Many people use networking to further their careers and enhance industry knowledge. However, in most cases, this networking is done externally and in secret.
Interestingly, people can find networking within their own organizations to be just as, or even more fruitful for their professional development. When your employees learn how to reach out and connect with people within their own organization, they open doors for opportunities otherwise not available. To boot, encouraging networking from within strengthens employee retention.
Here’s how to teach your employees the value of internal networking.
Introduce Your Team to Internal Networking
Many employees feel networking within a company is inappropriate. They often perceive it as a way of working around their managers; therefore most workers tend to keep to their own departments. However, if networking becomes a welcomed and acceptable part of your company culture, people will feel more comfortable embracing internal networking.
Let each team member know that networking helps encourage collaboration among departments and introduces them to different aspects of the business. Explain how they should always network to establish strong relationships and pleasant rapports that allow them to do their jobs more effectively. As a small business owner, encourage employees to reach out to other departments to cultivate trust. Your business becomes more productive when it provides a work environment built on team spirit.
When employees network, they learn more about other departments and the opportunities they offer. It is also the best way to get wind of new job openings so employees can express interest before the jobs are posted. When employers show employees how networking can further their career development, people build career-boosting interdepartmental relationships that help them achieve their goals, while also helping your business achieve yours. It’s important to note that filling a role from within can be less costly than hiring an external candidate.
Easy Career Shifts
Many people take jobs to get their foot in the door, only to find the role they were hired to do is not quite right for them. However, this is a good way to lose top talent you’ve taken the time to train. Instead of having them feel their only choice is to look for a new job, employees who know how to network can transition into a new position within the company. They can leverage their current standing, maintain their seniority, and continue on a path more suited to their career aspirations. This framework allows them to start seeing the organization in terms of what else it offers them. They can arrange mentoring opportunities, job shadowing or informal interviews that allow different departments to see the value they can bring, and vice versa.
Tips for Internal Networking
Help employees hone their networking skills with these tips:
- Introduction: Help employees introduce themselves to managers and fellow employees in other departments.
- Learn About Projects: Teach employees how to learn about new projects in other departments. This allows them to learn details about the department and even proactively offer their assistance.
These simple steps create strong relationships that help employees thrive and grow either within their current roles or into new ones to support your small business.