Last week I had the great pleasure of going to the Warwick Business School Women’s Network meetup.

I’ve been a committee member for over 5 years now, and I still get a thrill from seeing the great views from the top of the Shard overlooking London!

Plus I get to suggest great topics to discuss and this one was all about social capital. 

A recent report by McKinsey & Company showed that there has been a significant impact on the state of professional networks since the increase of working from home.

With fewer chances to network in person, the onus is on individuals to carve out time to network and schedule in catch ups with people to grow their network. 

This also has an impact on how companies grow their internal networks, i.e. the way you can get things done in an organisation. We all know that one person in the office who knows everyone and can always get things done by calling in a few favours.

What sets that person apart in that situation, is that they have a greater social capital, and it’s clear how that social capital benefits their careers. 

The clients work with are mainly scale ups in the tech world who are either 100% remote, or who have a very hybrid structure, and I have seen how the phenomenon of social capital impacts their ability to grow their business.

For these businesses to thrive, there has to be intentionally designed activities or online spaces for people to connect with each other, or sometimes even more formal structures in place.

One powerful way I have seen this work is through training, where people can get to know each other beyond the scope of tasks in the day job and build networks across the business. This cross functional collaboration is often an outcome desired by our clients for our bespoke leadership development programmes, and it works! 

At the WBS event,  Skyler Xie shared his research about the power of low performers in your organisation. Counter intuitive right? But here is the thing, when a manager helps a low performer to improve their performance, and gets other people to help them too, it builds a culture of support and learning. This obviously benefits the low performers, but it also helps the high performers to build social capital with their teammates. This then increases the overall performance of the team as the low performer improves! So everyone goes up! 

Now we have a growing market of remote first companies, I think the investment into social capital needs to also come from the organisations themselves so that they can build: 

1) an excellent learning organisation

2) greater collaboration across the business 

3) a culture of helping each other 

4) greater social capital which ultimately helps your business work better 

5) a culture of high performance 

If you want to chat about how Slate Digital can help you to think differently about your social capital, your leadership and your training, then reach out to connect with me.