Employee networks are essential for collaboration and innovation in an organisation. However, they often fail due to a lack of understanding about how they function. Successful networks are built around shared interests and mutual respect, rather than organisational hierarchy. They require careful nurturing and management to thrive.

Key factors for successful networks include trust, shared understanding, and diversity. Trust encourages open communication and risk-taking. Shared understanding ensures everyone is working towards the same goals. Diversity brings different perspectives and fosters innovation.

Leaders play a crucial role in cultivating these factors. They must encourage and model behaviours that promote trust, shared understanding, and diversity. They should also recognise and reward those who contribute to the network’s success.

Tools and technologies can support networks but are not a substitute for human interaction. They should be used to facilitate communication and collaboration, not to control or monitor employees.

Finally, networks must be flexible and adaptable. They should evolve with the needs of the organisation and its employees. This requires ongoing monitoring and adjustment, and a willingness to let go of what’s not working.

In summary, successful employee networks require a combination of the right conditions, leadership, tools, and adaptability.

Go to source article: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-collaborative-organization-how-to-make-employee-networks-really-work/