engage magazine issue 005 \\\'07 - Page 15

DIVERSITY NETWORK 15 Employee Networks Also consider those based in other locations especially if your company is geographically spread over locations. Use technology to connect to main events and consider having local chapters. 6. Check regularly what your members want Networks exist for the benefit of the members not the committee and it pays to constantly seek feedback after you do events and when planning strategy. You can also involve members in subgroups working on tasks which keeps you focused on members needs. 7. Remember ‘small is beautiful’ Not all of us work in large companies and we might be in medium sized companies where we are too large to know everyone but not as big as a multinational in which there is funding for employee networks. A simple idea to start up a network is to create a space in the week where people can meet at a certain location. This might be at morning coffee time 10.30 every Friday morning at the canteen. If there is no space internally it might be at a local venue on a certain evening every week. With no formal agenda this just presents the opportunity for people to connect informally. It is important to align the aims of the network with business goals. E.g. recruitment, development, retention and business development. 4. Profile Your Network When you have a Network marketing your activities is essential. It’s important that your Network is seen as mainstream and that people know who to connect to for more information, especially at the committee level. Using the company intranet is a useful tool to do this. 3. Ensure Senior Sponsorship For Networks to succeed they need the direct backing of Senior Management. Your committee might meet for an hour every fortnight but between that members might be very busy organising events and planning initiatives. It’s important you have support ideally from the Board and they are in favour of your aims. Having managers positively support and reward network involvement is an ideal. 5. Ensure Inclusivity Networks should be open to all. Although you might have a women’s network you might consider a male senior sponsor and ensure that events are open to everyone across the Firm. It’s important that all Networks are used to bring people together not to divide. This article was written by Steven D’Souza, author of the forthcoming book, ‘Brilliant Networking’, published by Prentice-Hall in November 2007. ISSUE FIVE 2007 engage | uk