Have we been doing networking wrong all our lives?

Consider the following statements:

  1. I frequently catch up with colleagues from different departments, and
  2. I use company events to make new contacts.

A study that followed 279 employees over the course of two years to understand what predicted career-success, found that agreement with either of these statements, significantly predicted their current salary, the salary growth trajectory over two years, and their career satisfaction.

Which group do you think had better salary / career outcomes – the one that went with the first statement (focusing on network-management) or the second (focusing on building new connections)?

Here’s the finding: agreeing with the first statement predicted close to half of the variance in salary growth and career satisfaction while focusing on meeting new people (second statement) was much less important!

Net net, existing colleagues matter more than new contacts. I learnt this while reading Social Chemistry by Marissa King. However this applies only to work-colleagues + when money / career-growth is the desired outcome.

Outside of work, it is new friends – not the old – who make us happier and create a greater sense of well-being.

Marissa King, Social Chemistry

So have we been doing networking wrong all our lives (trying to get more professional contacts at work and sticking to same old friends outside of work)? You tell me.

This post is part of my LHE series.

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