Small and medium enterprises are known to be the primary drivers behind the healthy and homogenous growth of an economy. While the big companies help in macro-development of the business infrastructure and setup of a nation, it is the SMEs that enable a balanced, equal and fair distribution of resources among citizens.
Employees are the backbone of any organization either small or big, and it is said that employee engagement must remain considerably high for an enterprise to function successfully. In a business study conducted recently, it was found that 36 percent of small-company employees said they were ‘fully engaged’ with their jobs, while only 29 percent of those who worked at larger companies expressed the same. At the same time, around 26 percent of large company employees really felt ‘fully disengaged’ from their jobs, while just 18 percent of those working for small companies said this was the case with them. Let’s have a look as to why employee engagement becomes important for a small or medium company to grow in a healthy manner.
The Sense of Belonging
In a big company, employees are more likely to remain connected with their direct reporting heads and in awe of the image and brand value of the enterprise. Somehow, it disconnects them with the company itself in a way. While in the case of a small company, employees are connected directly with the company at a subconscious level. It gives them a sense of belonging to the company and inspires them to offer their best capabilities towards the company’s growth, and increases their engagement with the organization. For example, in a small software development company with 40-50 employees, it is easier for a developer to stay in touch with the CEO, and identify himself with the company like a family member; while in a software giant with 1000 or more employees, this sense will be missing for certain employees.
Better Focus, Less Distraction
In a huge business set up, the organization usually deals with a large number of products or solutions. While it works better for the company in terms of overall growth and revenue, somehow it distracts the employees in terms of their focus. On the other hand, in a small enterprise, the company focus is centered on a few products or solutions, which increases the employees’ focus considerably and enables them to engage better with the company. For example, a multinational company working in the steel manufacturing sector might deal in a variety of both domestic and commercial steel products. At the same time, a small steel unit located in a North Indian town is more likely to manufacture not more than 8 to 10 kitchen products, which will increase the focus of its workforce, engaging them better with the company itself.
Direct Access to the Top Brass
Big business houses have a well-defined hierarchy in place, which means that no employee may conveniently access the top leaders or people associated with the company. In small companies, on the other hand, having direct access to the top management is relatively easy and convenient for an employee, which further cements their confidence and increases the engagement with the organization. For example, an employee working in a small-town branch of a big insurance company might find it extremely difficult to directly approach top management in the event regional executives misbehave or tend to exploit him, which disconnects him from the company. At the same time, if the aforesaid insurance company was relatively small in size with its headquarters located in the vicinity, the employee mentioned above would have found it much easier to escalate the issue directly to top management and get justice delivered to him, which would have boosted his engagement with the company considerably.
Multiple Exposures and Learning Opportunities
Huge organizations have precisely defined roles and responsibilities for the workforce in place, which means an employee has no scope for carrying out multiple or varied duties or learning new skills every day. On the other hand, in small enterprises, most of the responsibilities have to be shared among the employees in an interchangeable manner. Also, employees get constant opportunities to learn new skills and upgrade themselves by taking different online courses. This is a very important factor in making their job more interesting and engaging them deeply with the organization.
Higher Transparency, More Trust
Due to the large size and complex hierarchical structure in big organizations, things get increasingly less transparent because it is very difficult for top management to have a clear vision and know what is exactly happening at the lowest level. In small enterprises, however, it is much easier and more convenient for company management to have a direct knowledge and idea about the things going on every level. It increases transparency and allows company management to provide more autonomy to employees. In return, employees have an increased sense of trust and become further engaged in a more effective and closer manner with the enterprise.
In a nutshell, it may be said that while bigger companies and enterprises are found to be more stable, better paying and prestigious to work with by employees, small and medium enterprises must provide them reasons to feel at home and engage better. On one hand, it brings employees closer to their workplace on an emotional level whle at the same time encouraging them to offer the best of their capabilities so that the enterprise registers sound growth and success in future.