Weekend Poll Results: How Your Networking Benefits Your Employer

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … How does your networking benefit your employer?

Almost a third of you have achieved financial savings or gains for your employers

It’s often said that assistants are extensions of their executives, and so it was unsurprising to me to see that 31% of you have been able to contribute to your employers’ financial wellbeing. For example, some of you reported having facilitated introductions that led to new business or revenue. Others have negotiated advantageous rates for travel or events as a result of your networking.

In some instances, it was preemptive advice on your part that helped prevent your employer from making a poor choice, or selecting an inferior product or service. Some of you, like me, have network contacts who (with their employers’ knowledge and consent) were able to share research. That can be significant, not only in terms of the financial cost of undertaking the research, but also in expediting decision making. Of course, no company should rely solely on an external party’s research, but it can certainly help validate and affirm decision making.

Others among you have negotiated shared services with one or more network members, resulting in cost efficiencies. Other readers’ networking led to negotiation of reduced payroll service fees.

These are all wins. Are there similar opportunities within your networks that you’ve yet to tap?

 

Why reinvent the wheel?

The vast majority (91%) of readers have network contacts who can share non-confidential templates. Almost as many (78%) respondents could turn to a network contact for non-confidential SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that you or a colleague could adapt to your employer’s benefit.

 

Facilitating introductions, and sharing of expertise

While many of the benefits of networking may be specific to your role, the opportunities are broader ranging. A few years ago, for example, our organisation was embarking on development of an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) system. ERM represents a planned approach to assessing and managing potential risks to an organisation. it’s a strategic approach that includes development of risk appetite statements.

Attending a weekend certification course offered by a governance association, I sat at a table with a VP from another organisation that was out of the gate early with respect to developing its own ERM system. While we were both clearly mindful of boundaries and respectful of confidentiality, I walked away from that weekend with both a certificate and a well informed contact I was able to introduce to one of our VPs.

Sharing new insights and skills with colleagues

More than a couple of readers noted the ability to take what they’ve learned at a network meeting (or conference) and then share their new knowledge with colleagues. This can take many forms, not the least of which is technical tips that can lead to increased efficiencies within an office.

 

Elevating your professionalism

Have a look at the data, below. You’ll see that readers cited the ability to communicate more effectively as a result of not only enhanced confidence but also through working on their public speaking skills. Readers also attributed a better understanding of strategic planning, enhanced knowledge of emerging issues and risks, and stronger leadership skills to their networking.

 

Evolution of the way in which you approach networking

Just as this career is evolving, it may be worth reevaluating how you can contribute to, and gain from, your networks. While readers reported that they enhance their technical skills, time management and minute recording skills as a result of their networking, those three traditional skill sets were not among the advantages most cited.

These skills remain critical, but you can and should tap in to your networks for even more strategically focused gains. Bringing this strategic lens to networking can be advantageous for all involved.

 
THE DATA

Note: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.  In instances where more than one person offers similar responses to an open ended question, I typically cluster or paraphrase such responses rather than duplicating all of them.

Through your networking, do you have access to people who would share non-confidential templates you can use in your office? 

  • 91% of respondents: Yes
  •  9% of respondents: No

 

To date, have you made use of templates provided by a networking contact for use in your office?

  • 52% of respondents: No
  • 48% of respondents: Yes 

 

Through your networking, do you have access to people who would share non-confidential SOPs (standard operating procedure) you can adapt for use in your office? 

  • 78% of respondents: Yes
  • 22% of respondents: No

 

 To date, have you made use of/adapted SOPs shared by a networking contact? 

  • 57% of respondents: No
  • 37% of respondents: Yes
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”. One person commented, “I have shared with others who have adapted for their organisation.”

 

Through your networking, have you developed new insights that have strengthened your performance as an admin. professional?

  • 88.5% of respondents: Yes
  • 11.5% of respondents: No

 

Next, I asked readers who confirmed that networking has strengthened their performance as an admin professional to select examples of such improvements. Here they are, in descending order of frequency with which they were mentioned. 

  • I’ve developed more self confidence, which translates to more effective communications
  • I’ve developed/refined my leadership skills
  • I’ve enhanced my public speaking skills, which helps in group and one-on-one meetings
  • I’ve elevated the level of professionalism I bring to the role
  • I’ve enhanced my understanding of corporate strategic planning, and how I can support my organisation’s ability to deliver on its strategic plan
  • I’m more aware of emerging issues/risks, which has had a positive impact on my contributions
  • I’ve elevated my technical skills
  • I’ve enhanced my ability to influence and negotiate
  • I’ve developed a more sophisticated approach to undertakings in general
  • I’ve incorporated time management strategies that benefit the office
  • I’ve improved the quality of minutes I prepare
  • I’ve improved the quality of my writing in general

 

. Have you achieved financial savings/gains for your employer through use of your network(s)? 

  • 65% of respondents: No
  • 31% of respondents: Yes
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”. One person elaborated, “Potentially, through a recent introduction”.

 

Naturally, I then asked those who have achieved financial savings/gains for their employers to identify the nature of such financial benefits. Here they are, in descending frequency of mention.

  • I have facilitated introductions that led to new business/revenue
  • We have negotiated advantageous rates for travel
  • We have negotiated advantageous rates for events
  • I received and shared insight that helped prevent us from going down the wrong path/selecting an inferior product or service
  • Network contacts have shared research that we would otherwise have had to conduct
  • We have negotiated shared services with one or more other network members, and achieved cost efficiencies
  • (We have) negotiated reduced fee for payroll services

 

Have you developed national contacts you could turn to for travel planning as a result of networking?

  • 80% of respondents: Yes
  • 20% of respondents: No

 

Have you developed national contacts you could turn to for travel planning as a result of networking?

  • 83% of respondents: Yes
  • 17% of respondents: No

 

Have you developed national contacts you could turn to for event/venue planning as a result of networking? 

  • 79% of respondents: Yes
  • 21% of respondents: No

 

Have you developed international contacts you could turn to for event/venue planning as a result of networking

  • 76% of respondents: Yes
  • 24% of respondents: No

 

Lastly, I asked readers to identify any other ways in which their employers benefit from their networking. Here’s what you said.

  • I acquire information/tips that I share internally / I share education with colleagues
  • I make business introductions, as there is always someone who knows someone
  • (I am) just a more positive worker and more assertive in getting work performed
  • I work alone a lot so networking has provided me with colleagues I wouldn’t have
  • Venue sourcing / I’ve introduced more venues

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