With today (11th May) marking the annual National Staff Networks Day, now is the ideal time to determine your organisation’s stance on Employee Networks. If we have a whole awareness day dedicated to them, they must be important right? Right.
What are employee networks?
Employee networks provide a safe space for your people to engage in open and honest dialogue. They contribute to creating inclusive workplace environments and building a sense of community, while also facilitating employee engagement.
Employee networks are also an incredibly powerful way to engage people in equality, diversity and inclusion. Notably, they play a key role in encouraging and supporting employees to identify, highlight and overcome any disparities that may exist within your organisation or risks to equity.
Crucially, they are built by employees, for employees.
What are the benefits of an employee network?
- Employee networks provide a voice for those from under-represented groups. They are uniquely able to increase the understanding of equality issues among employees, share information and enable employees to support one another.
- Networks are in a unique position to create awareness about the needs and aspirations of the employee groups they represent. They provide a route for change, allowing employees to make a difference within their organisation. Taking a risk-based approach, with full trust in your committee, leads to a supported and engaged network.
- Networks can introduce role models who can powerfully share their journey and experiences in navigating the work environment and career ladder. Participants can discuss how they managed their career and avoided visible characteristics becoming a barrier to progression (gender, race, disability etc).
- They provide a safe space for employees to discuss sensitive issues.
Organised by a group of volunteers, employee networks require commitment, passion, time and effort, as well as the backing of an organisation and its senior leadership that values and supports them. Line managers need to appreciate the importance of the network, showing support and providing resource when required. Network achievements can also be recognised as part of the appraisal process, objectives and KPIs.
Our seasoned CIPD-qualified HR practitioners at Tell Jane are on hand to support in setting up employee networks within your business. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.