Does your organisation’s performance management review process assess for softer skills such as building professional networks, as well as technical skills?  If yes, it might be worth rethinking how you go about it.  Some studies suggest that different people approach networking in different ways – and that to mark down those who, on the face of it, don’t seem to excel at building and maintaining professional relationships might be to miss a trick. Particularly if you find that certain groups within your organisation aren’t progressing through the ranks as you might like.

It might be that you have to reframe what networking is all about for a millennial, i.e. more altruistic, audience for example.  Or it might be about providing coaching around networking to mitigate against any blocks that might be socio-economic in nature.  

Insights gained through work with our clients have shown that, sometimes, certain groups won’t even try for promotion because they don’t feel connected to the people at the top of their organisation.  Their life experiences have been different and, as a result, they don’t feel there is much common ground around which connections can be forged.  Our advice to clients where people feel this way: reach out yourselves; connect with people on a human level; show what you have in common - and then see how their networks and performance evolves.