As the global pandemic (hopefully) wanes and employees return to their offices, this study by executive recruitment and consulting behemoth Korn Ferry observes that, in a recent poll, 35 percent of employees identified the opportunity to network as the function they most look forward as they return to in-office work.
As employees return and resume the networking that existed prior to 2020, however, many have fallen out of practice these past two years and will want to brush up on their approach.
In this article, Korn Ferry dives into a few suggestions to make employees’ ease back into professional network an easier one.
Be respectful as the social distances have changed
For starters, what to talk about it? Start with the pandemic, the recruitment firm urges. Use it to assess how the other person feels about returning to normalcy and to assess also whether they might be returning with any new perspectives or boundaries. “Be respectful, and move on when it feels appropriate,” Korn Ferry urges.
A way of learning and contributing
Also, adjust your perspective on networking and view it instead as “a way of learning, having interesting conversations, and contributing ideas,” Korn Ferry career coach Frances Weir urges. And plan ahead.
Follow up with your new contacts
There is no need to over plan, but ponder your elevator speech, including how you would introduce yourself and your function. Exchange business cards and don’t forget to follow up with your new contacts.
Knowing a colleague
Two final recommendations: Networking is usually an external, out-of-office undertaking, but not always. When you cross paths with fellow employees you may not know, take the initiative of starting conversation and leaving that conversation knowing a colleague you previously did not know.
Conferences remains a networking must
Finally, conferences continue to be a networking must. Attend them and use them for networking purposes. “Events are coming back on a smaller scale, which offers you a chance to stand out and access people more easily,” this Korn Ferry report concludes.