Networking is a term that can create very different feelings in people. Some people relish it and feel energised by it, for others it chills them to the core and they definitely wouldn't regard it as part of their job.
The truth is that everyone should be an ambassador for the business that they work for and should be able to tell people about what their business does.
Just because someone does not need to network to do their job does not mean that they won't encounter potential opportunities to do so. So for this reason, it's worth upskilling your entire team to build a networking culture.
It is important to remember that not everyone feels skilled and comfortable to network, but it's possible to teach the skills to empower your workforce to feel confident doing this and sharing news of the business.
So how can you go about this?
1. Explain why networking can be useful to everyone in the business
2. Ensure everyone can deliver an elevator pitch - consider running a competition to ask everyone to write their own! Then help those who don't feel comfortable/whose elevator pitches need some enhancing
3. Identify what the fears are of people who don't feel comfortable networking, and address these (could be lacking confidence, not comfortable with strangers, not understanding the point of networking)
4. Encourage people to develop an approach to networking that they feel comfortable with. For example, they might want to ask for an introduction to someone, instead of approaching someone cold
5. Remember that even natural networkers might benefit from support to refine their approach
6. Finally, never force anyone. Your people are the voice and face of your company, and it's not right to force anyone to do something they do not feel comfortable doing. It will only backfire
Networking is now considered to be part of the job in many businesses, but it often takes an ad-hoc form with individual employees networking as they see fit.