In 10 year’s leading and working with over 100 global talent acquisition teams I’ve found there is only one thing more powerful than your resume: your professional network. I’ve playfully dubbed mine my, “council of elders” and naturally one of the first questions I get from professionals at all levels of HR when I speak at conferences is: How do I build my own. Here’s what I recommend.
1. Choose your venting partner wisely
One of my top pieces of advice came from my boss’s boss, an executive of a Tech 50 SaaS company. He shared the words above. Why? Too often we vent to our teammates. The problem with venting is that sometimes it can make a small problem gain even more steam (also things you share make their way to the rest of the group (remember the game, “Telephone”?). God forbid your peer uses that info to go for the promotion you were targeting. Find a venting partner at the peer or management level in another department that you trust. Not only will they often give you a unique perspective but in return by being there to listen and advise in their challenges you form a strong bond as you both climb the corporate ladder.
2. Encourage your team to go two levels above
I’ve always encouraged the teams I’ve managed to have the opportunity to go one or two levels above me for a conversation. I do this for a few reasons. One, it encourages them to explore a larger perspective on your team goals. Two, no matter what level of their careers, this gives them an avenue to build relationships outside of our team. Lastly, this lets them seek out other mentors across your HR team (maybe your top recruiter bonds well with the Head of Employee Benefits).
3. Identify hiring managers you trust
The relationship between HR and Hiring Managers (HM) usually ranges from lukewarm to precarious. Too often the HM don’t see the value in their talent team. I encourage the talent leaders I work with to spend a large portion of their time here to start and secure these relationships. There’s no substitute for honest and constructive criticism and you’ll be amazed with the effect that comes from you simply listening. Why? You’re both on the same team and the sooner you can build that bridge the sooner you’ll see an improved talent acquisition experience. As your (and their) career progresses, these relationships will offer you a unique perspective.
In closing, we all have the chance to improve the job we love by building a larger network professional network. This can be the key to not only our progression but the progression of those around our company.
I look forward to your feedback and questions at @AndreJBoulais.