Networking for a Great Work Culture
Millennials, who presently dominate the corporate space, prefer workplaces that encourage a stronger connect between the employees and the organization. This is extended from the knowledge economy that builds on unending networks between individuals, and on the minimum barrier to the flow of information. In order to fulfil the millennials’ expectations, and to leverage these relationships, HR managements are working towards building effective organizational social capital — enabling stronger networking connections both within and outside the organization.
Organizational social capital consists of relationships brought about by content, knowledge and experience driven by fellow employees and management, not excluding the business and the social networks, thus transcending beyond organizations. In a knowledge driven organization, people are better engaged because they are working with people with whom they can relate to, as a large part of their lives are spent in organizations.
Building Social Capital
Organizations that maintain an employee centric culture have been able to nurture a strong social capital. The main reason behind this is that these organizations successfully cultivate relationships at different levels with a flat structure to ease the flow of information. It reduces the need for instruction as the way of operating changes and builds reciprocity between people. The strong bonds built between employees lead to the evolution of a highly integrated working environment.
Barriers to building social capital
Two key factors pose as the barriers towards building social capital.
Structure — The biggest barrier in building a social capital is the rigid organizational structure. These organizations follow top-down hierarchy and flow of information has many barriers. This takes away the sense of belongingness from the employees and they start working in silos.
Culture — The result centric organizations mostly end-up focusing only on professional development, overlooking the need of healthy social equity at work place. Such organizations fail in integrating a diverse workforce.
Way forward for developing Social Capital
● Activities right from onboarding that enable the employees to get to know each other formally or informally, and help create cohesive teams
● Communication initiatives irrespective of the hierarchy, which enable connections to emerge
● Creating practice communities, interest groups, forums for knowledge and informal information exchange across teams and business units
● Informal activities, including workshops, trips, participation in external events etc., which bring people together.
● Enable horizontal and diagonal relationships beyond the organizational hierarchy.
Building on Networks to sustain talent
Social capital, thus, has a direct impact on productivity, innovation, and the sense of well-being that the employees can feel. This implies that the onus lies not with individual employees by themselves, but with the interconnectivity developed between and outside the organization. HR, hence, focuses on building these key relationships, while at the same time rendering assistance for the individual to grow.
In current times, organizations rely less on owned assets, individual knowledge and content. The new advantage is the context—how internal and external knowledge is interpreted, combined, made sense of, and converted to new products and solutions. Investment mainly lies in acquiring the right talent and building up on networks to sustain that talent. The key among them is that, which can be accessed and maintained, rather than that, which can be controlled.