The latest U.S. census data revealed that a whopping 92% of our nation’s businesses are small businesses (less than 20 employees). As an HR or payroll professional, it is probably inevitable that you will have an option to work in one for a small business at some point in your career. The one caveat being that many of these small businesses don’t carry HR and/or payroll professionals.
The key question is – does working for a small business suit you, your temperament, and where you are in your career. Let’s take a look at some factors to consider.
Experience – A job at a small business can teach you HR and payroll skills at a rapid pace as you will likely be put in a position to do it all. A year in a small business may be (like dog years) worth multiple years in a corporate HR or payroll position. However, if you are fresh out of school or have little or no experience – entering a situation with limited or no mentorship could be setting yourself up for failure. Even if you do succeed, you may develop some bad habits and be ill equipped to advance into corporate life.
Training – as mentioned above, if you are new to the HR or payroll world, don’t expect training or mentorship at a small company. You will likely have to search out opportunities outside the organization and in some cases, you will be the one footing the bill for these experiences.
Structure – Do you need it? Small businesses are not great homes for HR and payroll professionals that cannot be flexible and roll with the punches. If you need procedures and policies that are typically adhered to, whether they are yours or someone else’s… think twice before taking a payroll or HR position with a small company. On the other hand, if you are a rare payroll or HR professional that can take or leave policies and procedures when appropriate, maybe this is the place for you.
Your “Spirit” – Not every small business makes it. In fact, many don’t. Joining a small business can be extremely exciting and rewarding, but make sure you can handle risk in your life. The entrepreneurial company is not for everyone.
Your Appetite for “Upside” – Joining a startup can be financially rewarding in both the short and long term, even for the payroll or HR professional. Your salary and equity options may be higher. However – don’t be surprised if health coverage and other benefits are not as good. If you have a family that needs healthcare your extra pay may be gobbled up through purchasing your own coverage.
Whether you are looking for your next HR or payroll opportunity at a large or small organization, make sure we have your resume because if it is open in HR or payroll – there’s a good chance we’re looking to fill it.