Most HR Directors in Asia still use networking as a top career development tool, says a new study. Undertaken by Hays, the international recruitment firm, the research surveyed more than 500 HR Directors from the Asian countries of China, Japan, Honk Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.
Here are the findings of the study:
- Professional Networking to keep up with emerging trends (56%): What is interesting to note is the fact that despite the buzz around technology, virtual conferences, and digital meets, 73% still prefer networking events as opposed to 57%, who chose technical events as the more preferred way to keep abreast of trends.
- Social Media used to network with HR Peers (41%): With 88% of the respondents choosing LinkedIn as their social channel of choice, the writing is on the wall. However, 47% also use Facebook, and 40% use WeChat. Unsurprisingly, 91% of the respondents from mainland China used WeChat for networking.
- Continuing education was also a priority for HR professionals to keep a track of the trends and developments in the industry.
Simone Lance, Managing Director of Hays in Greater China says in the report, “Plugging into every aspect of the business where they hold a senior role was also considered crucial to being a successful HR director... HR is an increasingly dynamic career choice and to truly partner with the business, HR leaders need to keep up with the constant changes taking place across most industries and professions in Asia, but also the world.”
It is a tad bit surprising that, in times when a majority of people spend their time in the virtual world, networking in the real world (the old-school way) trumps technical events and social media. Maybe the attention, connection and personalization that accompany the combination of a handshake and exchange of business cards, is far more effective than a passive ‘like’ or ‘share’ on social media. Although India is not listed in the countries where the study was undertaken, rising access to the internet would have probably resulted in a narrower margin between the two factors, and in all probability, Whatsapp would have given a tough competition to Facebook for the second spot after LinkedIn.
Networking breaks at events and conferences are potentially great opportunities to meet like-minded individuals from the industry. Often, long-term professional associations and even personal friendships are born at such events. However, more than the personality, one needs to rely on some easy tips and tricks to make the most of such opportunities and actually end up with substantial connections. Of course, with time and experience, one can become a pro at networking effortlessly at professional events. Until such a time comes, here are some handy pointers for you to make the most at the next big networking event you are a part of:
- Have a plan: Don’t go in without a plan. Answer questions like how many people you’d like to meet, whom they would be, what would be the purpose of your card swap, and how you’d follow up before going to the event.
- Don’t throw cards left and right: Don’t equate the number of cards you pass out with the success of the event. Give your contact details, and collect the same of, of relevant people.
- Know what you have to say: Have a short pitch, introducing yourself, your organization and work ready. Don’t feign knowledge about issues you don’t have an idea about, and very importantly, how you’d end a conversation.
You can read more about effective networking at events here.