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Should your employee experience feel like a start-up or traditional tech firm?

06 April 2020 by Grant Brummer
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​It goes without saying that the type of organisation you work for can matter as much as the job role itself. In the tech world, there are two main competing company cultures - start-ups and traditional corporations. Both have a number of stereotypes surrounding them. For example, start-ups are thought to be young, innovative, and collaborative, while corporations are known for being slow-moving, formal and hierarchical. However, there are benefits to both when it comes to employee experience, so how do you pick between the two?

Employee experience: You may prefer a start-up if you…

Enjoy a fast-paced environment
If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment as part of your employee experience, a start-up could be for you. This means working through ambiguity, wearing multiple hats, and embracing change. Creative minds tend to thrive in a start-up environment as small companies often encourage experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking.

Embracing responsibility
Being in a start-up also means having a lot of responsibility—not only to perform your duties but also to take responsibility for the performance of the company. While this can be stressful, some individuals thrive in this high-pressure environment. Furthermore, the flexibility of a start-up brings opportunities to advance quickly.

You prefer a flat hierarchy
The flat hierarchies of most start-ups means it is usually easier to hit the ground running and make a large impact. You may very likely sit with founders in meetings and have direct access to every member of the team. In contrast, if you want to make a big change in a corporate setting, there will be layers of approval to go through: C-suite, senior leadership teams and the board, so change and advancement will happen much more slowly.

Employee experience: You may prefer a corporate if you…

Value work-life balance

If you value a work-life balance as part of your employee experience, you may be better suited to the nine-to-five corporate structure. The lines between work and home blur in a start-up. With limited resources and staff, it’s normal to work long or unusual hours. However, in a traditional corporate setting, there’s usually a more defined line between work and home.

Less pressure

With corporations, you are generally given time to train and acclimatise yourself. You probably won’t feel the immediate pressure of your job for a few months. Bigger companies usually have more people to rely on, which means one person’s performance won’t make or break the entire company. The same is not true for most start-ups – where you are immediately expected to hit the ground running, and will tend to have a large sway over whether the company is successful or not.

Prefer compensation and stability over passion

Start-up success stories may make you believe that you can get rich quick if you work for a company that takes off. However, three out of four start-ups fail. Working at new venture can be far from glamorous. In the early stages, the founders often scramble for funding and money is tight. However, at a corporation, you can often count on competitive salaries and a developed perks and benefits package, as well as the stability of being part of an established organisation.

Choosing a path

While the above may help you decide whether you’d prefer a start-up or traditional corporation, these are just rough guidelines. The truth is that start-ups and corporations aren’t mutually exclusive. You may find qualities of start-ups in large companies and vice versa. In fact, company culture is becoming crucial across the board and as it gains in importance employers of all types are taking it seriously.

Ultimately, the corporate vs start up culture clash is set to become a thing of the past when it comes to employee experience. There are many examples of how companies are changing their cultures to include elements of both worlds. What’s important is that you understand what truly motivates you, the type of environment you thrive in, and make sure you ask the right questions at interview.

At Skillfinder International we guide technology professionals to the right jobs, and help organisations navigate the world of technology talent. Find your next hire here.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos