An exploration of the key factors that help small businesses to attract and retain workers: a case study of workers in small family owned restaurants.
Small businesses are businesses that are small in size in terms of their operations they are characterized by fewer employees and less annual revenue compared to large companies such as multinational’s. Small companies, however, have their own advantage as compared to the latter in that based on their small size; an enhanced personal relationship amongst employees is observed that is beneficial to the working environment that nurtures their abilities and talents.
However, multinationals take advantage of this by seeking to get individuals from small businesses through providing attractive job opportunities (Brooks, 2016). This generates a problem in operations and existence of the small-sized companies as their activities are hindered once an individual terminates his/her services.
The effect of the termination does not produce adverse business effects only but translates to the family nature of individuals in the business. This nature develops from a comrade sense of belonging to all individuals in the business from the employer to the employee. Apart from that, a majority of small businesses are also family owned, therefore, they are built on specific family values that enhance the unity of the group in coexistence (Chau & Quan, 2016).
A solution needs to be developed to prevent this exit of individuals to other larger companies. However, the first and basic step in line with this objective is to find out the benefits individuals gain by working in small businesses, these benefits are analysed in terms of why they prefer to remain in small businesses than shift camp to multinationals. Ascertaining this will expose benefits that are superior in the small businesses. This is however dependent on an individual’s desire for their career development and workplace environment. In many cases, this desire is subject to the individual’s age group and abilities (Brooks, 2016).
This paper addresses these desires in the form of benefits to employees at small businesses. The benefits rendered to them at this level ranging from job security, acknowledgement, self-worth, happiness etc. are what may be utilized to sway the employees to retain their position in the business. Other benefits may also be facilitated to increase the retaining power of small business companies.
The aim of this paper is to find out, what are the reasons that keep employees working in small businesses. Solving this will provide a solution to the current problem described in the previous section.
To facilitate the focus on this aim, a few objectives are stipulated to provide a framework of the study eliminating gaps in the study that may be left unaddressed despite being vital. These objectives are:
- To identify, through a critical review of the literature, the reasons a person would choose to work into a small business.
- To critically assess the benefits and limitations of such workers
- To evaluate the importance of motivation, including ‘happiness’ at work, and how this can be achieved
- To recommend practical tips for owners of smaller businesses, with particular reference to the family-owned restaurant sector, on how to improve staff motivation and happiness.
From these objectives, it is important to note that by covering them, benefits will be addressed, and additionally a means to improve the most vital benefits of working in small businesses such as happiness and motivation. The study will then be capped by the last objective that translates capitalizes on the findings to cater for an implementation plan of the findings through creating a guide for small businesses on the specific findings of the paper.
The paper begins by analysing research done on the current topic, based on the objectives of the study. Key objectives that this prior research has to address is the benefit of working in small-sized companies, motivation, factors that influence happiness amongst employees, and lastly how retaining of employees may be achieved (Aflac, 2017).
The review of these papers will thus develop the missing points not addressed in prior work and provide a framework that caters for these missing elements of the study. Once a framework is developed, a methodology of the study is then developed that gives a preview on how the study will be carried out from data collection to data analysis. This methodology addresses questions on the subset of the population for study the specifics of the sample size and also addresses the methods of data collection ascertaining to the study giving precise information as to why specific methods were chosen.
The next stage of this paper will be the data collection. The method of data collection chosen for this study was using questionnaires; this section would thus give an overview of the questionnaires used and different responses generated for different answers. Questionnaires provide an accurate framework of the study, as deviations from objectives are minimal. The different responses could also be grouped to provide an enhanced analysis, which would be discussed in the next chapter after data collection (Kothari & R., 2004).
The next chapter would be results and data analysis. This chapter will analyse to detail the results collected from the questionnaires handed out. The analysis will involve grouping responses together in order to generate statistics on different views and responses. The statistical tools utilized could then give an outcome of the study that addresses the objectives and any developed hypothesis in relation to the study (Agresti, Alan, & K., 2011).
The final stage would be the
conclusion; this stage finalizes the study by discussing the findings of the
study taking into account the objectives we set to address from the start. The
conclusion also provides a solution, in this case; the benefits of working in
small businesses and how they can be capitalized to retain employees,
therefore, minimizing the transition to multinationals in the long run. The
conclusion also provides steps to be taken in implementing the findings of the
study to current real-time situations in this case present small sized businesses.
Chau & Quan (2016) indicate that small business companies create a healthier environment to work in based on the fulfilment of growth and nurturing of individual talent. Many papers on the matter differentiate the common goal of small companies to multinationals based on values of the institution. They also show that small businesses form the major part of family businesses and vice versa therefore, they are built on core family values, despite the overwhelming nature of businesses to be streamlined towards business values. In this present time and age, business values are in total contrast to a majority of family values as business values largely concentrate on the end result, rather than, the process and impact of achieving the end result through specific processes (Chau & Quan, 2016).
Cunningham (2002) states that family values enhance the positive impact of the business to those involved in it that is the employee, employer and client of the business. Using such a system may, however, generate less return in some instances but provide a consistency that can be relied on over time. The current literature on small businesses does not fully analyse the benefits across the board to the specifics of how they can be utilized to enhance the retention of employees. However, further research on retention can be utilized in analyzing the benefits to provide conclusive findings on the matter.
According to Batt (2012), consumers in small companies are more oriented on the experience and become clients based on the nature of service delivery in terms of quality and efficiency. For multinational, companies, on the other hand, their consumers are more oriented towards the availability of a variety of products. Consumers oriented towards service delivery are more keen to details, as to these, they are more particular to specific values, that is why they choose specific small businesses that cater to their needs (Batt, 2012). Therefore, according to Batt (2012) owners of a small business have to maintain their specific culture and values as it may deep into their returns. To achieve these small business companies heavily rely on their employees to facilitate a conditioned environment to achieve their objectives. In doing so, a number of benefits arise that are positive to all parties involved. The employer has the obligation to nature the employee talent and abilities for the growth of the company while providing a comfortable environment utilizing a number of initiative that boosts the performance of the individual.
In the long run, Brook (2016) states that the individual becomes highly qualified in skill and values that are necessary for the success of any business. He says, the multinational companies take advantage of this by swooping in to attract these individuals and acquire their specialized form of labour at the expense of the small companies. However, just as the surrounding conditions of a plant affect its ability to flourish, the environment of small businesses and multinationals are very different and the individual on transit to the multinationals will experience a change that may affect their values and talents at the expense of the success of the new organization (Brooks, 2016).
According to Cunningham (2002), based on age groups and values different individuals seek different outcomes from employment this drives them to pursue different ventures. This makes individuals adapt to a temporary form of employment as they wait for their desired opportunity to avail itself. However, despite their grasp on this form of behaviour, it really has a great negative impact on small business owners; this is because the level of investment by employers in small businesses to their employees is very great in the aspects of time, costs, support some of which is unrecoverable. When the employee shifts, a great loss is experienced in the business while the employee’s value is usually higher than what it was at inception to the organization. This creates a need to provide an efficient workspace that is more desirable and has a greater retaining capacity to employees inhibiting the move to multinationals by either desire or approach.
Robert Walters (2016) clearly outlines that, the first step in achieving this, is understanding the different needs of the employed population based on abilities and age groups. He also indicates that, that the millennial form the larger part of the employment population. Thus, the employer needs to understand the different nature of their local population. Based on the example of the millennial generation one can note that this generation is keen to technology, thus for one, your business has to utilize modern forms of technology this advancement will also increase the efficiency of operations in the business. He also indicates that millennial also want to be guaranteed career progression from inception to the company, in line with this they want training to be facilitated that boost their skills and certification (Robert Walters, 2016).
This was just but a glimpse of the aspects specific employment groups seek for in employment opportunities. However, small businesses utilize an enhanced form of diversification as each role in the enterprise is tailored to specific individuals with the ability to perform them efficiently, based on this a commonality has to be achieved on benefits that are achievable across the board and still maintain the break-even point of the organization (Chau & Quan, 2016).
According to Kennedy (2013), employment is a means to cater for once needs and desires in life, it, therefore, provides security for the well-being of an individual. Based on this research shows that Job security is an important benefit for each and every employee, this is, therefore, a common factor that has to be addressed in small businesses. He shows that small businesses provide a greater form of job security than multinationals, this is due to their ability to surpass different harsh economic times. They do so by taking fewer risks in their practices this enhances their consistency but limits their growth. Many small businesses, particularly those that are family owned; are keener on sustainability rather than growth this is because the business is intended to surpass several generations of the family, as it is a livelihood for the family. Sustainability through different economic conditions requires taking a minimal risk. However, a conflict of interest arises as individuals still require growth, but the big question comes about, what is more important, growth or job security?
Chau and Quan (2016) indicate that, apart from this hindrance in growth, for family-owned firms, growth for outsiders is also hindered as leadership positions are mostly reserved for family members this affects the ability of the company to retain an employee in the event of other jobs being availed. This also puts the company in a limited position, as not all family members have the same thoughts for the company as they may be forced to take leadership position they never desired, thus leading to the company’s downfall. Leadership or higher positions should be availed to everyone and a method that enhances the integrity of the firm utilized to select respective individuals for positions based on experience and abilities.
According to Cunningham (2002), employees require an encouraging environment so as to boost their overall environment. An encouraging environment leads to a boost in employee morale and at the same time provide happiness to the individual that is a healthy emotional factor that is important to the well-being of any individual.
Research shows (Chau & Quan, 2016) that many employees are pleased in seeing the impact of the fruits of their labour first hand. Multinationals do not provide this form of an environment to all their employees this is because production is in units and those in a position to see first-hand the fruits of the process are those close to the last stages of production. However, in small businesses, the environment is close-knit and the impact of once effort can be seen almost immediately this creates a feeling of sense worth to the business in realizing the importance of your role in the company. Realizing that you are important gives you morale in achieving your day-to-day roles and obligations, at the same time it enhances your efficiency and the ability of the organization to rely on you. Reliability is a key attribute for any employee to the company this is because one can be counted upon to do what is required at the right time and to their best, this creates a smooth flow of activities in the organization.
Brook (2016), translates this evidence into an aspect of attracting employee in that many individuals seek to work in a place where their effort can be observed (Brooks, 2016); this gives them a sense of belonging to the organization one that they can be associated with for their effort. In multinationals, their basis of attracting individuals is based on their superiority in their specific field as an organization and not based on individual employee efforts. Many individuals shifting base from small companies to multinational companies depict that they prefer the recognition that comes about from working for a major. Therefore, small companies should capitalize on effort recognition that may match up to this level of recognition. Employees would be therefore left to decide, what is better effort recognition or company recognition?
2.5 Employee happiness
Being happy and having a feeling of being important also arises from recognition by the employer. Small businesses being close-knit the employer is in the same environment as the employees and a one on one interaction is achievable whereby the employer can observe how different individual does tasks (Aflac, 2017). The Aflac (2017) indicates that this creates personalized supervision that enhances productivity and specialization of individual abilities of the employees. In the long run, in the event of good work, the employer definitely recognizes the effort almost immediately boosting the morale of the individual in real-time and enhancing the happiness of the individual. In multinational’s the employees do not closely interact with the employer based on the different level of management. Appraisals are therefore not very common and if they take place, it is under a thorough analysis of the individual’s duties that may occur at a yearly interval, the overall impact of the exercise is therefore not quite impactful as to that of small businesses (Aflac, 2017).
According to Cunningham (2002), other appraisal techniques currently utilised to boost the morale of employees is reward schemes associated with the performance of individuals such as bonuses or commissions. Public acknowledgement and recognition of individual with good performance also make others be keen on their roles and achieve this position of recognition, as it is desirable for any individual in the company. In the long run, a rise in pay or position is inevitable.
The most common advantage depicted in current papers on small businesses is the nature of comradeship or closeness of individuals in the business (Aflac, 2017). Many employees do not just like to be seen or referred to as a business unit this depicts them as replaceable at any point with no impact to the organization at all. However, employees are also human and to this, they are social and emotional beings, therefore, this need has to be facilitated (Aflac, 2017). Small businesses address almost all emotional and social needs through this close-knit workplace family setting. Major small businesses based on family values enhance the relationship between employees or between the employer and employees (Chau & Quan, 2016). It caters for issues that employees may face and creates a support system to address them. Being in such an environment is very positive to anyone; catering for this aspect an individual’s life is also healthy to both the individual and the productivity of the business.
According to Batt (2012), another benefit from past research, associated with small businesses is the ability of employees to be creative as the workspace enhances freedom of creativity that is acceptable to the employee’s abilities and talents. This enables employees to be innovative without restrictions especially due to the fact their efforts will be recognized and there is at the same time encouraged, a majority of small businesses are always oriented towards growth through innovation and modification of practice (Batt, 2012). Multinationals, on the other hand, are limiting towards innovation, as changes towards processes are costly due to overheads. Growth is also achieved through expansion and increase in productivity; therefore, they strive to maintain current systems and are fluid to change after a very long time.
Despite all these benefits, the current study shows that small business owners are poor in retaining their employees in the event of job offers from multinational companies to their employees. This is attested to the fact that they have poor handling initiatives put in place to address such situations or in some instances none at all. Small businesses view it as a competition they cannot win as the multinationals utilize their deep pockets and money being a great factor in employment they predict the individual will easily transit to the company. However based on this benefits research shows that small companies can utilise their abilities to retain their workers in such events (Brooks, 2016).
A conclusion of one of the papers suggests that a current system should be put in play that analyses the proposals offered to their employees and also carry out an interview with an employee before their exit seeking to know their reason for termination and changes that could lead to retaining of their services.
Other papers suggest the problem in retaining is inevitable based on the improper mode of recruitment, in that since small businesses do not have a human resource department and the employer forms’ the basic unit of this department. He or she does not accurately utilize staff planning in generating a job requirement and description, the method of hiring is thus informal and specifications are not set at go. This becomes a challenge in retaining an individual whose position is not clearly defined.
Current research, however, does not bring the light on how the issue of attraction and retaining can be addressed to achieve a common solution. This paper seeks to address the benefits in context and others that may arise in an attempt on enhancing the employee experience at small business companies thereby utilizing this as an aspect of retaining more workers. This solution has not been analysed in present material, therefore, it poses as a positive development in addressing this issue, and since it capitalizes on the benefits, the overall productivity and returns of the small businesses will be increased in the long run.
The themes displayed in this section play an active role in the research process, as they project on key areas of the study that need to be addressed. The research is based on a small business that is family-owned, thus, it generates vital key issues associated in a family business majority of which are positive and just a pinch of negativity. This is addressed in the PwC and Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry paper (Chau & Quan, 2016), that critically analyses the benefits associated with small businesses from growth characteristics, succession, family values that attribute to happiness and harmony in the workplace environment.
The Aflac report on happiness (Aflac, 2017); also has constructive information from surveys about the factors that influence happiness in small businesses. The report gives statistics on the current benefits ascertaining to working in small businesses based on responses. 27% liked the flexible scheduling, 23% liked witnessing the fruits of their labour, 17% liked their input being recognized, 14% liked the rewards for their hard work, 9% liked their efforts being noticed by people who matter, 6% broadening their skill set and 4% something else (Aflac, 2017). This was further analysed as a wholesome in the aspect of the benefits; 67% of employees said that they loved working in small businesses because of the appreciation while 83% said because it fitted with their career plan (Aflac, 2017). These figures were further analysed in accordance to the percentage of happiness in their lives is influenced by the small businesses and only 9% said that all of their happiness resulted from working there, 43% some of their happiness and 39% most of their happiness. From these figures, a room for improvement needs to be fully catered for as 72% of people in the survey suggested that improvement on benefits would increase their happiness (Aflac, 2017).
aspects of the two studies provide a framework that can be utilized for the
study one would be; surveys on the benefits and factors that influence
happiness in the current sample size for the study. Achieving this will shade
light on the statistics on employees in small businesses catering for an
additional factor of being family owned. The improvement on benefits should
also be explored to provide a solution on how the level of happiness can be
improved as stated in the objectives, nevertheless an improvement in happiness
levels would also affect the retaining factor of the small business. Utilizing
these aspects will guide the appropriate methodology to be utilized for the
study based on the already stated variables of the research.
This chapter consists of the research methodology put in place to carry out this research, it takes into account the research process, research methods implemented with a consideration of their effectiveness, data analysis and collection methods. All these factors put into consideration address the methodology used in place to achieve conclusive results for this research validating the respective objectives put into place.
Research philosophy is the basis of the first step in adapting to a specific research methodology based on the context of the research onion (Saunders, NK, & Lewis, 2012); the outermost layer that helps narrow down the research methodology to be implemented is the research philosophy. In association to this study, two philosophies are viable for the study that is positivism and interpretivism.
A positivist is guided by set objectives in the aim of observing and describing a reality. This possibility is guided by the fact that they believe that observing the world in a neutral and objective way may lead to the discovering of various relationships and laws associated with phenomena that can be tested.
An Interpretivist, on the other hand, bases their theory on observing differences in the roles of social actors such as human beings. Understanding roles from this perspective builds on interpretations that end up being subjective in nature. Due to this nature, this research philosophy utilizes a qualitative approach to acquire the necessary data.
Based on the set objectives of this study the positivist approach would guide the study to concentrate on specific objectives thereby, ensuring the study is to detail and focused on the important matter at hand. The interpretivism approach is very open, thus it would not lead to a detailed conclusion of the matter at hand. Based on the preciseness of the set objectives that is built around happiness of workers in small businesses the positivist approach proves to be best.
Once the research philosophy is determined, the next step is to define the approach used for research. Generally, there exist two methods of approach that is Deductive approach and Inductive approach. The deductive approach utilizes a means of approaching the study from a general perspective while refining the ideas to a more specific directive. This approach begins by developing a theory, then later on associating a hypothesis to the theory and making the requisite objectives to confirm or reject the hypothesis.
The Inductive approach, on the other hand, utilizes an opposite approach of the above method, that is, it begins with a specific perspective and moves on to a general perspective. This approach begins by making an observation, finding patterns in the observation based on similarities or differences, and then later on developing a hypothesis, that validates your findings. Lastly, a theory is developed based on the formulated hypothesis (Saunders, NK, & Lewis, 2012).
This study is best suited to an inductive approach since this study is concerned with objectives such as retaining employees or determining their levels or factors contributing to their happiness in small business. As you can note these objectives are specific, yet we need to ascertain them using a wider approach that brings to light greater observations concerned with these objectives. Based on this account the inductive approach will enable us to make the necessary observations, create patterns associated with them and give as a conclusive finding based on the hypothesis.
The research strategy provides the framework for conducting the real part of the research. Strategy by definition is a plan put in place to carry out a certain procedure, in this case, the research process. A strategy is composed of three specific requisites, that is, a goal for the process, a procedure put in place to achieve the desired results and techniques that govern how the procedures are carried out.
From the research onion (Saunders, NK, & Lewis, 2012), several strategies are associated with research these are survey studies, case studies, experiments, action research and design research. Based on the nature of this study two methods out of the five may be conversant with this study that is, survey studies and case studies. By definition, survey studies deal with finding patterns in data, while case studies deal with studying characteristics associated with a real-life instance.
Case studies begin by selecting an instance of study then collecting data pertaining to it, and analyzing it in a systematic way. Lastly, develop a conclusion through understanding the characteristics of the instance, Surveys, on the other hand, begins with the collection of data from a large group in an organized and systematic way, and then, later on, evaluate this data using statistical methods. After this, the results are analysed and interpreted to identify patterns in the findings then lastly the patterns are interpreted to provide conclusive results of the study. Both studies utilize similar techniques such as questionnaires, interviews and observations that fall under the inductive approach.
However, as you may not, the survey strategy is more detailed and creates room for carrying out a study from a wider perspective so as to achieve conclusive results from a large sample size. From this, this method is most viable for this study.
Based on the research method and approach a qualitative technique is more viable to pursue this study. This is because it retains the objectivity of the study by addressing specific laws of behaviour, in this case, the benefit of working in small businesses to the specifics of factors that contribute to the happiness of employees in small businesses. Quantitative research technique reaches out to more individuals providing efficient statistics for the rationale of the study (Kothari & R., 2004).
Since the method of data collection is through structured surveys this adapts to a quantitative approach with less room for unstructured interviews, a qualitative technique is inapplicable as it adapts to an enhanced creativity and freedom of the interview process. The difference between the two methods is expressed in the table below:
|Qualitative Techniques||Quantitative Techniques|
|Concerned with a dynamic reality of things||Concerned with a fixed and measurable reality of facts|
|Data is in the form pictures and objects||Data is in the form of numbers and statistics|
|Researcher does not clearly know what he/she is looking for||Researcher knows what he or she is looking for|
|Researcher is responsible for gathering the data||Researcher uses tools to collect data such as questionnaires|
|The design of the study emerges as the research process continues||The research process is already defined in all aspects even before data collection begins|
Table 3 1 Comparison of qualitative and quantitative techniques
Data collection is a very important aspect of research as it is the hub of data within the methodology. Several methods are viable for collecting data based on the research approach and strategy stipulated in the previous sections. These methods range from questionnaires, observations and interviews. Interviews are more detailed but require a lot of time thus are limiting to a research that is required to collect a lot of data however it is a very accurate procedure that falls under qualitative methods thus for this study it will develop certain complexities. Observations, on the other hand, are not associative to this kind of study as feedback is required from the participators and since interactions are wide, a variety complexities may arise.
Questionnaires utilize a set of questions divided into two sections one dealing with the demographics of the study, that is details on the nature of the respondent in line with age, family, gender etc. the other section stipulates the specific questions concerned with the study. The questionnaires can be administered to different people at the same time, therefore, broadening the reach of respondents for the study. It also facilitates easier analysis of data collected and specifics that make it easier to establish patterns using statistical tools.
The use of questionnaire proves to be the best viable option for this study. The questions develop were in accordance with the objectives of the study and themes generated in the previous chapter. The main themes addresses were benefits associated with working in small businesses, factors that contribute to the happiness of employees in small businesses and benefits that can improve the level of happiness in small businesses. The questionnaire also ends with open questions that incorporate views that fall out of the provided choices in the aspect of retaining of employees in small businesses.
The first questions were in accordance with the themes addressed as benefits enjoyed in working in small businesses, the questions had options based on the level to which they agreed with these benefits. The questions were aimed at benefits such as family values, happiness, rewards for hard work and comradeship in the workplace. The employees than indicated the level to which they agreed with the sentiments this was used as an analysis in comparison to the benefits suggested in the Aflac report (Aflac, 2017). The other sections of the questionnaire gauged other benefits rendered in small businesses and tried to associate them to reasons that would make the employee retain the position at any given circumstances as addressed in (Cunningham, 2002)
All these themes are also associated with demographic factors of the respondents; therefore, it eases the process of analyzing patterns. The demographical factors addressed missed in previous research such as (Aflac, 2017). These factors included age, age on the job, family status, and marital status. This would turn out to be enhancing to claims of (Chau & Quan, 2016)
Purposive sampling was utilized to generate the sample size for this research. This method is in the family of non-probability sampling techniques that utilize the participant’s qualities and values in relation to the objective of study at hand. In this case, any participator‘s in this research had to be an employee of the small family-owned restaurant, apart from that they had to have specific roles and duties within the company. Nevertheless, the duration they worked in the small company was also put into consideration. Additional aspects were, they had to be knowledgeable of their working environment and the benefits associated with it or the level of happiness they endowed from working there, as this was the main basis of this study (Ritchie, Jane, Lewis, & Elam, 2013).
The sample size was of 22 employees of diversified yet specific job positions at small family businesses ranging from cooks, waiters, engineers, marketers, network administrators, deliverymen, and technicians. They all responded to the questions efficiently providing detailed answers to all questions. Therefore, it was a 100% participation. The respondents had various demographic qualities that helped to analyse the responses accordingly.
The data collected in quantitative techniques is in the form of statistics and numbers. Therefore, the data collected in this study were grouped and categorized in accordance with the responses of the questionnaires this output was in the form of numbers. This data could then be statistically analyzed using specific methods that incorporate expertise in the field of statistics, to provide a valid conclusive report on the different aspects of the data ranging from variations, percentages etc. This could also be further explored to give generalized values of a wider population (Denscombe & Martyn, 2014)
This research effectively puts ethical considerations in place to prevent improper treatment or abuse that harms the respondents involved in the study. This was compulsory, as breaking the safe space of the employees would adversely affect their working relationship within their environment. The first step was achieved through providing a contract form that helped established the anonymity of their responses in relation to the study. Apart from this, they have also briefed on the use of this study that it was purely academic and would not be used for any economic gain. This guaranteed their full protection from associative discrimination and exploitation. A second step was also taken in reviewing questions in the questionnaire to ensure they were polite and appropriate to everyone involved in the study (Flick & Uwe, 2015).
This research is limiting in the observation of other natural phenomena, in this case, other aspects of the study apart from benefits associated with happiness this is because quantitative technique purely focuses within the scope of the set objectives.
Quantitative research methods also require expert knowledge when handling the data analysis section of the research as statistical methods are used. Improper application of statistical knowledge leads to results that are invalid for the study based on errors in the process
techniques also require large sample sizes in order to have valid values that
can be used to generate generalized values for wider populations. Therefore,
using a small sample size is limiting to the study due to reduced data.
This chapter is concerned with the findings of the data collection process, which was facilitated by the use of the questionnaire discussed in the previous chapter. The questionnaire was administered to 22 people and the responses recorded. This chapter categorically analyses the responses according to the objectives of the study. The chapter is also concerned with the validity of the data in ensuring all scopes of the study were covered by linking them up with the themes addressed in the previous chapters.
The questionnaire was divided into two sections, the first section addressing the demographic status of the respondent, this data is important so as to provide a higher specific level of analysis required to establish a conclusive remark for the study. The key factors considered in this section were age, gender, marital status, years working for the company, job position and number of kids. As you note some of this factors affect the level of experience of an individual in a small company in relation to happiness. This can be seen in response to the benefits or level one can be retained in the firm. Another aspect of this is the family setting, family values are more enhanced to individuals within a family of their own based on their marital status or kids. Age is also a critical factor accompanied with age in the firm as you may not from chapter two some themes of benefits in working in small companies were also concerned with generations and expectations, different age groups have different expectations based on what they look forward to. Analysing the data based on this perspective gives a more conclusive report on where the company is lacking or where it specializes in retaining employees.
The other section of the questionnaire deals with the more pertinent issues at hand based on the objectives. The section has 11 questions that were detailed for precise data collection based on the methodology utilized. The first questions were closed with specific choices that aided the respondent to give precise views within the scope of the research. The last two questions were, however, open so as to give views or responses that were not reflected by the researcher within the questionnaire but may, however, prove important for the study. These questions were based on factors that would result to an employee seeking, to either be retained by the small company or join a multinational company. In view of this, the next question then sought to find what initiatives could be utilised to increase the level of happiness of the employee in the firm
The first question dealt with age and out of the respondents, the data collected was analysed in groups that would also lead to a factor on age groups and generations. In this case, the age groups were divided in a range of 10 years for easier classification. In this case, 20 to 30 years was the first group, then 30 to 40 years and lastly 40 to 50 years. Statistics related to this such as the mode and mean are shown below followed by a graphical analysis showing the percentages of each group.
Table 4 1 Age statistics
Figure 4 1 Age distribution graph
As you can see, a majority of the respondents in this research were between the ages of 20 to 30 years comprising of about 59% of the respondents this will be a crucial factor in analysing data from other questions.
Gender distribution was easy to account for as there were only two options i.e. male or female this translated to 64% Male and 36% female.
Figure 4 2 Gender distribution graph
4.3.3 Years on current job position
This proved to be a more complex matter based on the range of values collected, however, a scale based on the years of experience was utilized to show the level of competency of each individual in this working environment. Each level was given a specific title that helped in the further analysis of data collected in the next sections. The scale is provided below.
|Title||Years in the firm|
|Newbie||less than 3|
|Intermediate||3 to 4|
|Skilled||5 to 8|
|Experienced||8 to 10|
Table 4 2 Competency Scale
|Table 4 3 Statistics on years’ on job position|
Figure 4 3 Competency graph
As you may note most of the individuals have been in this company for 3 to 4 years.
This was also an easy category for analysis, as the responses were mostly either high school or University, hence no need for a scale or grouping. University individuals proved to be more in the company comprising of about 59%.
Figure 4 4 Education level distribution graph
Based on the two options of married or not married. The latter were the majority with about 55%
Figure 4 5 Marital status graph
Those with no kids proved to be the majority with about 59% almost close to the percentage of individuals not married, showing a correlation between marriage and having children.
Figure 4 6 Family status chart
4.4 Section II Findings
This section as described before had a total of 11 questions with the last two being open. For the analysis, a brief overview is shown with the results from each section followed by a thorough analysis of the key themes and objectives addressed by these questions. The results are in accordance with percentages of the choices selected in the responses.
Do you currently enjoy working in your current company? Yes/No
Figure 4 7 Question 1 responses chart
This chart shows a summary of responses to Question one the results collected are in line with the expectations discussed in chapter two, whereby a majority of the workers (73%) enjoyed working at the small business
The small business is fair to all individuals.
Figure 4 8 Question 2 responses chart
From the chart above, responses also exhibit advantages of small businesses in the aspects of being fair to all employees as about 32% respond in agreement and another 5% totally agree this makes up to be the option chosen by the majority.
The small business offers adequate recognition for hard work rendered.
Figure 4 9 Question 3 responses chart
The responses for this question was quite accurate in regards to the previously stated benefit of hard work recognition, this was attested to the fact that more than 50% of the employees were in agreement and also a majority were in agreement to the benefit.
The small business brings about a family environment in the workspace through utilization of family values
Figure 4 10 Question 4 responses chart
This previous chart also indicates the previously discussed benefit of an environment that promotes family values at the workplace. A majority of the employees found this to be true with more than 50% agreeing i.e. 9% strongly agree and 46% agree.
The small business increases comradeship amongst employees
Figure 4 11 Question 5 responses chart
Comradeship amongst employees was also one of the benefits of small businesses as it promoted a harmonious environment for the efficient actualization of set goals. To prove this right about 73% agreed i.e. 50% agree and 23% strongly agree.
What benefit do you enjoy most when working in small businesses?
Figure 4 12 Question 6 responses chart
What benefit makes you happy during your working experience.
Figure 4 13 Question 7 responses chart
What benefit needs to be further developed for a better working experience?
Figure 4 14 Question 8 responses chart
The three charts above analyse responses based on four major factors of benefits associated with small businesses, that is; boost in skills and experiences, input recognition, flexible scheduling and rewards for hard work. All these factors were analysed in three major perspectives, what they enjoyed, what made them happy and what could be improved by the company. Based on the responses provided a majority enjoyed having a flexible schedule at the workplace. In addition, a majority also felt happy when they received rewards for hard work. Lastly, a majority felt the need for changes in the criteria of boosting of skills and experience at the workplace.
Given an offer from a multinational company would you quit your current job?
Figure 4 15 Question 9 responses chart
To sum it all up one more question was asked on whether the employees would consider quitting when given an offer to join a multinational company and as per expectation 64% of them said no.
4.5 Satisfaction of working in small businesses
This objective was thoroughly addressed through the first and the ninth question that sought to know whether the employees were happy working for the firm and if they would consider shifting camps given an opportunity from a larger company, in this case, a multinational. The percentages from the two questions indicated that 73% enjoyed working for the small company from a provided list of benefits they enjoyed that would be addressed later on. The other questions on shifting camp, however, showed that 64% would not accept the offer and retain their position at the company, from this it is possible to establish that about 9% of those who said yes view that additional benefits could be explored in a larger company. However, a few discrepancies existed for those who do not enjoy working for the small company and would not consider shifting camp. This could be attested to the reason that their satisfaction lies in the security of what they currently have though they do not enjoy it but do not have the guts to take the risk of unchartered territories of working for multinationals. This proves that a majority of the employees enjoy working for the small company and their faith lies there. Further analysing was done on this based on demographics on age and gender.
The graph below shows the responses on those who enjoyed their working experience in small companies based on their gender from this about 88% of the female employees enjoyed working there and about 64.28% of the male too.
Figure 4 16 Gender responses on satisfaction in small businesses
The described discrepancy earlier discussed proves to be on the male side as their percentages change when responding to the issue of changing camp, the percentages for female responses do not change but for the male, they significantly change with a drop of about 14.28%
Figure 4 17 Gender responses on retaining their job position in small businesses
Further analysis was done based on the age of the respondent and it was conclusive that employees of the age group 30 to 40 years enjoyed working in the small business; reasons to this will be later on described. The chart below shows the evidently with about 84% of members in this age group enjoyed working there.
Figure 4 18 Responses on satisfaction based on age.
From the objectives of this research, the benefits of working in small businesses had to be further explored from the employee perspective presented in this small company. For this, we have to consider previously stated benefits from chapter two of this report which thoroughly explored family values, rewards and appreciation for hard work and fair treatment to employees just to mention but a few. The first bit of section two explored how employees took into account their experience based on this benefits that could describe the nature of working for the current establishment. Five options were given for the four questions ranging from strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree.
From the charts that summarise the values of Question 2, 3, 4 and 5 it is evident that there was no response that indicated strongly disagree for all these questions. Therefore, the analysis was based on the first four options. Further analysis was performed also regarding the different demographics provided. As of the first case, one is able to note that experienced employees i.e. those with 8 to 10 years in the current job position agreed that the small business was fair to all people. However new employees i.e. those 1 to 2 years in the current job position had mixed feeling about this matter and a majority of them were in disagreement, nevertheless, only members of this group also responded with the strongly agree option. The chart below shows this analysis.
Figure 4 19 Question 2 analysis based on years’ on current job position
The same analysis was performed based on education level and those that indicated university were in approval of this statement depicted by their majority responses on strongly agree, agree and neutral. While none indicating to be in disagreement, however, those that indicated high school did not feel the same towards this matter and a majority of them were in disagreement. This is shown in the chart below.
Figure 4 20 Question 2 analysis based on education level
Recognition of hard work was also a key benefit of small businesses a majority of the respondents agreed to this as see Figure 4 9 that about 55% agreed. This matter was further analysed based on the education level attained by employees and it was evident to say that those that were of the high school level felt more recognized for their hard work by a percentage of about 63% and no disagreement about it. The university group, however, had mixed feelings about the matter depicted by a distribution across all options; nevertheless, a majority of them agreed.
Figure 4 21 Question 3 analysis based on education level
For the fourth question on family values at the workplace also a majority of 46% were in agreement see Figure 4 10 this also approves of the facts stated in chapter two that small businesses incorporated family values to their workplace environment. For this, we analysed the responses based on the family status of employees and the result was, however, peculiar as a majority of those with no kids who are also assimilated to those that are not married, formed the greater share of those in approval of the matter. Nevertheless, the ‘strongly agree’ option was equally distributed between the two groups but the ‘disagree’ option had those with no kids as the majority. This is shown in the table below:
Figure 4 22 Question 4 analysis based on family status
Question 5 was based on comradeship in the workplace; this summed all other social and emotional benefits associated in the workplace. As shown in Figure 4 11 a majority of 50% were in agreement that the small business increased comradeship amongst employees for this we analysed the matter further based on the marital status of employees and it showed that none married employees formed the majority of employees in agreement more than those who were married. This is shown in the table below
Figure 4 23 Question 5 analysis based on marital status
Responses from the other questions were centred on three factors of small businesses namely: flexible scheduling, boosting in skills and experience, rewards and motivation for hard work, and lastly, input recognition. These attributes were gauged on what made them happy to be in the small business, what made them enjoy working in the small business and what factor could be improved to boost their experience. From the responses collected as shown in Figure 4 12, Figure 4 13, and Figure 4 14 it is evident to say that the most enjoyed benefit is flexible scheduling with a majority of 35%. While what made them happy the most are rewards and a motivation for hard work with a majority of 32% and what they considered could be improved, was a boost in skills and experience with a majority of 39%. The other responses that were part of the open questions will be analysed in the next chapter
The results collected were accurate and consistent all through, this made it possible to achieve results similar to what was previously discussed at the same time the results based on the demographic data collected make it possible to further analyse this data making up for issues not addressed in previous studies such as the Aflac report on happiness.
From the Aflac report (Aflac, 2017) on happiness, a comparison can be made of data collected from this current research as illustrated in the table below
|Aflac report||Collected data|
|Rewards for hard work||20%||26%|
|Boost in skills and experience||9%||12%|
Table 4 4 Comparison of data collected with previous research done
The data comparison clearly shows similarities between the views of workers in small companies. Based on hierarchy all factors align together in the hierarchy between the two sets of data, flexible scheduling remains the highest while input recognition has the greatest correlation with only a difference of 1%.
Based on the data collected, facts by (Robert Walters, 2016) previously discussed are proved right, in that majority of the people at the workplace are millennia’s. The demographic data collected indicates that a majority of the employees are between the age of 20 to 30 years which is age group of the millennia’s see Figure 4 1, a majority of the employees (59%) are millennia’s. His work also indicated that the millennia’s seek an environment of growth by which enhances their career growth in both skills and opportunity. This was observed through the data collected as a majority of them (39%) pointed out that they felt it necessary for the company to improve in areas that boost their skill and experience see Figure 4 14.
The data collected also approves (Brooks, 2016) sentiments that recognition of hard work or efforts brings about a feeling of happiness and belonging to an organization or company. He also found this act to be evident in small businesses, a majority of the employees (55%) responded in agreement and an additional 9% strongly agreed to this sentiments as they felt the small business recognized hard work rendered in the company see Figure 4 9.
Data collected also establishes the
correctness of the facts discussed by (Cunningham, 2002) in that majority of
employees required motivation to improve the efficiency in which they did their
tasks. Motivation goes a long way through rewarding of different inputs of
employees. He noted that a boost in morale increased the level of happiness of
the employee and at the same time increasing his productivity. A majority of
the employees (32%) from this data felt that their origin for happiness has
through rewards and motivation given to them in return of their rated
performance see Figure
This chapter brings into account a conclusion of the study from the provided information from the previous chapters and data collected. It also provides a basis for analysing the data collected with a perspective on the objectives and literature review that expounded on the objectives of previous work done. The objectives of this study were as follows:
- To identify, through a critical review of the literature, the reasons a person would choose to work into a small business.
- To critically assess the benefits and limitations of such workers
- To evaluate the importance of motivation, including ‘happiness’ at work, and how this can be achieved
- To recommend practical tips for owners of smaller businesses, with particular reference to the family-owned restaurant sector, on how to improve staff motivation and happiness.
The recommendation section, on the other hand, brings into account the way forward in accordance with the last objective on what small companies could take home from this study so as to ensure they retain their workers.
From Chapter 2 we note that family values are a key aspect of small businesses that make them different from multinationals. Chapter 4 discusses the findings from the data collected indicating that a majority of the employees found family values to be upheld in the company. However, the surprising fact was that those who had limited exposure to a wide family setting described by having no kids or not being married comprised the majority of those that were in agreement with this statement. This matter brings questions into place in that what are the married people not getting from this workplace environment that makes few of them not to be in approval of this virtue of small businesses.
Further analysing different response based on responses to the last two questions of the questionnaire a majority of those who were married or had children, reflected that more free time would make their experience at the workplace better. While those who were not married did not give responses related to the period of shifts or any matter related to time spent at the workplace. This brings about the question on why married employees need more time and it was evident that married people consider their home setting as their primary family and all aspects of family values are related to time spent with them. Reflecting on this they are not concerned with the values enhanced at the workplace as this forms part of their secondary family. While those that are not married view their fellow employees as their comrades and family members, therefore, are keen to ensure the family values are retained and enjoy every aspect of any family virtue receivable from small businesses. To this fact, they form the majority of those in approval of family virtues being upheld at the workplace. However, a certain percentage of individuals that are not conforming to the family stature of small businesses, they prefer to be alone or achieve their roles without any help from anyone.
In conclusion, family values do exist in the workplace environment as the result of comradeship amongst employees. Previous work indicates that family values flourish in small businesses as a majority of them are family owned, however, from this, we note that it is up to the employees to bring about that family setting from comradeship amongst them that latter own instils family virtues at the workplaces. A majority of employees in small businesses enjoy this benefit and that is why they strive to maintain it.
This was a very important matter addressed in from the first chapter; growth in skills affects the level of happiness for some individuals, while at the same time acts as a factor for individuals in shifting camp to multinationals. Growth in skills proves to be a requirement for almost all of the employees in the small business. This was depicted from responses in what could further improve their working experience, a majority of them stated that a boost in skills and experience. Apart from that those that said they would accept an offer to move to a multi-national company, would do so to boost their skills and experience. This growth is evidently seen to lack in small businesses this may be based on the fact that level of production is small scale, therefore, exposure to complex mechanisms in achieving specified roles is limited this ends up providing the individual with stagnated growth.
It is also important to note that a majority of the employees are between the age group of 20 to 30 years see section 4.3.1. This age group is characterised by individuals who are ready and eager to learn at the same time they are also hungry to grow so as to sustain their livelihood and provide a stable future for themselves. They are thus keen on opportunities provided for growth for any establishment. However, from the data collected from this study although they are the majority they somehow still enjoy working in small businesses compared to multinationals, this brings into account of the other benefits associated with small businesses.
Evidently, they are in approval of the small business setting but request that it can be made better ensuring their overall 100% retainment at the event of any appealing offer from multinationals. This should be therefore a key aspect of consideration for small businesses as they move forward.
5.2.3 Other benefits and issues
Other benefits are also brought into light from this study; from the open questions provided a number of responses indicated that they enjoyed the job security offered by small businesses. This can be attested to the fact that several workers have more than 10 years’ experience in the firm and more than 30% of the employees have 3 to 4 years of experience in the firm see section 4.3.3 this shows that job security is clearly a benefit of small businesses. Another response that approves to this is that when an employee was asked why she did not want to go to a multi-national company given the offer. The response was that the current job seemed to be more secure as it has been her livelihood for long and since she has not worked for a multi-national, the move is not worthy enough because she has never worked for a multi-national and would not want to risk losing it all.
From the data collected from this study a number of other benefits, seem to arise from small businesses, however, these benefits are not on a large scale platform as they are experienced by a few minorities. An example, an employee describes in his response that he enjoys working alone and achieving a task alone gives him adequate satisfaction and he gets to achieve this in the small business.
Another issue that raised concern, but maybe later on capitalized to a benefit is that an employee remarked that he did not feel safe working in the small business. This was because his role detailed the use old and rusty equipment. This should be a concern for all small business as may be based on their minimal turnover compared to multinationals they might not be able to facilitate new acquisitions of machines at a similar frequency. However, they should be able to implement safety mechanisms and checks such as servicing and repair of machines this increases the safety of the employees and the confidence they have in their workplace.
Happiness forms a major part of this research, as it is one of the objectives of this study see section 2.5 and at the same time a benefit under another objective. This makes it a primary concern for all small businesses; this is because if you are happy, you enjoy your work and experience in the workplace, at the same time your productivity is on the high. Happiness was clearly experienced by the majority as shown in the previous chapter see section 4.5 a majority of the employees were happy in the establishment and they enjoyed working there. From other reports, happiness was realized from recognition or self-fulfilment that you completed a task by yourself or as a team and you could at first hand see the success of your efforts. This really brings about happiness to many individuals but not all. Another aspect of happiness is enjoying what you are doing this makes the roles you have in the small business to be active roles you want to engage in and look forward to performing them, rather than just playing a slaves role to accomplish tasks for the sake of it.
The data collected in this study, however, brought into light a different factor assimilated to the previously discussed aspects of happiness. For this study, a majority of the employees found happiness from rewards and motivation for hard work see section 4.4 . This shows that they love to be appreciated which may somehow not be taking place as expected or takes place once in a while but is definitely a worthwhile experience. However, this brings into question what rewards are provided and for what hard work done. From the first questions of the study, asking on whether rewards were provided for hard work rendered the majority that agreed were those of a high school education level; the university level employees were distributed with a number disagreeing with the remark.
From this, a question is posed are the university level employees feeling their worth at the company or even the worth of their services at the enterprise. The high school level employees being below the university level employees in superiority may require a minimal level of rewards or gestures to be motivated. This is based on the account of the roles they play in the small business ranging from casual labour or other roles that require minimal knowledge or expertise in the field thus any appreciation to them would go a long way. As for the University level employees, they perform tasks that are more complex and may feel the reward in play does not match up to their level of input to the firm this makes them feel unmotivated in the end. Based on this their reflection to shift camp to multinationals may be easily actualized by any offer put on their table.
In conclusion, it is evident rewards for hard work done result to the happiness of employees. A majority of the employees also felt that rewards for hard work done should also be considered as an initiative to improve their workplace experiences this is evident from responses provided in the last two open questions for the questionnaire. This proves to be a key factor in retaining employees. Rewards, in the end, lead to the constant motivation of employees either in anticipation of a reward or value of the reward; this affects productivity to be on the high eventually.
From the responses gathered, a majority of the employees that answered yes to the question on shifting camp to a multinational given the opportunity stated their reason to be better pay or increased salaries. Apart from that, a majority of those that said they would stay also gave the same answer of increase in pay to the question of what would increase their level of happiness in the firm.
This clearly shows a relation between happiness; salaries and benefits thus should be a viable initiative in retaining workers in small businesses. Nevertheless, better pay motivates employees, therefore, it is a benefit, an aspect of happiness and an important factor of increased productivity.
The recommendation arrived at from this conclusion and other sets of information throughout this paper will be based on the last but major objective of this paper that focuses on retaining workers and at the same time provide a guide to small companies to help them achieve the same.
From this research we can clearly see that a majority of the responses focus on specific issues not facilitated properly in small businesses or are given minimal attention Key to this are a boost in skills, better pay, rewards and motivation and a safer working environment. However, we cannot just consider the majority but as well; we have to facilitate the views of the minority. This is one aspect of small businesses, which makes them different on how they handle their issues.
The first step is in providing a platform guided by a specific scale for acknowledging hard work and efforts of employees the acknowledgement will be responded to with an appropriate reward or motivation that is appropriate to the effort provided. This makes sure everyone is honoured and acknowledged for what they bring to the table. Uniformity in reward schemes commonly used in small businesses makes those that are superior on the basis of their roles feel less motivated. Thus, they should be appropriately facilitated.
The issue of better pay is common across all companies, thus anyone at any given opportunity will request for an increase of pay. However, despite the universal nature of this remark it has to be considered. Small companies do operate at a smaller financial margin thus, their revenue streams might not accommodate an increase in pay. Despite this, they can put specific methodologies in play that facilitate the same function as an increase in pay such as end-year bonuses and rewards based on their yearly performance. Apart from this they can institute commission programmes and all in all ensure that they do not cheat their employees from their earnings based on current business flows and efforts they put into the business
Job security is a key benefit of small businesses thus; they should also capitalize on it and ensure each employee feels sustained in the workplace at the event of any economic or financial crisis. Apart from that, they should also ensure the safety of all individuals working there.
From all reasons provided from employees that considered moving to multinationals, the major was salaries and a boost in skills and experience. Having covered salaries already, for a boost in skills and experience it is achievable for small businesses. This can be facilitated through mentor programmes within the workplace whereby more experienced employees can share their skills and knowledge to junior employees. Apart from that, the management may provide libraries with books appropriate to the skills and professions in their working environment this would boost the employee’s growth in knowledge and skills. Lastly, the small business may partner with service providers they are associated with or use their equipment to offer them certified training on different sets of equipment within the small business, e.g. a restaurant with a boiler may facilitate the training of the service technician with the manufacturer company and get him/her certified in dealing with their boiler products.
The study was quite efficient in achieving the set objectives, however, a few limitations existed for this study. The first limitation is the number of respondents for this study, based on resources and sample size provided vast data could not be collected on the subject matter. In addition, based on the response options provided for the study very few factors could be critically analysed, but as well, it helped to provide a clear-cut framework for this study.
However, this study considered further work that could be done in accordance with the research objectives. This was factored into the open-ended questions from the questionnaire, their responses brought about benefits and issues that were not considered but could be further addressed in line with this type of research objectives.
Future work could also utilize, several companies as the sample size for the study, this increases the validity of data and addresses concerns of a limited number of responses. It also leads to the collection of varied responses critical in addressing the universal complexities associated with small businesses, in aspects of benefits, issues and retaining of employees.
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