More Tips to Build A Network Within Your Company — With Minimal Effort
Last month, we discussed some ways you can network within your company. This month, we’re bringing you EVEN MORE tips to build that network. Whether you’re new or a longtime employee, it can be intimidating to make meaningful connections within your organization. The good news is there are creative ways to build your professional network organically — even if you consider yourself to be more of an introvert.
Take Advantage Of Volunteering Opportunities Your Company May Offer
One of the most rewarding experiences you can have is by participating in benevolent endeavors — especially if it’s sponsored or organized by your company. Not only is it an incredible opportunity to give back to your community, but it can also help you meet co-workers from various teams and departments as you work together toward a common shared goal.
Pursue Mentoring Opportunities
This is one of the obvious, and important, ways to grow your connections within your company. Some organizations have formal mentoring programs, so put yourself out there and serve as a mentor and/or mentee. If your company isn’t large enough to have a formal structure in place, that shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to potential mentors and setting up informal meetings. If the latter, be cognizant of time and come prepared with a list of questions or discussions points — or better yet, what your goals are or what you’re hoping to achieve — ahead of time so you can make the most of your time.
Participate In Orientation Sessions Regularly
You may be wondering why we’d suggest sitting in on corporate orientations or onboarding sessions more than the one time you’re obligated to attend. That’s because there are myriad ways to participate in these sessions that can still provide value to you even as a veteran employee. For example, HR teams will often organize panel discussions featuring longtime employees and leaders to help orient new hires and answer any questions they may have — culture-wise or otherwise. Inquire about participating in these panels. Not only will it help you meet new hires, who are always looking for friendly faces, but it will also help you connect with the rotating cast of employees, leaders and executives who sit on these panels.
Join An Employee Resource Group
Chances are you’ve never stumbled across that term before. Employee resource groups (ERGs), also known as business resource groups, are defined as “groups of employees who join together in their workplace based on shared characteristics or life experiences.” We’re not debating the merit of these groups and whether they are aligned to concrete business objectives, but joining and participating in these groups, if they do exist at your organization, can help you make an impact and expand your network beyond just your team.
Set Up Informal One-On-One Meetings Or Chair Sides
Do some research and identify specific individuals within your organization that you’d like to learn from. You could start by researching teams (marketing, sales, IT, R&D, etc.) you’d like to learn more about and set up meeting invites to specific members of that team to do chair sides or ask for an opportunity to shadow them. Not only will this help build relationships, but you would also expand your knowledge on various facets of the business which will help you strategize better by looking at the big picture. Most of us are afraid of disturbing or inconveniencing people we don’t know — especially if they work outside of our department — however, you will soon find out that most professionals will be flattered and accommodating.
Deanna Hartley is a prolific writer and editor, having spent the past decade publishing hundreds of print and digital bylines on topics including job search advice, career development, recruitment, HR and human capital management that speak to both job seekers as well as employers/recruiters. Deanna has a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was formerly a senior editor at award-winning publisher Human Capital Media and a senior copywriter at CareerBuilder. She currently works as a content manager at Aon, a global professional services firm. Her articles providing career advice have appeared in a variety of publications, including Gannett’s network of newspapers, Business Insider and Workforce Magazine.