Creating a Start-Up Environment in Your Larger Organization

Creating a Start-Up Environment in Your Larger Organization

Candidates in large companies frequently mention they are interested in working for smaller organizations with less process and bureaucracy.  However, they also say they are open to moving to the smaller division of a large company.  How can you legitimately position your organization as meeting that description?

What is meant by the terms Big Pharma or Large Multinational?  Those phrases generally refer to a top 10 company within their industry; they have been around for a long time and have many employees.  Large companies have much to offer:

  • A chance to specialize
  • Opportunities to grow
  • Career development and training programs
  • A larger pool of talent from which to learn

In the job market the perception is that “small” companies are anything from a start-up to a medium-sized organization with fewer employees.  There is something to be said for the culture of a small company, one that allows for creative solutions for their teams, less process, and bureaucracy in the steps towards getting those ideas processed.

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Everyone knows that when you work for a large company you must jump through more hoops to get anything done.  However, large organizations can move toward something like a small company model by organizing into smaller divisions or units.  The advantage of divisional structure is specialization and efficiency – running an organization like a small company inside of a larger one.  Often those divisions can streamline administrative processes to empower employees and create a culture in which teams are accountable for working together across groups to get things done.

Building and promoting a positive corporate culture is one of the best ways to attract and retain top-tier employees, even if it is within a division of a large multinational firm. The culture of each division can vary widely and if you work in one that is more collaborative than another it’s important to promote that point with prospective new-hires, who may not be aware of those differences. Divisional reputation can be a competitive advantage in the labor market, but only it’s truly positive and can be expressed by members of the interview team. Some divisions have had success creating mission statements and core values that are unique to their team, and promoting them with prospective employees.

Encouraging positivity in the workplace helps build a positive team culture.  Be a good listener, lead by example by expressing gratitude, smiling, and remaining optimistic during difficult situations.  Talented individuals will always be in demand, but the commitment of an organization to invest time and money to develop their people will show up in the interview process, even in the lean times.

The benefits of a large company are many.  By creating smaller divisions with a positive and welcoming culture, along with the purpose and meaning behind your mission statement, your large company can build an atmosphere similar to a smaller organization, entice new candidates, and help retain the top talent you already have. As always, I encourage your comments and questions, and look forward to keeping in touch.

Dave Murphy
The Alpine Group

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