In many fields of business, networking is the new buzzword. Managers and business consultants who become too enamored with this idea may begin to claim that networking is the solution for all ills when it comes to business and employee relations. Unfortunately, along with its many advantages, networking does present some drawbacks that need to be addressed if it is to remain a positive rather than a negative influence within the workplace.
Not all networking leads to successful business relationships. For every networked contact that develops into a mutually beneficial transaction, there are many others that lead nowhere. Because of this, the resources that are used in networking, including management and employee hours, computer equipment and telephone bills, need to be taken into account in their totality when determining the net value of networking. Discrimination when determining which contacts are worth pursuing can greatly reduce the percentage of wasted resources that are involved in networking activities.
Competition for Employees
While most businesses can benefit from close relationships with other businesses, these interactions are not always purely beneficial. If you employ individuals who are less than satisfied with your working conditions, remuneration or other elements of your workplace, they may be lured away by your competition. The more networking that is engaged in by business owners and their employees, the more opportunity there is for this type of inter-corporate employee piracy. This is not to say that cutting off relationships with other businesses is desirable or even possible, only that both the benefits and the potential drawbacks should be kept in mind.
In the world of business, time is indeed money. The cultivation of network contacts within your own company and throughout the business world requires a great deal of time, particularly when it involves personal relationships, socializing and the development of interpersonal trust. Unlike the world outside of business, all of these things need to be weighed against their profitability and usefulness for the success of the company. In many cases, networking is transformed into mere socializing and ends up doing little to promote either the business objectives of management or the job security of employees.
Social Networking and Employees
Social networking sites have become a dominant force on the Internet. For managers of workplaces in which employees have access to the Internet, this can become a potential problem. Particularly in cases where employees are unmotivated and lack a commitment to the work they are doing for the company, personal networking objectives may take precedence over work responsibilities. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this problem since the Internet has become so central to business activities, and a company would be crippled if it denied its employees online access.