The answer, of course, varies from person to person. The truth is both small companies (defined by the government as having 500 or fewer employees) and large orgs have different benefits and drawbacks.
Corporate-oriented professionals who value security and structure might be more comfortable in large organizations. Adaptable and personable people, on the other hand, often thrive in small companies, especially new businesses and start-ups where best-practices are still in the development phase.
Trying to decide where you belong?
We’ve broken down some of the key differences between small and large companies. Ask yourself what is more important to you and what type of environment will bring you workplace happiness.
1. Top Down vs. Flat Hierarchy
The more employees, the more need there is for management and senior-level positions, which creates a vertical hierarchy – the “corporate ladder.” This can be a positive for those looking for a company with advancement and growth opportunities. Since most large companies are nationwide or even international, remote conference calls or meetings are a common occurrence.
Small companies, on the other hand, often have more of company-wide camaraderie. The close quarters and fewer layers of management open up more opportunities for employees at all levels to voice their ideas and concerns.
How close to the leaders at your company do you prefer to be?
2. Perks vs. Barebones Benefits
Typically, a bigger company means bigger benefits. While many small businesses are able to provide the essential necessities for their employees’ wellbeing (healthcare, dental benefits and sick days), larger companies like Google or S.C. Johnson offer added perks. For instance, Google offers free gourmet food onsite and S.C. Johnson offers retirees a lifetime gym membership. Some large companies even offer tuition reimbursement in order to invest in their own employees by helping them grow as professionals at their company.
Are perks important to you?
3. Jack of All Trades vs. Master of One Role
Working at a smaller, less-hierarchical company provides opportunities to cross-train and cover several bases due to the company’s limited resources. For instance, as an administrative assistant at a small company, you might also be accountable for human resources tasks, which would be an entirely independent department in a large company.
Being able to wear many hats lets you expand your skill set, gives you more responsibility and beefs up your resume. It also lets you get a taste for many different positions. Though for some, the lack of a defined position or the addition of other responsibilities can be stressful
Professionals working in a large company may be able to change departments, but are inevitability expected to master their niche in one department, since there are plenty of employees to cover each base.
Do you want well-defined responsibilities or do you want a little taste of everything?
4. Constant vs. Fluctuating Stability
Large companies are generally much more stable than smaller companies partly because they are likely to be defined and established as a brand, image or product. Smaller companies are more likely to be evolving and open to best practices.
Bigger also tends to mean a larger pool of resources, like corporate training, which empowers professionals to advance in the given large corporation. Professionals in smaller companies, on the other hand, are commonly trained on the job, inviting more flexibility. Smaller companies also are more susceptible to market and economic fluctuations.
Are you at a point where security and stability are a priority?
5. Casual vs. ‘Corporate’ Culture
With a few exceptions –like Facebook and Microsoft, which allow several of their departments to work in jeans – most large corporations are known to uphold a formal atmosphere. Large companies contain several different internal teams that operate in a structured protocol. And there are several layers of management. Moreover, in companies employing more than 500 people, chances are you won’t know everyone by their first names.
Smaller companies are typically more casual in workflows, reporting structures, dress code and overall culture.
Do you want to wear jeans or a suit to work?
Of course there’s only one way to know for sure; many of us end up working at both a large corporation and with a small team at some point in our careers. Embrace both opportunities and decide what company culture is best for you: big, or small. Because size does matter.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at CareerBliss!
About the Author: Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. When Ritika’s not writing, she’s obsessing over social media (and listening to Jay Z!). Follow Ritika on Twitter!