It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Regardless of AI and the multitude of platforms that we interact with, it is still people doing business with people, negotiating, collaborating, offering opportunities and creating new ideas. People do business with people they know or recommended from a trusted source. Technology may expand our networks reach or connect us faster, but a trusted human network is still what builds business, successful careers and strong communities. Employees in external facing roles or social media natives, building an external profile can be second nature. Employees in the early or ambitious stage of their career focus on what’s required to grow their network but those in their mid to late career, possibly with years of tenure or focused on delivering to their KPI’s may have forgotten to work on themselves. Unwittingly becoming stagnant or complacent to their external profile and network.
All industry sectors are experiencing change and the focus on technology leaves skilled and experienced employees feeling uncertain. For those transitioning through redundancy, the may be left flat footed to the changing market. Employees experiencing redundancy, transition faster and more successfully if they have an active and relevant professional network and profile. Change is for certain, so staying relevant and actively connected will be increasingly valuable to create a long and productive career.
“Employees experiencing redundancy, transition faster and more successfully if they have an active and relevant professional network.”
Have your employees become complacent to their network? Do they only interact within their team? Do they have a cross functional network within the company? Are they involved in external associations or events? Are they aware of how their industry is changing and adapting? As well as employees developing a vital skill, there are benefits for organisations to assist their employees to build their network and external influence.
Building an external profile has multiple benefits:
- Build the company brand. Done well, every employee is a potential marketing channel for the organisation.
- Gain real time insight into how the market is being disrupted
- Learn how organisations are adapting
- Reinvigorate employees through ideas, conversations and a broader view,
- Create a support network. Trusted connections outside an organisation can provide support and perspective.
- Build a community. Conversations lead to business opportunities, recruitment referrals or collaborations.
- Create a network that supports a long and productive career.
- If redundancies do occur, be confident employees will have one of the most valuable tools to transition.
How can organisations support employee’s external profile:
- Encourage employee’s to develop their external profile including Linkedin. By supporting employees to present themselves and the organisation proactively and positively through speaking opportunities, forums, events and Linkedin profile is a win-win.
- Provide network and personal brand training or coaching. For some employees, networking is akin to public speaking, so apply the right tools and start small.
- Tailor it to individuals. Opportunities for coffee meetings can be as valuable for one as an annual conference for another.
- Create internal cross-functional networking to build confidence and improve internal communication.
- Incorporate external network and profile building into a mentoring or coaching program.
- Encourage or support industry/specialist memberships and meet ups.
- Attend events in pairs or with experienced colleagues to build confidence.
If an employee understands the value of building their network and feels supported to integrate it into their role, it will have a lasting impact in their ability to build a long productive career as well as improve trust, loyalty and engagement.