By: Jordan Brooks

“In business, networking is your way to get ahead.” – literally everyone

Being a business major, I have heard these words quite a few times over the past few years. Google defines networking as an interaction with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career. That’s why I joined a business fraternity on campus—to network. That’s why we join clubs, make friends, hold jobs and talk to our professors—to expand our network. At my age, the point of networking is to be able to get a job. But, once, you get a job that’s when the real networking starts with the internal network of your co-workers. External networking is essential for career development, but it’s internal networking that can help a business create a close-knit culture of employees.

An internal network encompasses all the people you see day to day in the office. Is our relationship strictly professional or are we here to genuinely connect? Personally, I like to be close to the people I work with because it makes coming to work more enjoyable. According to recent studies, social networking can even help boost productivity. Connecting is a vital element to help employees become their best selves and perform their best work.

The process of internal networking has been changing over time. Usually companies would have an outing such as a cookout or retreat. Those might have been successful, but today, in a dynamic workplace, there are other tools to utilize to get the most out of your employees. Below are a couple of takeaways from a recent article in Entrepreneur that helps explain the significance of internal networking and ways to implement it into your business.

1. Network through technology

Businesses should realize the powerful means by which employees can learn and communicate with one another through social media and not see social media as a distraction. By using social, employees can build personal relationships regarding interests and feel more engaged at work. Co-workers can also use technology to communicate, allowing for more personal means of communications such as talking on the phone or by video chat. Having additional ways to communicate on a more personal level can help increase efficiencies and relationships between employees.

2. Increase employees’ confidence

This can be done by supporting employees as they share their voices. It’s crucial to create a workplace in which all people are encouraged to speak up, give advice and take full ownership of their ideas. Executives should train managers to regularly seek input from all team members. As someone who struggles with a confident delivery, being genuinely asked to give input can go a long way in boosting confidence in the long run.

Internal networking and getting to know your fellow employees can lead to better productivity at work and can lead to relationships that last a lifetime. So, maybe networking is your way to get ahead in business – and in life.

What are some ways your business can improve its internal network?