Professional networking is a duty which splits most managers – some love the chance to grab a glass of wine and get to know other HR heads but others hate the forced interaction and apparent falseness of it all. Whichever camp you’re in, you can’t deny that networking is important.
Julia Hobsbawm, the world’s first professor of networking, says HR professionals must resolve to broaden their business connections in 2015 – to benefit both their career and their health.
According to Hobsbawm, meaningful networks – business or otherwise – play a crucial role in keeping us happy as well as productive. Establishing and maintaining them might seem like hard work but it’ll pay off in the end.
“Think of [networking] as a kind of fitness,” she suggests. The more you do it, the easier it gets and you soon begin to see a range of positive side effects.
Earlier this year academics surveyed 50,000 households and found that wellbeing and happiness levels in those people who had face-to-face connections rather than purely electronic and online connections were far higher.
But it’s not just our general wellbeing that could improve – networking obviously has a significant and positive impact on our careers.
Gemma Lines, head of resourcing at Citigroup said candidates with vast networks are of particularly high value. “We are looking for people who have curiosity and a global outlook – people whose networks are wide, who understand networking is the acquisition of knowledge and ideas,” she said. “Our top people must understand complexity and dilemma, and this requires many perspectives.
However, much like exercise, it can be difficult to find time to network or even make excuses not to but Hobsbawn says it’s imperative that senior leaders “put social health and networking front and centre of their agenda s for 2015.”