Are You Plugging the Benefits of Working in an SME?
13 September 2017

Most people want to work in a large business (in most cases simply because they have heard of the company) so if you’re an SME employer you will need to positively emphasise the advantages of being an SME to prospective candidates.

One of the big advantages of working for an SME is not being a small fish in a big sea, and therefore employees are more easily recognised for their efforts and hard work. They gain exposure to skills and projects that may have been assigned to a senior associate or manager in a bigger company. A small team means there are fewer peers vying for the same management positions. Good employees can quickly acquire more responsibilities.

Employees in SMEs can gain a lot of different and very useful experience quite quickly. A small business creates teams of people who work out how to get things done together and learn a great deal in the process.

In an SME employees are closer to the core activities of the business. It’s usually easier to get a real sense of what a small business does and how each employee impacts the work.

Inevitably SMEs have much flatter hierarchies which means employees work more closely with the senior management team.
Many people who opt for a large organisation do so because they think there’s more of a career structure. In fact, in SMEs there are fewer managers, more opportunities to progress and more opportunities to stretch as the business grows.
There tend to be far fewer office politics in small companies. The reason why so many of the wrong people succeed in large businesses is that they are politically astute, visible and hobnob with the right people. In an SME employees are far more likely to be assessed and succeed on their own merits.
SMEs are likely to tolerate and even prize the different qualities that people bring to the party. So often teams in large organisations are clones of the manager. Small business owners want a grittier team. Thinking differently and being different is seen as a positive trait not a threat.
In a small business resources can be limited, but this means that employees are often able to follow projects from start to finish. So, instead of handling a small component of a larger project as tends to happen in a big firm, employees are a part of the brainstorming, engineering and execution of a marketing campaign, product launch or other important project. This can be an amazing way to learn and venture into new territory.
Employees in SMEs often forge close relationships with their manager and colleagues. A smaller staff size affords managers and employees the chance to bond more easily. Many see themselves as a ‘family’.

SMEs are usually far more dynamic than large organisations. It means that they are open to trying new things and the decision-making process is short. If an employee has a proposal, it can be tried out quickly without a lot of red tape. Big companies are like juggernauts. Each project may only play a minor role in the overall success or failure of the organisation. On top of that, processes tend to move slowly through the different levels of management in a large business. This can dilute an individual’s chance of being recognised for performing great work. In a small business, it is often completely the opposite.
SMEs tend to be more flexible. Small companies are less tied to policy and precedent, so they can be more flexible with remote work and in general. When there are just a handful of people working at a company, every success is celebrated by the whole team.
SMEs encourage creativity. Because they have smaller budgets, they find creative new ways to accomplish goals. Employees see the good, the bad and the ugly — all of the realities of what day-to-day life is like as a small-business owner.

All of the above means that employees can experiment.

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2021 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.