Small businesses do better in confidence, pride, and fun in the workplace. This is evidenced by the analysis of data by Great Place to Work, which is known for its namesake certifications for companies. But what do smaller organizations do better than the big players?
Great Place to Work assesses corporate work culture by questioning employees on various topics. Data from more than 24,000 employees in 189 organizations around the world with average scores of seven or higher was analyzed to obtain a confidence index.
This shows that small organizations perform better in terms of trust, pride and pleasure than medium and large organizations and multinational corporations. The 39 best workplaces for 2022 have also been compiled. This includes companies that score high in the Trust Index and that are featured in the Culture Survey.
ViewSonic Benelux, a supplier of monitors, projectors, and digital whiteboards, among other things, has been voted the best workplace among small businesses. The company is already small: the permanent team consists of ten people. There are also about fifteen operational staff in the office, who answer questions from clients from all over Europe, among other things.
Freedom makes employees feel more responsible
According to Frank Hoskin, Regional Director of ViewSonic Benelux, everyone is having a good time because of the open culture. “We share everything with each other. In addition, everyone is appreciated. You sometimes hear that employees don’t dare express themselves, but that’s not the case with us at all.”
Associate and Marketing Director Anne Laurine Stadermann says there is also great confidence in the workplace. “Everyone is responsible for their own store and we don’t check on each other.”
In addition, there is confidence that everyone will get their work done. “I have three young children, everyone understands that when I’m busy with the family. Or if I want to exercise in between, that’s also possible. Frank gives a good example of this. His schedule simply states: ‘Take the dog to the groomer.'” This freedom makes everyone feel more responsible, says Hosken. “That’s why we all work equally hard.”
Stadermann deliberately chose to work for a smaller company. She knows how things can go with the big guys. “I’ve worked in a big company, where I’ve been allowed to make fewer decisions myself. Here I feel more entrepreneurial. I’m more creative that way and that makes it so much fun.”
Keeping people happy with extras doesn’t work
This is exactly why small businesses get better results, says Wencke Ester-Lorber, commercial director at Great Place to Work. “Larger companies usually have been around for a little longer, and the top-down approach to management is more common there. The top determines how employees do it. But with empathetic leadership and understanding, you can get a lot done. We see that culture is better judged under The shadow of these kinds of leaders.”
But how do you know if the culture is good? You can tell this from a number of things, says Ester-Lorber. If there is a lot of gossip and everyone is suddenly quiet when the boss passes by, you already know that things are not going well. “You also see that many companies like to keep employees happy with extras, like table tennis tables. That’s nice, but once the boss passes, the employees stop playing table tennis. And the good boss joins in.”
“It looks like you can buy employees with that, just like a good salary.”
Wencke Ester-Lorber, Commercial Director Great Place to Work
Ester-Lorber is surprised, however, at the number of perks organizations offer to attract employees. “Looks like you can buy employees with that, just like a good salary. That’s great of course, but would that employee still want to stay after a few months if the culture isn’t right?”
However, it’s never too late to change your work culture, she says. It starts with knowing what’s going on and not closing your eyes to it. “Be open about what kind of culture you have. But you don’t change something like that overnight. It’s not in vain that they say: Confidence comes by foot and is by horseback.”
Hosken is also aware of this. “Now we’re number one, but staying on top is verse number two. We keep doing what we feel comfortable with and hopefully keep.”