Job seekers often start their search with more popular companies in their area, which tend to be larger employers. In the process, they often miss great opportunities available in smaller businesses. There are major advantages to working for a smaller company. And there is a strong likelihood that nearby small businesses are looking for good employees like you to make a large impact.
What’s considered a “small business”? Companies with fewer than 500 employees qualify as small businesses. At over 100 employees, ECI falls within this category. Yet this qualification is not merely a classification, but an ethos, a mindset which sets small businesses apart from “big box” employers. There are many benefits to working for smaller companies. While the list below is not comprehensive, consider these when you are looking for your next job.
At large companies, it can be easy to “fall through the cracks” and get lost in the crowd. It can be hard for employees to know everyone within their own part of the company, and it can be a challenge to see how one’s presence and contributions make a difference. In a small company, your contributions tend to be more evident and can be more easily appreciated.
As a software development company, ECI uses Agile and Scrum methodologies. Small teams of developers work together on short, time-bound development efforts that result in major innovations. These meet clear customer needs and make a tangible contribution to the overall mission and goal of the company. ECI can be thought of as a “team of teams” rather than a grouping of independent individuals. Each person feels more responsible for the results of their work. This tight-knit attitude helps small businesses like ECI grow and thrive.
Compensation is an important job consideration, and job seekers often assume this will be greater at a larger company. But ECI prides itself on providing competitive salaries and excellent benefits. Equally important, and perhaps even more so, is job security. You may want to ask yourself: Will I still have this position five years from now and beyond? While this question can be difficult to answer, especially as an outsider, one can glean information about the company based on its growth trajectory and frequency of job cuts.
Larger companies tend to have more frequent layoffs than small businesses, as public companies have financial responsibilities to their shareholders. As an analogy, when embarking on a weight-loss program, the more weight you start with, the faster the pounds will come off until the rate tapers off as you approach your goal. At that point, it is simply a matter of remaining in “maintenance mode.” Since small companies tend to have a comfortable and manageable workforce, they are less likely to “cut the fat” or have to meet financial targets expected by stock analysts. Even when the project you’re working on ends, it is likely you will get moved to another rather than being laid off, as happens regularly in bigger companies who often hire for specific projects and don’t plan for any bench time or project contingencies.
Put simply, the smaller the company, the flatter its structure and the easier it is to reach upper management. In a big company, rank-and-file employees may struggle to have their concerns heard by decision makers several tiers above them in the organization chart, who may hundreds or thousands of subordinates. A smaller company can give the sense that administrators are closer to being one’s peers rather than authority figures looking down from an ivory tower. Although there is indeed a responsibility differential between managers and other employees to respect and maintain, administrators of small businesses often have an “open-door” policy to engage employees quickly and efficiently about any concerns—business objectives, security issues, compensation, etc.
While the thought of rubbing elbows with management might make some nervous—especially those who have worked in big companies—the benefits far outweigh any initial reservations, providing increased visibility within the company and continual opportunities for growth.
Small business employees often receive more face time and increased weight in company decisions. That is, employees have both a greater influence and a greater role in guiding the company’s business decisions, technical oversight, and resource management. This helps employees feel less like mere “numbers” within the organization and more like valued people with strong and creative ideas who contribute to the overall mission. This increased company-wide influence makes small business employees highly regarded and valued.
In a small business, you are heard! If you have ever complained about knowing a better way to do things, this is your chance to do something about it! This sums up some of the earlier points: you are not a number, management is approachable, your opinions matter. It’s far easier to be heard in a coffee shop than in a sports arena. This level of visibility may make some nervous , but this is your opportunity to make a large impact on your company and your career. Small businesses tend to listen to employee ideas and act quickly on good ones. Employees have a greater chance to be heard within a small business, but without voicing your ideas, concerns, and questions, it is a wasted benefit. So speak up! You will always be heard in a small company like ECI.
Many people are enjoying their time and the benefits of working for a small company. Are you ready to start reaping the benefits? If so, apply below.