Small businesses may not always be able to match the pay and benefits of larger companies, but new research suggests they provide their employees with something perhaps even more valuable: personal fulfillment.
A study by researchers at Baylor University found that employees of small businesses feel more loyal and committed to their employer than employees of big companies. The study, published in the journal Local Economy, was based on results of a 2010 Gallup survey and included 763 respondents who had either full- or part-time jobs. It classified small businesses as those with 1 to 49 employees.
Participants were asked to rate how emotionally attached they felt to their employer and how much personal meaning they derived from their work. Employees of small businesses should significantly more attachment to their employer than those at large companies.
About 57 percent of employees at small firms were in the highest level of commitment category, compared to 40.5 percent of large-firm employees. Local ownership also affected employee’s commitment levels: 56 percent of workers in locally owned firms had high employer commitment scores, compared to 39 percent of those working for non-locally owned companies.
The single biggest factor that affected a worker’s level of commitment was job satisfaction, the researchers noted, though local ownership also played a role—particularly among respondents in rural areas.
“When it comes to your job, it’s usually not just one thing that affects your commitment,” lead author Katie Halbesleben, a doctoral student in sociology at Baylor, said in a news release. “You may say ‘I like my boss’ or ‘I am satisfied with what I do.’ Our study re-affirms that working for a small and local company is also an important factor that contributes to a worker’s commitment.”
Small businesses also have the advantage that they can offer their employees extra perks and “soft benefits” that can make their work lives easier and more fulfilling and, in turn, breed loyalty. (There are 101 ways small companies can reward employees without handing out cash.)
Read more articles on company culture.
Photo: Getty Images