How to build an internal network
Make the most of your internal network
Networking is essential for building strong relationships and improving organisations, so don't miss out on building your own internal network.
One major thing we all frequently overlook is how visible we are within our own organisations. Very often we are so focused on doing a great job and working well with our immediate colleagues that we lose sight of the larger internal networking picture. According to research from Catalyst, women pursue career development within their own organisations more than external opportunities. It makes sense that some energy and effort have to be focused on raising our visibility in our wider workplace.
Remember your network is your net worth.
Become more visible
Creating a network of strong relationships at all levels in any organization is invaluable for everyone and will help you successfully get things done. Very often these relationships are the cement that oil the machine of our working day. It might be the fixer, or someone who knows the organisational short cuts, or a colleague whose brain you can pick. But very importantly there is the key person who is familiar with navigating office politics.
Networking is also allowing you to add value and showcase skills that will help your colleagues and stakeholders be successful in their roles. It’s a win/win. At its core, it’s unofficial collaboration that keeps you top of mind when an opportunity arises.
Sometimes networking can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to. Our Returner Roll-Up Session can help you with Getting back on the Networking Horse.
Who should be in your internal network
Take a look across the organisation and map out key players. They are not always the most senior or influential. Being on good terms with procurement, catering and IT can be really useful in times of need.
- A peer network. Your immediate team and peers are your first priority. Invite people for coffee or an informal lunch to get a better understanding of what they do and whether there is any potential for synergy.
- Look across functions. Build relationships with people in other departments that you may interact with. Get a feeling of how the organisation as a whole gels together. A simple question about what their job entails or asking what they are working on will be enough for them to share valuable information.
- The hierarchy. Having an understanding of how the structure of the organisation works is important. It will help you grasp the politics and personalities of those major decision makers. In a hierarchical company it will the executive assistants and PAs who traditionally act as gatekeepers who will be key to developing that understanding. In flatter organisations which tend to be more informal, access to the people themselves will be easier in the cafeteria or corridors. Even saying hello and making eye contact is a way of making your presence felt.
- Senior leadership. Depending on where you sit in the hierarchy yourself a good way to interact with the people two levels above you are to ask for a mentor. There might be an official programme within your company or if not push a request through HR or your own boss to facilitate the request.
- Key players - every company has rain makers and movers and shakers. As a bare minimum you should know who they are.
Create a networking plan
- Identify some internal networking priorities. Who should you connect with and why? Be clear how you can help them.
- Arrange one networking meeting a week, whether lunch or coffee, to get a better understanding of their function and their challenges.
- Remember you are not asking for anything other than knowledge transfer. Finding out how they spend their day, who they interact with, what are their goals and problems. This is all helpful information.
If your career focus is within your current company, an internal network is not just helpful - it is indispensable. You won’t be able to get ahead if no one knows who you are.
Building relationships is crucial for success in your organisation. 3Plus can help you - contact us now.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
JUNE 6-8TH 2019 - OMBUDSPERON EUROPEAN WOMEN’S LOBBY BRUSSELS
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
The dangers of long term unemployment for women are different to the problems that men could face. We need to take a look at what the problems are, and how we can best handle them.read more
AI branding is sexist, as it is designed through a sexist lens. But why is this a problem for the real world?read more
If we rename soft skills as essential skills, will people finally give them the recognition they deserve?read more