Fast Company published an article titled “The 4 People You Need For An Awesome Network” and like most stuff they put out, it was great! Here’s a taste:
“Start with the Socialite. “If you’re not actively filling the role of Happy Hour Coordinator Extraordinaire,” Augustine writes, “you should befriend whoever is–and quick.” This is the friendly neighborhood super-connector, the person who will intro you to all the people you need to know.
And within that crew, you’ll find an Older Sibling that’s yearning to be a mentor. She can help you find the supply closet, navigate office politics, and vouch for your side hustles.
Another expert you need is the IT Guru: You don’t want to be stuck hapless while waiting for the IT ticket to be resolved, Augustine observes, so you better have a tech-knowledgable colleague that you can lean on in times of buggy need.
But office friendships aren’t just take-take-take; that would be ungracious. Be on the lookout for the Helpless Newbie: If someone is more doe-eyed than you, they could probably use a kind word–which could launch a career.”
It’s a strong list and everyone should have these 4 types of folks in their “inner-circle” for sure. The article did make me think about whom it is I have and would recommend to other HR pros to have in their network to make them a better HR Pro. Here’s my list:
1. A Money Girl. The one thing you’ll need to be effective in HR is a budget that allows you to do basic blocking and tackling of the job. So often I see HR pros struggle because they can’t even fund the “basics.” It’s usually because they’ve gone through years of budget reduction and throwing their department on the proverbial sword. A great relationship with a peer in finance will help stop this trend and actually reverse it!
2. Nerd. Like the Fast Company article–it’s really a non-negotiable in my network–I have to have a great IT pro on my side. Great HR takes great IT solutions to be the most efficient and effective you can be.
3. Used Car Salesman. Most HR Pros don’t know how to make money. You need someone in your network that will help you think like a business person. Someone who will show you how to communicate like a profit center, not a cost center. It’s not that you have to actually make money, but you need to run your HR shop like you could if you had to.
4. Trusted Adviser. My last network must-have is a strong relationship with a senior level executive who is not in your functional area. I love to have these people be from operations, but really any area will do. Why not your own function? You sometimes need to run ideas and things by someone who isn’t your boss–to get real feedback. Set this relationship up as a mentor and tell them it’s for your development, have regular time set on their calendar and come prepared to seek out their advice. You have no idea how this will help you down the road within your organization!
Who would you add to you must-have network relationships?
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.