Strategic networking initiatives may be more important for organizations than learning and development (L&D) and Human Resources (HR) professionals thought they were. One survey found that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking, and other research found that networkers want more time to network, especially face to face.
In addition, networking opportunities overall have repeatedly opened many professional doors for employees, prospective employees, and business partnerships alike.
Here are six ways to build successful networking initiatives across your organization.
1. Nurture and Support Strategic Partnerships
L&D and HR professionals can build important networking initiatives by nurturing and supporting internal and external strategic partnerships. They should help form these partnerships with internal IT teams and managers across different departments, as well as various external stakeholders.
Read “Building Bridges: Must-Have Strategic Partnerships in L&D” Part 1 and Part 2 for more details and insight.
2. Offer Mentorship Programs
Mentorship programs offer excellent opportunities for employees to support one another on both professional and personal levels. Networking initiatives can be supported via peer mentorship programs, master-novice mentorship programs, etc.
For more information, read “The Importance of Having Master and Advocate Mentors” and “3 Types of Mentors Your Employees Need.”
3. Endorse a Transparent Company Culture
Effective and positive networking relationships, communications, and opportunities will naturally develop when your organization has a transparent company culture. In more transparent environments, ideas and collaboration are more free flowing, employees are more proactive and tuned into overarching company goals and initiatives, and they are more inclined to network with one another.
For more details, read “4 Reasons You Need a Transparent Company Culture.”
4. Boost Organizationwide Collaboration and Innovation
When you encourage employees to collaborate and innovate with one another, you are also encouraging networking. While they work on projects and initiatives together, they will be forming connections and relationships that will be professionally valuable. Explore additional benefits to boosting organizationwide innovation by reading “5 Reasons to Implement a Company Culture Focused on Innovation.”
5. Develop Cross-Training Opportunities
As employees are being cross-trained in various roles and departments, they’ll be networking with others internal to your organization, too. An employee in the operations department learning more about tasks in the marketing department, for example, will have opportunities to network with individuals in that department.
For additional information, read “4 Tips for Launching Your Next Cross-Training Program.”
6. Host Internal and External Networking Events
You can also build successful networking initiatives across your organization the old-fashioned way via networking events. Host regular networking events for professionals internal and external to your organization during which they can learn more about what your organization does and who inside your organization does it as they interact with one another.
Be sure to follow the six tips above if you want to build successful networking initiatives across your organization.