Larger organisations have the resources to pay their employees higher salaries. They also have the ability to extend better insurance policies to their employees, as well as offer other big-business perks like retirement plans, more paid vacation time, and consistent opportunities for advancement. Yet, despite all of these benefits that employees care about, smaller companies beat out big business when it comes to employee engagement. 

Studies show that firms with fewer employees — less than 25 workers, to be exact — have teams that are 41 percent more engaged than businesses with more employees. Why is that? You would think that higher salaries and better benefits would motivate employees to do better work, right? 

Employees don’t work harder because of perks; they work harder when they have purpose,

and purpose cannot be bought — it must be developed.

Nothing short of complete transparency

Small to mid-sized companies face more uncertainties than their larger counterparts, and most people don’t fare well when confronted with the unknown. To keep morale up, many leaders will disguise issues so as not to upset their employees. However, these cover-ups end up creating a culture of distrust. Employees want honesty above all else, and extending that transparency to them is a way to include them in the business. Hubspot even calls their employees “insiders” and allows them access to pertinent information about the company’s future before anyone else. When you share your company’s purpose with employees, they will be more purpose-driven as a result.

Recognize everyone’s sacrifices

Working for an SMB can be challenging. Employees may be asked to work longer hours to catch up on work or may be asked to tackle assignments that are out of their typical scope. This is just a necessary part of the job, but these sacrifices wouldn’t be worth the reward if an employee didn’t care about the company they work for. When you notice these sacrifices, make it known. 90 percent of employees say they are willing to stick out the toughest parts of their job for an empathetic leader.

Know when to get involved and when to step back

Employees like to form relationships with their employers, which is possible when you have a smaller team. Get out on the floor, hold more face-to-face meetings, and get to personally know the people who work hard day in and day out for your company. However, there is a difference between being an involved CEO versus being a micromanager. When you know your employees, you know when to leave them to their own devices. Inspire their purpose, but then let them run with it.