An article in ManagingTechnology@Wharton from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has an excellent piece related to your employees and their value in the company in terms of their networks and networking abilities.
Mapping out the communication networks and social networks may be a very valuable tool for your organization. Yet another factor to consider before downsizing or when evaluating the contributions of the people in your organization.
Sometimes it’s not what you know….but who you know that makes you valuable.
Some quotes from the article:
“Hopefully, you have organized your company the best way to get the job done,” she says. “But mapping out a network will give you a sense of whether actual work flow and communication flow match what you hope to achieve. Maybe there are bottlenecks where one person is managing all interactions. If you expect two groups to work together closely, and you don’t see them doing this, you might want to create liaison roles or other relationships to make information flow better. On the other hand, you may see groups talking to each other too much. When managers see network diagrams, they often realize they need to reconfigure their organizational chart.”
“Network maps may also unearth what are known as “cosmopolitans” — the employees who are most critical to information flow in the company. “The formal organizational structure [in companies] does not necessarily describe who talks to whom,” says Valery Yakubovich, a University of Chicago professor “
“Often you find that people you might not even think of as very valuable turn out to be important links in the structure of the organization.”
“If a firm is contemplating downsizing, for example, it had better be prepared for serious disruption in the workplace if it lets such important people go. Indeed, maps of social networks often show that the people with the most impressive titles are not as vital to an organization as their position would indicate.”
ManagingTechnology@Wharton, Connecting the Corporate Dots: Social Networks Reveal How Employees and Companies Operate (Article)