

Advantage 3: You have greater work-life flexibility.

Small businesses still have rules but they often have more flexibility in applying them. For example, an employee attending school might be able to modify their work schedule during exam week. Another employee might work from home when their child is sick.

This flexibility can help employees achieve greater work-life balance. Larger companies may not be able to accommodate these variations. Imagine trying to meet individual needs for over 5,000 employees.

Advantage 4: You’re part of our family.

The culture of an organization has a lot to do with what it’s like to work there. Because of their size, smaller businesses tend to operate more like a family. You all “live together in the same house” and learn to collaborate to get things done. That kind of support system can make for a satisfying work environment.

In contrast, large companies tend to be more bureaucratic. Rules rather than relationships tend to govern what’s appropriate. If a prospective employee prefers more one-to-one interaction, they may be better off in a small company.

How To Leverage These Advantages

It’s amazing what benefits small businesses can offer its employees. And surprisingly, none of them require big budgets to provide. They’re all value-added advantages employees at a larger company may not get.

So how do you put these advantages to work for your small business? Here are some suggestions for the recruiting process (and beyond):

  • Appeal to their driver – Ask the applicant, “Why do you want to work for a small business?” Their answer helps you identify what drives or motivates them. Once you know that, give supporting examples from your business. For instance, tell them about an employee who had a great idea and how it impacted the business. If they can’t give a reason, you have an opportunity to educate them by using the four advantages above.
  • Switch standard bearers – Have another employee sit in on interviews to describe what it’s like to work at your company. They’ll get a first-hand look at your culture and be able to ask questions from a fellow employee.  
  • Reinforce with current employees – Find ways to remind current employees of these advantages. For example, a seasoned employee who is looking for a challenge might like to “wear a different hat” and take on a new role, perhaps training a newer employee.

The secret to attracting talent to your businesses is to think small. What can you uniquely provide that bigger businesses cannot? Start by leveraging these advantages and use what you do best to recruit the best people.

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