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Networks Day 2024

The National Day for Staff Networks 2024 took placeon Wednesday 8th May. The theme this year is: Raising The Bar

Why this theme?

"Raising the bar" is a phrase often used to describe the process of setting higher standards or expectations, typically in the context of performance, quality, or achievement. We want to encourage staff networks to strive for excellence and continuous improvement. That is why this year, we launched the Stellar Standard and will be recognising the first recipients this Networks Day.

"Amidst ongoing discussions about the role and impact of employee network groups, this year's theme hashtag #raisingthebar couldn't have been more apt – a rallying call for ALL to elevate our efforts" Bernadette Thompson OBE

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National Networks Conference

The National Networks Conference took place in London and it was a fantastic event. Missed it?


Read this great summary by Melissa Sabella, CEO of The Honeycomb Works

Staff networks can be "lonely islands in their organisations but can create an archipelago by linking together from different organisations and supporting each other." These were the closing words of an incredible, inspiring event on the Power of Staff Networks from host Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE .

We kicked off with Networking Bingo, a lively ice breaker (stealing that for sure) and then a brilliant keynote from
Hermann Trepesch exploring
▪ identity - what makes us us? who gets to decide?
▪ the role of staff networks in organisations - an in house consultancy, supporting the org strategy but setting boundaries, sharing pain but not just that or you'll go in circles
▪avoiding founder syndrome - don't stay so long it can't exist without you
▪the critical pieces any staff network needs to put into place to be successful

It would be impossible to sum up the whole day so a few (not all) of the things that stood out for me:

Thabang Thacker totalled up all the time she spent in meetings leading her staff network and listing all of the policies they had an impact on. Shortly after, the organisation said they would give all the leads an honorarium and were exploring other ways to recognise their work, which clearly meant so much.

Adam Sunderland pointed out that #belonging means different things to different people. Some people want to share their personal lives, others don't and that's ok.

Nadia Nagamootoo (she/her) shared some advice for HR - when you show up to a staff network with an agenda, you give the impression you aren't there to support people, the ways of collaborating need to be clearly defined

John Athanasiou kicked off a lively discussion on staff networks vs unions, a distinction too often blurred

Justin Placide - there is power in not getting paid for the work. If there is nothing for them to take away, there is no way for them to stop us. As someone always advocating for compensation or work release, this made me stop and think!

Melanie Holloway a ton of valuable practical advice along with the plea to please please please look after yourself

And finally from
Bernadette Thompson -  Be bold. Align with org goals and lend your muscle. It's tough, but it's a choice - know when to step aside and let someone else pick up the load.

I was there with
Muireann Bird and Ola Ojuko from The Honeycomb Works to share our latest research on the feelings of people in and leading staff networks.

It was an absolute privilege to be a part of this amazing group of people driving change, the speakers and everyone of the attendees. Thank you. 🙏

Hermann Trepesch
Melanie & Justin
Nadia Nagamootoo
Delegates networking
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Bernadette's Montage
(R-L) Melissa, Cherron, Muireann and Ola

See this video (and music) about the conference courtesy of Rasheed Ogunlaru

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