Big Corporation or Small Business? Where do You Belong?

Use this guide to determine where your skills will be best situated

By Erin Coursey, iHire, LLC

Finding a list of top skills for HR professionals is easy; just a few minutes with your favorite Internet search engine will turn up hundreds of examples. While you may list these traits beside each other on your resume, however, the truth probably is that some of your qualities are naturally stronger than others.

Just like you, different organizations are more suited for particular uses of HR. So how do you find the optimal situation for your qualifications? Job fairs, interviews, and other investigations can reveal helpful information, but they are only useful for assessing individual enterprises. By first narrowing your search by basic company characteristics, you can save yourself an enormous amount of time and frustration. Get started with this guide to decide whether your proficiencies are more closely matched with HR roles in large or small businesses.                                                                                                                                                                   

Strategic Planning

Large: “big picture” thinking

  • Perceive how many individual processes and personnel contribute to huge interdisciplinary objectives
  • Determine ways to maximize each employee’s effectiveness and improve overall productivity
  • Align recruiting tactics/new hire training with large-scale business targets

Small: reallocating existing resources

  • Can more easily shift the company’s organizational configuration
  • Rearrange employees within existing structure to streamline processes and reach goals

Communication

Large: internal collaboration

  • Cooperate with countless other HR professionals within  the department
  • Interface with several other people at once
  • Maintain separate conversations with numerous coworkers for different projects

        Small: effective material/content

  • Proficiency with graphic design for written communications is a plus (avoid consultant fees)
  • Speak to the full company workforce
  • Should be comfortable interacting directly with CEOs and high-level executives

Knowledge of Business Fundamentals                         

                Large: far-reaching attributes

  • Understand how tasks of a single segment line up with broad company values/goals without interaction with highest-level management or organization’s full workforce
  • Typically involves fewer/less intensive mathematical calculations

        Small: bottom-line worth

  • Usually entails calculating business impacts for nearly every HR initiative
  • Compare budget and staff performance values to build programs/initiatives for maximum return
  • Spreadsheet/minor accounting skills may be useful

Creativity

                Large: resources without flexibility

  • Access to established training programs and many recruiting options
  • Workplace changes are difficult to initiate and may take years to fully take effect, if ever

        Small: limited funds with more freedom

  • Develop and introduce effective, low-cost training programs
  • Current policies can be changed more easily (i.e. dress code, scorecards, etc.)

Negotiation/Conflict Management/Staff Relations

                Large: political savvy

  • Interact with many different types of personalities
  • Respect existing structure/hierarchy while maintaining positive relationships with all levels

                Small: small world

  • Able to be appropriately assertive when dealing with issues involving high-level management/executives
  • Carefully maintain confidentiality policies and workplace ethics— gossip travels quickly throughout the organization

Small companies are more adaptable and easily changed, but have limited funds for outside resources. If you choose to work in this environment, you should be flexible and able to perform a wide range of HR tasks, as you will be responsible for most, if not all, of these duties.

Larger businesses, by contrast, enjoy higher budgets for programs/initiatives but are more rigid in their policies and procedures. This may be your best fit if you are especially proficient in a few select areas, since the increased HR manpower in these organizations allows individuals to focus on their strengths.

 

Sources:

Berkshire Associates Inc.– Understanding the Differences between Human Resources for Small and Large Companies

Tim Sackett– Who’s Better – Big HR or Small HR?

Community Foundations of Canada– Strategic HR Planning

Grant Tilus– Top 10 Human Resources Job Skills Employers Want to See


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