Networking and T&D’s Uncovering the Unconnected Employee

The May issue of T&D (Training and Development, the ASTD monthly magazine) had an interesting article on networking and the value of establishing and promoting business networking. While the article is not online, there is a related podcast for this).

The article by Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon focuses on the phrase “unconnected employees,” by which they mean “employees who lack the skills to build effective business relationships.” As I find business and academic networking a challenge, I thought at times they were writing this article about / for me!

They describe 8 ways that employees who do not network can hurt a business:

  1. They get off to a slow start as new hires
  2. They are less productive
  3. They don’t make it their business to recruit
  4. They don’t know how to make their expertise known so it can be used, and so they can advance in their careers
  5. They are less successful as managers
  6. They make poor decisions
  7. They aren’t creative and innovative
  8. They fail to bring back business intelligence from conferences

Wow, do I have a lot of work to do, especially having just returned from the ASTD conference last week!

While I am not sure how the authors created their list (there was a mention in the article about the literature, yet I would like to have seen something a bit more methodological so I can read more about this, especially from an evidence-based perspective), the list does in fact seem to make some sense to me. The authors speak briefly about each of these, though I hope they consider writing a follow-up with more concrete suggestions for how to address each of these.

To take a concrete first step in addressing these issues in my own professional practice, I revised my LinkedIn profile and am committing to try to leverage the system. Take a look at it; any suggestions are most appreciated!

View Jeffrey Keefer's profile on LinkedIn


6 thoughts on “Networking and T&D’s Uncovering the Unconnected Employee

  1. This is probably my biggest challenge. It’s really hard to argument how networking makes your life easier and more fun to a colleague who is clueless… I guess the idea is to do it yourself and mentor someone who has formal or informal leadership to start networking, in order to spread the habit over time.

  2. Mathieu, it seems we share in this alike!

    What I am doing is starting slowly, and I have done something concrete in this each day since I returned from the conference. I updated my LinkedIn profile, I am commenting on more blog entries that I like or otherwise want to respond to, and am trying to be more responsive to answering on Twitter.

    Of the list above, the one that most interests me is “They don’t know how to make their expertise known so it can be used, and so they can advance in their careers.” This is something I have never focused upon in my blog or otherwise via social media, and will make this a priority in the next week or so (a week is a workable amount of time for me).

  3. I just noticed the LinkedIn link is not working. It does not seem to be working for other people’s profiles either; must be their internal problem?

  4. One of my biggest frustration so far since I have started my new job is that there is no mandatory employee profile for people in IT… I know that we have the expertise in house for a lot of projects, but I have to rely on asking my close colleagues to find out.

    Another related issue is transparency. I don’t care if people see what I do in a day (in fact, I want people to know it – could save my butt someday since I have Web2.0 alibi), but some people are more private. And they want to keep control over their resources by applying a fat copyright on everything.

    Opening your mind to Creative Commons is another step in sharing your expertise.

  5. Mathieu, I think you hit on the very problem of knowledge management itself! Everything from “why should I add that?” to “If I tell you everything, you no longer need me here.”

    Perhaps networking such as this is intended to do just what we are doing–engaging in conversation, Tweets, LinkedIn, etc., and if I post something I am looking for (and vice-versa) and you see it, there is already a basic relationship so there is more likelihood for some reciprocity?

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