Is networking is a “should do” but one that you don’t always want to?
Why put ourselves out there, among strangers, forcing ourselves into conversation with someone we don’t know?
On our own time, what’s the point of making new acquaintances? Besides, the more secure our job seems on the inside, the harder it might be to get motivated to network outside. So why bother?
But what if it helps us to shine in the eyes of the boss? Sometimes people feel it’s hard to get noticed when the boss is always busy or among other bright stars in the team.
Aside from the individual career incentives, here are 5 reasons why our bosses can value us networking:
1. Being an ambassador for the company
Being “out there” builds reputation, keeping the organisation “in mind.” When we mention who we work for, it puts an actual face to that name.
When HMRC or the Tax Office gets mentioned, it’s often followed by a groan. I’ve experienced a few efficient and helpful HMRC staff. They take the stress out of submitting formalities to the online filing cabinet known as the “Government Gateway.” I also know people who work there, which makes it seem less robotic but personal. So I’m more likely to talk to the tax people and then do what they want me to, on time.
Humanising the company or organisation isn’t to be under-rated. It’s good to know that there are people representing the work that we do as a wider team.
2. Bringing back industry information or innovative ideas
It’s helpful to hear what the “chain” – our suppliers, buyers and competitors – is doing. Another event or conference might be mentioned that is right up the boss’s street.
Or perhaps there’s an insider perspective on a market-leader’s recent activities? Taking an opportunity or some gritty industry gossip back to the office makes us stand out.
3. Knowing potential candidates to fill vacancies
Being able to pluck candidates from existing contacts can save a fortune and time in recruitment. If there’s a team “mould” which makes things tick then who better to identify new members than the existing team?
For widening, relating to and regularly reaching our own individual networks then Linked In and Twitter can spread the word fast too. Then we’re primed to pick out the right people to introduce to the boss or HR. Plus, we get the chance to hand-pick colleagues.
4. Identifying opportunities to showcase what the company does
Imagine coming into the office and asking a senior manager, partner or director if they’d be interested in speaking at a local sector or industry meeting? It might flatter them. And it points out that we have our ears open for opportunities.
There could be a platform with people wanting to hear from someone from inside our workplace. Local events held by a professional body (be it institute, association or society) such as CIMA, CIPD, or RICS can be perfect.
5. Discovering more efficient suppliers or systems
It could be free sample training courses, trial software or an efficient device for the building. It might be that a contact mentions their new meeting structure or team protocol which saves heaps of time.
The sharing – of ideas, resources, tips and techniques are all advantages of networking – for us and our company. Even if it’s not adopted, the fact that we brought into work something extra makes us stand out.
We might just find that we make our boss look good. What boss doesn’t want to look good?
So, when we’re not in the mood to network, it’s worth remembering that it could make us attractive to a new employer or keep our profile high with the current one. Identifying opportunities, for ourselves, our company and our boss stands out.
Plenty of people don’t network so when we do then we stand out. Some do it naturally but it still takes effort to do it consistently. Getting out there tells the boss that we’re hungry to learn, that we demonstrate initiative and that we’re interested in wider issues.
P.S. And that’s not forgetting the other personal and professional benefits of networking (here)
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