What matters most to employees at small businesses?  

Employees at small businesses

Small businesses often have a unique culture and work environment compared to larger corporations. While they may not offer the same benefits or resources, they do have their own advantages that employees like. Understanding what matters most to employees at small businesses is highly crucial so you can foster productivity, loyalty, and engagement amongst employees. In this blog, we will be discussing key factors that small business employees value.  

Key factors that small business employees value 

In smaller businesses, it’s much easier to gain an understanding of what matters most to your employees as there are fewer people to manage. Therefore, you should act on these key factors to be able to maintain employee satisfaction.  

Personal connection and collaboration   

Unlike larger companies, small businesses offer a more intimate work environment where employees may feel less like a small cog in a big machine. Employees value this opportunity as it allows them to build personal connections with colleagues and managers. Collaboration is often easier amongst smaller teams, fostering teamwork and a supportive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and included.  

Opportunities for growth and development   

Small businesses provide employees unique opportunities for growth and development within the company. With fewer roles and fewer people working in a team, employees often take on more diverse responsibilities. This allows employees to grow continuously as they learn and develop their skills beyond just their role. This enables employees to advance their careers within the company. Having a chance to advance their careers and take on leadership roles as the company grows is highly valued by employees.   

Recognition and appreciation  

Recognition and appreciation are also highly valued at small businesses. Individual contributions are more visible in smaller settings, leading to more personalised forms of recognition. Whether this be a simple thank you from a manager or acknowledgement in a team meeting, employees appreciate recognition for their efforts, which creates a sense of value and contribution to the company’s success. This can also relate to them advancing in their career path through your company as employees who get the opportunities for advancement feel the recognition for their contributions to the company’s success has paid off and will continue to prove their capabilities.  


Flexibility and work-life balance are high priorities for employees at small businesses, more so now than ever. By allowing employees to have more say over their work schedules and arrangements, you’re allowing them to better balance their professional and personal lives. Having this flexibility leads to increased job satisfaction and loyalty; employees begin to feel slightly empowered as they can manage their own time effectively, increasing productivity.  

Stability and job security  

While small businesses may face uncertainties, employees often appreciate the stability and job security they provide. The close-knit nature of small teams fosters a sense of trust and transparency, reducing fears about layoffs and restructuring.   

Trust and belonging  

Employees are often offered more chances to make decisions and take ownership of their projects in small businesses. This sense of trust and independence fosters creativity, initiative and job satisfaction. Moreover, in a small business, you often feel a family-like culture where employees feel supported, valued and cared for. This sense of belonging creates a supportive environment where employees can professionally and personally thrive. Trust and belonging in an environment allow employees to feel supported and independent, further enhancing their involvement and contributions.   

Understanding what matters most to employees at small businesses enables employers to tailor their workplace culture, policies and benefits to meet the needs and preferences of their employees. By prioritising factors such as personal connections, growth and development opportunities, recognition, flexibility, stability, trust and belonging, small businesses can create an engaging and fulfilling work environment that attracts and retains top talent.  

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