Your internal network consists of people you know through your work and personal relationships.
In a large organization, this can include a lot of people at many different levels and departments throughout the company. This network also includes contractors, vendors and other people you work with on a daily basis. Building this internal network is important not only for your immediate work that requires collaboration and approval, but also for improving your own career prospects.
When you get to know people within your company better, you are able to quickly exchange ideas and drum up collaborative support. This can help in removing obstacles
to teamwork. You will learn more about the individual needs of people within your company and understand their strengths and shortcomings. By acknowledging others, you will build better relationships and improve communication across the organization. This openness leads to trust and helps promote honest collaboration and communication across your team.
Freedom from Internal Politics
You may work in an organization that is filled with internal strife and politics. In such environments, you may withdraw and be reluctant to socialize, which is understandable. However, building your internal network can help you rise above such dynamics and position yourself in a way that creates supportive team dynamics, helps you advance in your career and help others in the process too. Building an internal network can also grow your company through open and honest discussions and build team morale. Whether you are a new employee or longstanding veteran of the company, you can work with management to build a stronger team through good communication and connections.
“Whether via social media or in person, building your relationships is a long-term process, and the ultimate goal is to strengthen your network one person at a time.” – bestselling NYTimes author, Raymond Arroyo
Below are some tips on how to build your internal networks:
Participate in events and training sessions at your organization. Meet new people and build better bonds with people you know.
2. Eat Together
Eat with other people whenever possible so you can learn more about your colleagues. Aim to eat with new people so you keep meeting and learning. Pay attention and be genuine. If you are unable to have lunch together, aim to meet up for coffee or tea and schedule a short break when possible.
3. Lead a Project
If you can lead a project at work, this can be a terrific opportunity for meeting people and understanding their needs.
4. Volunteer or Donate
If your colleague is leading a volunteer event, attend if possible to offer your commitment and support.
5. Connect People
Introduce people and help them grow their own networks. Helping others connect helps you build better bonds with people you know. You can connect people to help them in anything, whether it is a doctor or auto repair specialist you recommend or a kid’s daycare. People value such genuine support and assistance.
6. Be Supportive
If your colleague is going through a difficult time, be understanding and supportive. For colleagues that have great moments whether it is personal such as having a baby or getting married, or work-related such as a promotion or advancement, offer words of praise and celebrate together. If you worked together on a project, be willing to offer praise and share credit.
7. Build a Broad Network
Get to know people across your organization even if they are in different departments and have job functions that do not pertain to your immediate needs. Having a broad network helps in building rapport and consensus. It also helps in quickly exchanging ideas.
8. Stay Connected
Communicate with people across your organization at all levels.
9. Communicate Individually
Talk to people and get to know them. Understand their individual needs by respectfully acknowledging them. Learn their strengths and shortcomings. Adapt your style to work well within these constraints.
10. Promote Collaboration
By both communicating at an individual level and in group settings, you can promote collaboration and remove obstacles to working together. This can be very helpful in preserving relationships and building rapport even under stressful situations, according to Karl Schubert, author of The CIO Survival Guide: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer.
11. Ask and Learn
Keep in touch and continuously ask and learn what people within your company need from you. The follow of honest communication is essential.