4 Ways To Build Professional Relationships To Drive Employee Engagement 

Research conducted by Gallup shows that engaged employees are 17% more productive, innovative, and loyal to the organisations they work for. In this blog, we’ll discuss the impact that networking (both in-person and virtually) has on employee engagement, and how organisations can utilise this in order to develop a long-term effective performance-driven mindset. Understanding how networking affects engagement will enable individuals and organisations to begin creating strategies to boost teamwork, collaboration, and general job satisfaction.

Let’s dive in and discover how organisations can take employee engagement to the next level!

What is networking?

Networking involves fostering and maintaining robust connections with individuals within an organisation or the same industry, usually in the form of an in-person event or virtual meeting. These types of meetings and gatherings can be performed in a number of ways, from internal networking, and attending industry events to joining professional organisations or participating in specialised social media platforms like Linkedin. A recent vFairs study revealed that 77.2% of respondents actually favour virtual connections and events over in-person gatherings, primarily because they found this more convenient and accessible to attend.

By building a strong list of like-minded professional contacts, employees can gain access to many new opportunities, expand their knowledge and skills, and receive support and guidance from others working in the same field, which can also improve the overall quality of an employee’s work and drive their own professional growth.

networking within your organisation

Networking doesn’t just have to be with those outside of a company, it can also be extremely beneficial when conducted internally. This approach is particularly impactful in large work environments, as it allows employees to connect with colleagues from various departments and presents a chance for collaboration and teamwork, paving the way for enhanced workplace productivity and innovation. A study by Personnel Psychology revealed that internal networking reduces the likelihood of employee turnover by 140%.

how networking opportunities can improve employee engagement

Employees who have built and developed both their professional and internal networks and contact lists are much more likely to feel motivated and satisfied within their role and be committed to the business they work for. These dynamic exchanges not only promote personal and professional growth but also presents the chance to gain valuable knowledge from these contacts and the possibility to collaborate which can improve the quality of work they produce and overall job satisfaction. According to a study by HR Cloud, 85% of employees are more motivated when they have effective internal communications.

So, what exactly can organisations do to encourage networking and improve their employee engagement? Here are some strategies:

1. encourage social events

Team-building activities or events can provide employees with great opportunities to connect and build relationships outside of a work environment. These types of events can either be on a team-building day out or conducted virtually in the form of a quiz or digital game. These are all effective ways to help break down barriers between departments or teams and create a more collaborative and supportive workplace culture. Encouraging social events can also demonstrate that the organisation values the well-being and happiness of its employees, which can lead to a positive work culture and increase overall engagement.

2. foster mentoring programmes

Pairing employees with mentors in the workplace that have more experience or expertise in a particular area can provide guidance, training opportunities, support, and networking opportunities. Research shows that those intending to remain within an organisation for more than 5 years are twice as likely to have a mentor. Mentors can help mentees navigate the workplace, build their skills, and expand their list of professional contacts. Virtual mentoring sessions offer a convenient and seamless experience for both mentors and mentees, streamlining the process for enhanced collaboration and learning.

Internal mentorship programs also create a sense of community within an organisation and provide a platform for knowledge-sharing and career development. By investing in these types of programmes, employers can demonstrate their commitment to the growth and development of their staff, which can lead to increased engagement and loyalty.

3. promote cross-functional collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration involves bringing together employees from different departments or areas of expertise to work together on a project or task. By working with like-minded colleagues from other areas of the organisation, employees can gain new perspectives, learn new skills, and build relationships with colleagues they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact with. This type of collaboration can lead to the creation of innovative solutions and the improvement of current processes, as employees bring their unique expertise and knowledge to the table. By promoting cross-functional collaboration, businesses can create a more collaborative workplace culture, which can enhance overall employee engagement and satisfaction.

4. provide training and development opportunities

Training and development programs can help employees to build new skills, expand their knowledge, and explore potential progression paths. By providing opportunities for growth, employers can demonstrate their commitment to their staff member’s development and create a culture of continuous learning.

And leveraging cutting-edge technology, training and development can all take place virtually and seamlessly.

By focusing on networking as a means of improving employee engagement, organisations can create a culture of collaboration, innovation, and teamwork. This can lead to increased productivity, better performance, and a more engaged and satisfied workforce.

looking ahead…

Measuring and improving employee engagement is crucial for the success of any business. By taking the time to recognise the impact of networking on employee engagement, organisations can develop targeted strategies to foster connections and build relationships among employees both virtually and in-person. Doing so will help create a long-term performance-driven mindset, and a workplace culture that supports engagement, productivity, and growth.

You can find out more about employee engagement here.

Author: Hannah Walters – Freelance Writer

Photo credit: Oleksandr Canary Islands

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