How can help employee networks? This is something that many people in top management roles are well aware of. They usually seek information from their industry contacts to assist them in making better decisions.
You create a trusting and reciprocal atmosphere by assisting employees in investing in their networks. Employees are more likely to respond positively if you urge them to tap into their networks on behalf of the organisation.
The relationships with the employee and their talents do not end when they leave. Alumni networks are highly beneficial to both the former employee and the business. Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder), Ben Casnocha (Entrepreneur) and Chris Yeh (Investor) – propose in their book, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, an exciting and refreshing approach to talent management, employee networks and corporate alumni.
How to get market first-hand information by building and using employee networks?
Hire connected people
When hiring, make the strength of a candidate’s network a top priority. It is a common misconception that network strength equals the number of social media followers you have. However, it is vital to define network strength appropriately. Consider whether a candidate is linked to the proper people. Look if he has the realistic capacity to use those connections. Do not focus only on raw connection numbers. Inquire about the candidates’ biggest professional allies during the interview process.
Find out how they tackle problems—do they use their network of experts? Request that each employee list the smartest persons he knows who are not employed by the organisation. Here’s a straightforward approach to utilise at your next company or team meeting. Make a list of the three most brilliant persons you know for each team member. These lists can assist the firm in various ways.
- To find specialists who could be brought in as speakers.
- To identify prospective talents.
“The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd, is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”Bill Gates
Instruct employees on how to use their networks
Encourage your employees to be direct. They should discuss challenges their organisation is encountering with people in their network. Give them a list of questions to ask their friends. Ask them to report back on what they find out. Here is a handful list:
- Who are the newcomers to the market, and which of them are doing something interesting?
- What are other companies (and competitors) doing that is successful or unsuccessful?
- Who are the leading players in our industry with whom we should communicate?
- What are our customers’ feelings, what drives them, and how have they changed over time?
- Who did you chat to this week? Who was the most interesting?
Help employees build their networks.
- Encourage your employees to participate in social media and make themselves visible.
- Employees should have access to a “Networking Fund.” Employees can usually spend for business lunches. Only a handful will allow them to expense for networking lunches. You may ask them to provide a summary of what they learnt at the lunch.
- Allow your employees to speak in Events
- Organise events at your office.
Make sure employees share the information.
Explain how to share the lessons if an employee goes out for coffee with someone fascinating or attends a conference. Employees can share what they’ve learned in various ways, from basic e-mails to full-fledged presentations. For example:
- The employee can hold a brown-bag lunch to share what they’ve learned with their coworkers.
- Employees can publish their thoughts on the intranet for all other employees to see.
At the time of recruitment and during onboarding, networking should be properly discussed. The employer will allow the employee time to expand her network and pay for her to attend networking events. In return, the corporation wants to use that network. You must make it evident. The company promotes networks as a mutually beneficial asset that benefits both the company and the employees.
Implement a corporate alumni network
While long-term employment may be obsolete, a long-term partnership remains the goal. The vast majority of alumni networks that do exist are run wholly outside of the corporation. It’s all about the return on investment (return on investment). There are four compelling reasons to invest in an alumni network. The Alumni networks can:
- Assist you in recruiting great people
- Contribute valuable information
- Refer customers.
- Can act as brand ambassadors
Decide who to include in the alumni network.
Including all ex-employees is the simplest approach to organize an alumni network. Employees with outstanding legal action or the equivalent against them or their new company should be excluded. Employees who were fired for a reason should be excluded.
Define the expectations and benefits
During the employment process, use the alumni network as a selling point. The following are some of the most prevalent programs for rewarding and engaging alumni:
- Bonus for referring others
- Allowlist access and product discounts
- Events that are hosted
- Only a few alumni have received official recognition.
- Alumni communication
Prepare the exit process.
Get all of the information that the organization requires from departing employees in order to continue a long-term relationship. Contact information, expertise, and what the staff might wish to help with in the future are all included.
For all ex-employees, the organization should keep a database with the main data. Like personal e-mail, phone number, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog URL, and similar information.
Connect current employees and alumni
Once the corporate alumni network is active, the value won’t flow automatically. Busy alumni may not remember to send in information without some kind of reminder. Current employees might not think to reach out to alumni for insights and help with solving problems. Senior managers should set up formal programs and processes for tapping alumni intelligence before the need for their contribution arises.
Make it easy and obvious for current employees to tap the alumni network for network intelligence. Companies should also seek to involve alumni in celebrating their big wins.
Employee networks’ most obvious role is to link a corporation to external information sources. For fresh information, employee networks serve as a source and a filter. The ability to provide access to “secret data”—knowledge that isn’t publicly available—is the second purpose of network intelligence. The third role of network intelligence is to induce “good luck”, a key driver of creativity. Employees who use their professional and personal networks tend to get more feedback. This feedback is coming from people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and areas of expertise. The fourth function of network intelligence is to assist you in seeing possibilities that you may otherwise overlook.
In an era where lifetime employment is no longer the norm, establishing corporate alumni networks, which takes relatively little investment, is the next natural step in sustaining a connection of mutual trust, mutual investment, and mutual profit. An increasing number of businesses recognize the importance of maintaining the employer-employee relationship long after the two have parted ways. It’s a clever talent management plan. Ex-employees, in fact, can be a gold mine of brand ambassadors, new clients, future business partners, and top-tier rehires. Many organizations discover that there is no reason to limit the combined strength of their past and present workforces. David Gousset.