6 things to expect when moving from a small to big company!

It’s another year and I hope all my readers had a great holiday season. It’s that time of the year where you can see blog posts with New Year resolutions and expectations everywhere. I’m not a big believer in these resolutions as most of us know that these resolutions are short lived and just by a change in the year in your calendar nothing big is going to happen. If you want to do something new or make something happen, you need to constantly try for it, irrespective of if it’s 31st Dec’15 or 1st Jan’16.That is my take on it, not to offend anyone with new year resolutions and have the motivation to make them happen. I told you this just to give a heads up that my first post in the New Year has nothing to do with the typical “New Year Stuff”.

Recently I met a very smart HR lady who shared one of her experiences with me. She was the HR manager of a small organization with around 100 employees for some years. She really enjoyed her work there and the company in general. It was then she got this big opportunity and moved into a large multinational organization with better package, perks and benefits. She joined with great expectations, but things did not turn out good for her. She worked there for a couple of months, but quit that and joined back her previous organization at the first chance itself.

So what went wrong in her case? This is a typical scenario of an employee moving from a small organization to a big one and could not survive. Different families work in different ways, so is the case of organizations especially when there is a huge difference in the size. I thought it’s worth discussing a few points that as employees we need to keep in mind while moving from a small to a large organization. Some of you may be looking for new opportunities in the New Year and hope this would help you.

  1. Extended Time Spans: This may be one of the first things that you notice in a large organization. Everything would take a long time to be done than smaller organizations. Higher the number of hierarchies longer the process would take. You may find this difference starting from day 1 of your onboarding, where you may have to go through different departments to get your accesses, ID cards and to complete the other onboarding formalities unlike in a small company. The key here is to understand that this is quite normal and be patient.
  2. More Process Oriented: Big companies tend to be more process oriented as it is a general requirement for good administration as the size increases. You may be used to those informal ways of doing things at your previous organization where the focus was only on getting the work done and not the how of it. Well, you need to understand that if large organizations also try to do that, the result will be utter chaos most of the time.
  3. Modes of communication: Larger organizations would have more formal ways of communication. Most of the communication has to be in the written form, mainly through emails to make them authentic. In smaller organizations, you may just drop by some one’s seat and assign taska, ask for clarifications etc. and it may still work. But having well documented communication is a must for large organizations, especially to avoid legal issues in future. There are many federal laws which are applicable to organizations with 100 or more employees only. So it becomes more of a necessity than a formality.
  4. Lack of attention: You might have been a rock star performer in your small organization and everybody in the organization would have known you. You might have had a direct sense of how your work was affecting the bottom line of the organization. Also, you may be used to handling multiple responsibilities and would have had a good reputation with the higher management. These things are not that easy in a large organization and this may be one of the major emotional setbacks for you. Suddenly you would feel the lack of that lime light and attention you were used to. You may not be able to understand how your work is adding value to the company. Getting the attention of the top management becomes a mammoth task too. This can badly affect your motivation and the engagement levels. But the point is to keep the positive attitude and focus towards who you really want to be. It is so easy to get lost in a larger crowd and you need to be careful about this initially itself.
  5. Social Circles: This is another important factor that can have a big psychological impact on you. You may be used to that close knit informal social circles in the small organization where everybody knows everyone else and there is always room for flexibilities and accommodations. It may not be the case always as the size grows. It’s not that big organizations don’t have supportive social circles, they do. But they may be a little more formal and you may take time to get into them breaking the silos. Many organizations today have buddy system or mentors for new employees to facilitate this.
  6. And finally, Culture: Regardless of the size, this is unique to each organization and you cannot expect things to work the same way as it did in your previous jobs. The values, beliefs, systems, networks and processes would be different in different organizations. It is very important for you and the organization to have a good culture fit for the relationship to work. So do some ground work on this before you join itself and check if you would be able to survive. You may not be able to find out all the nuances, but should be able to get a fair idea to take a decision. For rest of the surprises that you find after joining, the best would be to stop comparing with old ones and give it a fresh start.

This is not an exclusive list, just a few points which I think are relevant. You may add to this list by commenting below and that’s how we can make it better. Switching jobs from any company to another is a process of change and it will be successful only if you have an open mind and a readiness to take on challenges. Sticking on to old alone cannot get you anywhere. Life should be a continuous process of learning, unlearning and relearning.

Good Luck!


The Ardent HR

Photo Credit : www.knh.org.uk



  • Yes. True things happen in certain way. I have seen little bit of small part of a large company and now in a mega corp for decades. My experience is small or big if one keeps doing things differently and updating one self in all things that matter nothing matters, including the very organisation you are in. I suggest at the beginning itself it is prudent to understand the industry, the economic drivers and the specifics of the given business firm some sort of a SWOT. This should be a omnipresent and continuous application in our central processor The Mind which keeps us giving insights about anything and everything. Nevertheless a great writer is evolving amongst HR professional thinkers. Congrats for your posts.

  • KrishnapriyaNair,PHR (@TheArdentHR)

    Thank you so much for the kind words,Sir.I totally agree with your comment.Understanding the industry and economy are very important, which is something lacked by most HR professionals.And may be one of the reasons that diminishes the voice of HR in the C-suite.

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