two employees standing in front of an illustration that portrays their networks

4 Great Reasons to Get Your Employees to Join a Networking Group

Business networking is often seen as something for business owners, partners, or managers – people that are higher up on the hierarchical chain of business. However, networking is a key skill to learn for all business people, whether they’re business owners, sole-traders, or employees.

So, why should you encourage your employees to join networking groups?

Brand Awareness

If you’re already a fan of business networking, you’re surely part of at least one kind of networking group. Whether that’s an industry network, a Chamber of Commerce, or a business networking organisation.

Just one problem: you’ve only got so much time in the day to network.

Luckily enough, you don’t have to be the only person networking for your company!

By encouraging your employees to network, you’re getting more of your people out there, building relationships and finding potential customers. The more awesome people out there representing your business, the more likely it is that your potential customers will find someone they truly connect and want to work with.

The more networks your business can get into, the more people will be aware of your brand. The more people aware of your brand, the more business you’ll get!

Employee Professional Development

When you think of professional development for your staff, you’re probably used to sending them off to industry events, seminars, and courses so they can learn more about specific topics that will benefit their position. Or you’d think of getting an external person in to give a presentation or take a workshop on a specific topic that could help their professional lives. Asking your team members to join a networking group is probably one of the last things you’d think of for their development; they’re not explicitly learning about things within the industry or doing team building to strengthen their role in the team.

What networking does develop in people is their interpersonal skills. It’s an immersive deep dive into communication, sales, public speaking, effective listening, and working within a group. The small group setting allows for professionals to work on building their confidence and relationships with others over time which in turn naturally helps them with build their interpersonal skills.

These skills are often something that is taken for granted, and expected of employees to just know how to do. But there’s nowhere that teaches good communication skills, sales skills, and effective teamwork in a practical business sense. School doesn’t teach you that (except maybe if you studied Commerce), so where do you learn it? Networking!

Engagement with the Company

Trusting your employees to represent the company in a professional setting, like a networking group, can increase how engaged they are with the company and brand. When you give your employees the opportunity to be the face of the company, they feel empowered and recognised as an important part of the company.

They’ll learn to build relationships and keep an eye out for opportunities that can benefit both the company and its clients, which can help your business grow and give your clients a more well-rounded experience. How cool would it be for your employees not only to help your clients with your main products or services, but also help them find solutions for other problems they’re having? We’re sure your clients will appreciate that!

You’ll also give your employees autonomy to find clients and bring them into the company, which may seem like a daunting prospect, but comes with plenty of benefits. They’ll have an opportunity to be ‘front facing’ and build those all-important foundations with potential customers. When they’ve had to work to get those clients and build those relationships with them, they’ll be more invested in those relationships too. And when you encourage them to find those clients, and show them the effect it has on your business, they’ll feel like they’re contributing to the success of the business.

When your employees feel empowered and engaged in the growth and success of your business, they’ll be more invested in growing it to be successful!

Increased Self-Confidence

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, business networking groups are great for boosting confidence.

It’s a safe space where shy or inexperienced employees get to meet other people. They don’t have to fear any sort of rejection because everyone is there to network. Here they can share their expertise and develop genuine relationships with potential customers, collaborators, synergies, and referral partners.

They’re encouraged to present on the business or a related topic, which can be tricky for shy people. To help them overcome their nerves, we have several presentation types, including discussion forums, which are more open and conversational to take the fear of standing up in front of a group and speaking out of the equation.

It’s a case of practice makes better. The more your employees can have these business conversations, share their expertise, and present to groups of people, the better they’ll get at it and the more confident they’ll be. This confidence will surely spill into their work lives, whether that be by bringing on new clients, interacting with customers, or even just working in a team environment.

Business owners, partners, and managers don’t have to be the only people that are networking for your business. It’s a skill that all members of your team should have because it benefits the whole business. From employee engagement and confidence to brand awareness and professional development, it can positively impact all aspects of your business.

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