Does Size Matter? Working for a Large vs Small Company

Fay Welch, Director at Elliott Scott HR in Singapore, discusses her experience of moving to a boutique company after working for a large multinational corporation (MNC) – and finding that the difference is not as big as you might think. 

I made the move to a smaller, boutique company a year ago after being with a large MNC for nine years. My main concern when I joined was that I hadn’t worked for a small company before and didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t so different and was easier than I had anticipated!

When you boil it down, the job is the same. The expectations of your manager are the same; you still need to work hard; and you’re expected to reach your targets. The size of the company you work for doesn’t change any of this. 

Another essential aspect that doesn’t change is your behavior in the office. Whether there are 5 people in your company or 50, the same guidelines apply. Be professional, patient, positive and most importantly, be prepared to listen.             

When I started my job search I thought about what I really wanted from a new company. I focused on when I was at my happiest and most successful. I considered the type of people I was working with at that time and what I liked about them. My top priority was to work somewhere I could be successful. I then used this as a template to look for my next role. 

When I was approached about my current role I quickly realised it was a good fit for me. The people are smart and funny and don’t take themselves too seriously. The company has a good reputation in the market and has a global presence. The role covers an area I am already familiar with as well as gives me opportunities to try new things. 

If you’re thinking of moving to a smaller company, or moving jobs at all, my advice would be the same: 

  • Work out what you want from your next role (if you don’t know what you want, how can you know what to look for?).

  • Consider when you have been successful and happy in a role. What made you successful, was it the people around you or the work you did? Were those the things that also made you happy?

  • Look at what’s making you consider a move and make sure the prospective company can offer you what you’re looking for.

  • Work out what’s important to you and make sure the role and company you are considering offer that to you (do not compromise on this!). 

  • Do your homework. I cannot stress this enough, do background checks on the company and the people you will be working with. 

  • Make sure the company can provide what you need to do your job (technology, administrative support, marketing, databases etc.).

  • Follow your gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t but at the same time be logical. Work out why it doesn’t feel right and go back and investigate that.

No matter how hard you work or how talented you are you will struggle if the circumstances and the people you work with are not conducive to success, regardless of the size of the company. 

Ultimately size doesn’t matter, you do. 

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