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Most people know the major differences between a Small Medium Micro Enterprise (SMME) and a corporate company. In most cases, a corporate is a much larger organisation that often has a multinational presence, whereas an SMME typically has fewer employees and operates on a much smaller scale.
The other major difference is with how the company is run. In an SMME, the owners of the company are usually heavily involved in managing it. A corporation, on the other hand, can have many hundreds of owners (i.e. shareholders), many of whom aren’t involved in its day-to-day running.

But an SMME and a corporation also differ in several other areas, which affect that business’ strategy and goals, and therefore the type of work environment it offers its employees. Here are five key differences:

1. Culture

Because a corporation is likely to have a more formal structure in terms of processes and procedures, this is likely to make the company culture more formal as well. There are pros and cons to this: while a formal structure can help give employees more structure and security, a culture that is too formal can make employees feel stifled and pigeonholed.
With an SMME, there are far fewer people to manage, so things like work procedures, reporting structures, appraisals and even work attire and meeting formats tend to be more flexible and informal.

2. Customer service

Large corporates usually employ hundreds or even thousands of people. If that business deals with customers, there’s a good chance the customer will deal with more than one employee throughout the sales and retention cycle. In contrast, a smaller business can have a strategic advantage in this area by providing a more personal service to clients. For example, the business could assign one account manager to a client who is personally involved with them anytime they need to interact with the business.

3. Flexibility

A large corporate usually has lots of moving parts, from departments and employees to offerings and procedures. To deal with these, there are often complex systems in place to keep things running smoothly. Unfortunately, these systems often mean that employees have less room to be flexible. An SMME is different, because it is small enough to give employees room to move in terms of how they get a particular job done, without negatively impacting the whole. For example, an employee in a smaller business may be able to offer off-the-cuff discounts to a potential customer, whereas an employee in a larger company may not have the authorisation to do this.

4. Roles and responsibilities

In a large corporate, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, so as an employee you tend to be well supported in terms of management assistance, mentors and training programmes. You’ll also likely be focused in a much more specific area of expertise, which means you can develop your skills as a specialist. In an SMME, roles are far less defined, and you’re more likely to be doing many different things in a given day, from sales and account management to stock reconciliation and invoicing. This can be refreshing for an employee, as it means their days are never monotonous, and they’re able to expand their repertoire of skills at the same time. But on the other hand, it can also mean it’s difficult for employees to meet objectives that aren’t defined or that keep changing.

5. Resources

A large corporate usually has serious investment resources behind it – so there’s more money to spend on things like staff salaries, equipment, technology and things like training and coaching. This benefits corporate employees, as they can upskill themselves and have good support in terms of things like training and equipment. SMMEs are usually on a tighter budget, which may mean fewer resources. However, things are changing: these days, the cost of things like smartphones, laptops, online training courses and even accounting packages are drastically reducing, which makes them increasingly affordable even in a small company.

It’s clear that the corporate and the SMME are two very different animals. Both have their pros and cons for employees in terms of salaries, technical resources, job satisfaction and flexibility. Whether you’re in one or the other isn’t as important as making sure you offer the best possible working environment you can to your employees within your given constraints. If you can do this, you’ll be better able to retain good employees – which is always a good thing for your bottom line.

Provided by Fedhealth.
Strategy / Sustainability

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