Businesses who think networking is only for the Directors, Business Development Managers or the Sales team are missing multiple and clever opportunities to grow and develop their business. Networking should be encouraged across the total business, no matter the job title or level of the individual involved. Why? Because not only will it elevate the profile of your business by having more people spreading the word ‘on the ground’, it will also develop team skills and encourage their involvement across the business.
Here are some tips on implementing a culture of networking across your business:
- Induction – The induction process is essential to getting the message across that networking is encouraged. Many employees would not regard networking as part of their employment requirements so opening the conversation and demonstrate that networking is encouraged for both professional development and business development.
- Training – Offer lunch time power sessions on “how to network”. These can be a fun way to facilitate learning, boost team building and also get internal staff networking amongst themselves.
- Performance reviews – Include some Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) around networking for both professional development and business development opportunities.
- CRM tools – Encourage your employees to enter the details of people they meet at functions into a central database – this will ensure new contacts will receive company newsletters and ensure ongoing contact can be recorded and managed.
- Mentoring – Buddy your best and brightest business developers up with the new recruits so they can attend industry functions and coffee catch ups together, it’s not easy to document how to build rapport with people, it’s a skill easier learnt through example.
- Social Media – Encourage your staff to use LinkedIn and other business networking tools, but make sure they know the company guidelines of how they should be representing the company on these platforms.
- Risk Manage – Ensure there are clear and well communicated policies and procedures around workplace conduct, drugs and alcohol and if you know alcohol may form a part of a networking event, which it does in some industries, ensure you provide a way for staff to get home safely.
For more tips, read our other blogs on networking.