How to Compete with Bigger Employer Brands - Glassdoor for Employers

How Small Companies Can Compete with Larger Companies' Employer Brands

The lure of a fully equipped gym or access to yoga classes can be strong for job seekers on the hunt for new company soil in which to plant their career flag. Other big-company benefits include opportunities for advancement, salary increases and better insurance options. Job seekers also may feel they can build a stronger resume working at a big company, garnering more audacious metrics—working with multimillion- or even, -billion-dollar budgets versus tens or hundreds of thousand-dollar budgets. 

While the above are appealing benefits, small companies offer as many—or more—qualities that not only compete with, but in some instances, outcompete their larger peers. Not only that, but small businesses represent approximately 95% of all U.S. companies and provide jobs for around half of U.S. employees. It would seem, therefore, that small business brands begin their advantage with the sheer hiring power they exude. 

Parlaying the advantages of your small-business brand to potential candidates in advance of your need to hire is one way to reinforce your recruiting efforts. If you are a small company, consider how exuding the following five brand qualities can help you attract winning candidates to your door.

1. Agility 

While larger companies often are mired in the process and paperwork of bureaucracy when it comes to making a change, smaller companies have the dexterity to move quickly. Often, front-line workers are in direct communication with the CEO or owner and can get the green light to move on a project or other initiative in hours or days versus weeks or even months.

As well, departmental hoops and oversight often are more flexible or even nonexistent. For example, when a small company determines to initiate a transformation, such as a corporate rebrand of their message, they can get right on it. Making sweeping changes to the logo, mission, messaging and such at their own pace versus having to run it by a far-flung corporate marketing machine every point of the way has its advantages.

This agility appeals to candidates seeking to make a quick and immediate impact on their target company versus getting involved in the day-to-day slog that often feels stifling and demotivating.

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2. Growth

It seems endless opportunities for job promotions avail themselves in large enterprises because there may be numerous locations, divisions, departments, etc. However, the downside is the robust and often obtrusive human resources procedures that complicate and/or elongate the promotion process. For example, some big companies require employees work a certain period of time in one position in order to be considered for that next-level promotion. As well, that next-level promotion may require a transfer to a new city, state or even country, and perhaps that isn’t a fit for the employee’s work-life goals. 

On the other hand, a small business often is rooted in a home base versus employees and locations being spread out across the country. It typically is less bogged down in such stringent HR rules, and hiring managers can make an in-the-moment decision to promote an employee to the next level. One day, an employee is an entry-level customer service representative working the phones to calm disgruntled clients, and the next they are an outside sales representative shaking hands and closing deals with big spenders.

Moreover, with the overall intimacy of a smaller company, it’s not unlikely for an executive assistant to become a management leader in short order, based on their immersion in day-to-day operations.

3. Variety of Duties

In a larger company, employees often are required to focus in on very specific tasks in a narrower area of expertise. While this initially may be appealing for some who seek to gain expertise in a certain area, for others it can be limiting and boring. After a while, such a narrow role may become repetitive and intellectually uninspiring.

However, a smaller company may task an employee to write product copy for the website one day, show a customer around the showroom the next day and conclude the week by ordering cookies and mugs for their favorite customers.

Moreover, because the staff often is leaner, the absence of any one employee often means others pitch in to fill the void, further enabling a more diverse set of roles and responsibilities.

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4. Proximity to Ownership

The layers of people and space between most workers and their top executives at a global enterprise are multitudinous. Whether you have to hop a jet or move through 30 layers of protocol to get to your senior people, the trek generally is onerous, if you can get to them at all.

However, at a small company, each employee likely can converse with the senior leadership regularly, if not daily. If an employee spawns an idea, they can walk into the owner’s office to make a pitch. If they are unhappy with their current role or a situation that only top leadership can address, they are liberated from the political quagmire associated with larger corporations.

5. Employees Can Create Their Own Roles

Many small companies recognize they don’t know or have it all and are open to those talented go-getters to help propel the company to the next level. A smart, solutions-focused employee can use their unique talents to bridge gaps in productivity, customer care, quality, profits or whatever. This openness also enables ambitious talent to write their own ticket, create their own roles and nimbly elevate their value in synchronicity with the company’s upward trajectory.

Get the word out to future hires, maximizing the value of your small-company benefits. There are numerous ways to market your employer brand in real time. If you haven’t already, leverage the power of social networking, employee advocates and a Glassdoor free employer account

Manage your brand, increase your visibility and cultivate a more robust pipeline of qualified candidates.

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