Networking is simply about making connections with people and building relationships. So what is “inside” networking? Well, simply put, it is the application of networking ‘inside’ your current company or organisation. Connecting and networking with other colleagues in your organisation, even if your role doesn’t necessitate it.
What is the point behind it? Inside networking means you are prepared to look outside your defined areas of responsibility. It means you are prepared to go above and beyond your normal day-to-day duties, and consider how you can create opportunities and bring value to other employees within your organisation.
According to Jane Perdue of the Braithwaite Group, internal networkers ‘create connections because they believe that reaching out to others will help all involved, including the company.’
Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organisation! – Adam Small
Here are some tips on how you can help yourself, and how you can successfully network within your organisation:
- Build relationships with colleagues and peers – it is important to communicate and forge good relationships with your boss and other members of your team. Having strong team and departmental contacts will help you widen your network further.
- Stay connected – having made new connections and relationships with other employees within the organisation, keep in touch with them using social network sites, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Perhaps your organisation has an internal networking site such as Yammer. These sites are a great way of sending these contacts relevant articles, connecting them to new potential business and arranging business meetings.
- Volunteer for cross-departmental projects – this is a great way to meet people in other departments and get to know how they and their teams work. It will also enable you to further enhance and develop skills in other areas.
- Give recognition – when other employees are promoted, achieve an award or receive recognition within the organisation, send them a congratulatory email. This will show them that you are paying attention to what’s happening in all areas of the organisation, and are not just focussed on your area of the business.
Informal or formal?
Of course there are different forms of inside networking – both formal and informal. It is worth noting some of these examples, and looking out for these opportunities to arise. You can then take advantage of these networking opportunities to help raise your profile within your organisation.
- Organised coffee breaks or company lunches
- Sports teams – bringing together employees from across the organisation
- Inter-team meetings – working on cross-divisional projects such as Leadership Teams
- Networking committee – which may be working on launching an internal communications portal
- Social committee – gatherings such as a film club, bowling nights, etc
What are the benefits of internal networking?
Being involved = being informed
Getting involved in company-wide committees and projects will mean you get a greater understanding of what’s happening across the organisation as a whole.
Being involved in projects and Leadership Teams means you will also have a part to play in the decision-making processes. You will have an active and influential role in ensuring the success of these projects.
Being involved = being well connected
Networking inside your company means you will also be meeting other like-minded individuals from across the organisation, as well as gaining access to senior business leaders and decision-makers.
Being involved = being educated
Internal company networks often offer the opportunity to develop new skills through seminars, mentoring programmes and training sessions. Take advantage of these to advance your career and enhance your skills and knowledge base.
How well you can network within your organisation will depend, not only on how much effort you are prepared to put in, but also on how well your organisation is willing to help you achieve your potential. If both parties accept and embrace the opportunities that inside networking can offer everyone stands to benefit and grow.