Joining a new company is exciting – you get to meet new people and build relationships. This is at the heart of networking. On a job each day, we network with many people at a time – they could be personnel from another department you only happen to cross paths at the pantry, colleagues from a different team you do not work closely with and even the CEO.
When you share a common space with many others at the workplace, networking is easier, but making the effort itself is imperative, especially if you are a new hire. Why is that so?
Why is it important to network at your new job?
Networking is not just a tool to find a job — it is a strategy to continue building professional and valuable relationships conducive to your career growth. By networking with your new coworkers, you learn more about them as much as they do about you. This can include anything from your professional background to the personal stories you’d like to share, such as those of your family and friends. Networking at a new job is important to increase your visibility and position yourself as a professional with the potential to make a difference. All that without being too pompous. While it is much easier to network with new colleagues in the office settings (i.e. during meetings, lunches or coffee breaks), the virtuality rendered by telecommuting offers a different experience. That said, effectively networking at your new workplace remotely is still possible.
How do you network at a new job remotely?
There are plenty of ways to remotely network at a new job via telecommuting. Here are five of them to get you started.
1. Keep conversations going on messaging platforms
Employers and employees keep in touch via messaging platforms like Slack or Skype on a regular basis, even in the office. These instant messaging platforms are great for one-to-one or group discussions as well as friendly chit-chat among employees. Once you know who your team members are, you can have a conversation with them about the projects you have been assigned or simply chat about work and personal lives. In group chats, you can participate in casual talk where appropriate or contribute to an ongoing discussion whenever possible.
2. Turn on your video during team conferences
Google Meet, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are some of the common telecommuting tools you will use when you begin your remote work. They are an essential communication medium for meetings with internal and external stakeholders. These platforms are also effective for virtual team building activities. In such virtual environments, turning on your camera to allow your coworkers to see you is a good start to building rapport. Let them see you as they would in the office – putting a face to your voice or messages uplifts the remote networking experience greatly.
3. Offer to speak on a call instead of emailing or chatting
Even if video conferencing is always not possible, offering to call your coworkers instead of emailing or chatting is a good way to start a conversation with them. Whenever possible, taking the initiative in such instances is key.
4. Participate actively on internal social media channels
Larger organisations often establish various employee engagement platforms to keep employers up to date with the latest developments in the company. Helmed by the internal communications team, these can be in the form of weekly e-Newsletters and intranet articles. Another medium includes internal social media channels – a popular one being Workplace by Facebook where employees can update, just like their Facebook feeds, new developments in their jobs, such as an event, a promotion or a new team member like yourself. The boss or CEO may also choose to speak to employees directly on such platforms, bridging the communication between management and the people. Employees can also create groups that rally employees together based on like-minded recreational interests, such as parenting or sports.
If you do have access to such a platform, connect with your team members and those in other departments, take part in conversations that relate to you and make great work friends along the way!
5. Attend virtual events hosted by your company
On-the-ground events are usually a great networking opportunity. Virtual events offer similar leverage. If there are virtual events your new company has planned, be sure to join these as well.