I only realized that this was an unconventional idea when I heard the force with which Reid Hoffman made the case for it in his book The Alliance. If you haven’t read the book, you can start with this summary in HBR, and know that it is well worth your time!!
But yes, there are many reasons why a well-networked employee is a major asset to any organization, and why therefore, employers should invest in employee networking, including giving them time off to be able to attend conferences, encouraging them to ask for and give informational interviews, and even investing in it (by paying for membership in professional associations for example.) Here are just a few reasons that
Strong networks enable problem-solving,
As was featured in this recent episode of Anecdotally Speaking, Shawn Callahan’s new podcast, sometimes you just have to call everyone in your network to ask for a favor to solve a major challenge which presents at your job. Your employee is lucky to have you when you have a deep rolodex
A diverse network makes you think better
Networking is an important way to give back, to make our communities stronger
Networking is how I volunteer my time. Countless people have helped me over the years by inspiring me, encouraging me, making me see something in myself that I didn’t recognize, or nudging me towards something that I wouldn’t have thought possible. I see no better way to make the linguistics community stronger than to foster the dreams and facilitate opportunities for the next generation of puzzle-finders and problem-solvers!
It is well-documented that having a sense of purpose makes us all better people, so when you find a sense of purpose by helping others find their sense of purpose, we all get to live in a world where more of us have come alive because we have found our sense of purpose, and I will do everything I can to support that!!