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Women's networks – love them or loathe them?

Women’s networks have received some bad press over the past few years, despite many success stories. Today, in support of International Women’s Day 2018, HR Consulting from Spinnaker Global want to share their love of these networks – which remain a relatively new concept within some parts of maritime.

Networking is key in developing and maintaining relationships, and is a great tool to help individuals achieve their work and career goals. However, as many businesses remain male dominated at the top, the opportunity to create a level playing field within which women can compete is unlikely to happen naturally. Women’s Networks are just one example of ‘positive action’ that employers can take to increase the opportunities for women in the workforce, and support all individuals (regardless of their gender) to reach their full potential.

Why do women join these networks?

• Great networking opportunities
• Receive advice and support to advance your career
• Enable you to better understand of the business
• Help and support others through shared experiences

What’s in it for the business?

• Positive impact on retention through talent management, integration and commitment
• Enhanced communication flow between divisions
• Organisational learning through coaching and mentoring
• Enhanced reputation, with more female role models and a culture where flexibility is supported for men and women

If you have a network at your place of work, are you part of it? If there isn’t one, could you suggest setting one up?

Some ideas for getting started…

• Networks can be started by an individual or the company, with support from HR where available
• Set clear aims and objectives from the start, and establish a group of women with capacity and willingness to help
• Identify a leader but consider rotating that role, which can be demanding
• Asses funding requirements and business benefits – you will need to demonstrate value back to the business and agree success measures
• Give your network a name that reflects who and what it is for, to give you a clear identity and purpose
• Think about your members – your network could be open to women only, executive women only or include men (to raise awareness among men about issues that affect women)
• Consider the location of staff and set up networks accordingly, liaising with other internal diversity networks where they exist

HR Consulting from Spinnaker Global are passionate about supporting women in maritime. Find out more here.

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