Fostering Internal Networking in Organizations | TLNT

Talent Development

Organizations are continually seeking ways to develop talent, increase job performance, engage workers, and retain talented employees–all while optimizing costs. And while making progress in any of these areas can have a meaningful impact on an organization, the ability to simultaneously influence these outcomes can accelerate the delivery of an organization’s talent strategy; one lever for doing so is internal networking. The term “networking” usually has an “external” connotation (e.g., networking through social media, conferences, or meeting workers from other companies), but can also be applied within an organization. The ability of workers to broaden their internal network provides endless opportunities for accelerating development, increasing productivity, fostering a sense of belonging, driving engagement, and improving retention, to name a few. This short article provides a few ideas for jumpstarting internal networking within an organization, such as 1) establishing cross-functional internal networking initiatives, 2) leveraging business resource groups (BRGs) for internal networking initiatives (veterans, LGBT employees, generational, cultural, etc.), and 3) offering learning and development opportunities that teach employees how to network internally and why it is important. One untapped opportunity that is not on this list and that I think is essential for organizations to consider is a technology capability platform that enables workers to “identify” and “connect” with other internal workers who want to network and have mutual interests. Such a platform that “matches” workers or brings them together for networking is scalable, fast, increases the number of networking opportunities, enables efficient tracking of utilization, and provides analytics and ROI capabilities. Further, with the current coronavirus crisis making it increasingly challenging to network through in-person interaction, such an approach enables these connections to happen and can provide a capability that transcends the pandemic.

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