Employing Only a Handful

I wrote about the benefits of working for smaller companies. But what’s it like from the employer’s perspective to have a smaller number of staff members?

Everyone Has a Hat Rack

Each employee in a smaller company wears multiple hats—and the company welcomes any of them to pitch in everywhere they can. This means the people working in a small firm—including the CEO/owner/employer—work as an intensely connected team.

Little Opportunity to Socialize

Wearing multiple hats means running one-minute miles. We never have as much time to hang out and chat on a personal level as we'd like to have. And as a great deal of my job requires me to interact with the public outside the office, I find this especially true for me.

Limited Intense Collaboration

I’ve teamed up with every person at FrogDog for one project or another. And we collaborate constantly. Yet I don't work side-by-side with any given one of them as much as I’d like. Our size and our multiple roles means no two people work completely in tandem throughout the course of any one project. We jump in and out as needed.

What Redundancy?

When someone goes on vacation or takes a position elsewhere, we scramble. We need every person we have. In some cases, no one else on the regular team has the skills to fill in. Being down one staff member causes intense stress.

All In

Holiday parties. Brainstorming meetings. Strategy sessions. Everyone gets involved. Otherwise, someone feels left out.

As an employer, five people attending a meeting that three would have served means precious resources wasted. Yet often the greater company-cultural good means overlooking inefficiencies.

Every Ripple a Wave

Division-only incidents don’t exist. If something falls apart somewhere, everyone knows about it—and quickly. Absolute, company-wide disruption.

Also, as changes to smaller pools have much bigger effects, adding and subtracting staff alters the entire company dynamic. This creates a definite danger zone that makes smaller companies much slower and more cautious to hire than larger corporations.

Are you an employer at a smaller company? What’s your take?

P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to know about businesses or workplaces from the employer’s perspective?