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Cast your network

Published on Friday, 22 Mar 2013
Marc Burrage

Last week, we looked at some of the reasons why the value of face-to-face communication should not be forgotten. This week, we will continue by looking at five ways employees and employers can improving their networking.

First, people should cultivate their “weak ties” – those individuals encountered casually or unexpectedly who could develop into new and useful relationships. Potential networks are everywhere and not always in work-related places.

Next, while technical knowledge of a job role or organisation is assumed in anyone with any professional ambition, “loose knowledge” – what and who we know outside of work – is also relevant. Such information should be exploited appropriately.

The “global green room” – the elite networks that welcome senior people, but remain closed to those further down the chain – stifles creativity. Opening up established groups and sharing knowledge on a more meritocratic basis can revitalise networks.

“Marzipan managers” should be a source of concern for organisations. These employees sit beneath the leadership icing and often feel frustrated at being swamped in a sea of e-mails and paperwork. Responsible employers will encourage them to network for their own benefit and that of the organisation.

Finally, organisations should aspire to be “curious corporations”. Businesses must not be too insular and should be aware of what is happening outside their area of operation. To achieve  this, they must engage with the broader world through external networks to generate new ideas.

Marc Burrage, regional director, Hays in Hong Kong

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