Networking is more than just a practice, it’s a skill. A skill that many employers tend to foster and encourage in their employees, as it can lead to better cohesion, higher productivity, and more expansion opportunities.
Pre-pandemic, internal networking (which is networking amongst your team members) was a seamless practice, as employees were brushing shoulders, poking heads in doors, and having exchanges by the water-cooler. The focus tended to be around external networking (which is networking outside of the organization).
However, with the mass adoption of remote and hybrid working styles, this has affected the basis of networking as a whole. Employees who were once always around each other in an office are now working from home, and as new employees are onboarded, internal networking has become something that requires a lot more conscious effort. This is particularly noticeable amongst Gen Z workers, with only 23% of them saying that remote work was important to them because they felt that they were missing out on important networking and career development opportunities.
For employers, placing emphasis on how to network in the new age can actually be the deciding factor between attracting a potential new candidate. Ensuring that internal and external networking opportunities are available can make a company a more attractive place to work, but this requires employees to understand what this new networking world looks like and how they can operate in it successfully.
Here’s some new ways of networking that employers can promote to their staff:
- Virtual Coffees – whether you want staff to reach out beyond your immediate network or get to know the wider team, scheduling a virtual coffee catch-up can be a great way of networking in a remote working world. It can be a short, 15-minute discussion with the sole intention of chatting, catching up, and seeing what opportunities are up for grabs. This offers opportunities for direct mentorship, learning, and development.
- Attend Online Talks/Events – as the working world continues to digitalize, it is now easier then ever to sign up for free webinars, talks, and events that are held entirely remotely. These can be a great way of expanding one’s network and discovering new ideas or potential new business partnerships.
- LinkedIn is Your Best Friend – encouraging team members to have a LinkedIn presence not only boosts their personal brand, but it boosts the company’s brand too. Ensure that staff are interacting with social media posts and posting updates of their own in order to appeal to the wider LinkedIn network.
And in terms of how employers can create internal networking opportunities, this is where team building days can be a great tool. If you are a company that operates in a hybrid or remote fashion, making that conscious effort to bring the team together outside of the workplace setting can be a great way to breaking down barriers and encouraging inter-networking.
If you would like to discuss how you create networking opportunities as an attraction and expansion strategy, please get in touch with us.