Over the past two years, the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” has become more relevant than ever. The pandemic has created different ways to think about work, and it’s affected workers in positive and negative ways. But while the landscape continues to shift, one thing remains constant: networking provides a key to opening doors to career pathways.
As the Work Landscape Shifts, Soft Skills Become More Important
The pandemic has altered our behavioral patterns and changed our work environments. Forbes Magazine predicts a continuation of three workplace models: centralized offices, decentralized remote organizations, and hybrid workplaces. Each relies on technology to some degree, which helps workers cut down on automated tasks. And interestingly, soft skills like clear communication, creativity, emotional intelligence, and strategizing will be more valued as workers have the resources to make meaningful connections and contributions to their jobs. However, developing soft skills in a more hybrid/virtual environment can be hindered by the loss of in-person human connection.
Virtual Work: Helping or Hindering Women and People of Color?
A recent Harris Poll survey shows that women and people of color are generally happier working from home and are likelier than their white male colleagues to want to continue teleworking. In addition, 52% of Black workers and women say that when it comes to advancing their careers, working from home is more advantageous, and Black workers and women feel more ambitious working from home. But what could this mean? According to John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, “the theater of the office is often alienating women workers, workers of color, women of color.” And “…COVID, perhaps accidentally, has very much liberated workers, particularly women and BIPOC workers.”
However, because executives and men prefer to return to the office, a hybrid workplace could become an inequitable one. In-office workers have more interaction and contact with executives, so work-from-home employees could become disconnected and fall off the radar. Networking is one way to grow and nurture career connections.
Networking Opens Doors to Career Opportunities and Advancement
A strong network offers connections, referrals, training, information, mentorship, and camaraderie, especially for women and people of color who might benefit more from a hybrid or remote workplace. And for underserved youth without access to networks that can help them achieve their career aspirations, the benefits of networking are powerful and profound. That’s why at Genesys Works NYC, we work to get marginalized youth into the room with best-in-class soft skills training, support, paid internships with corporate partners, and career opportunities that set them up for post-high school success.
Cocktails and Conversation: A Networking Event with Impact
On May 5, Genesys Works NYC hosted Cocktails and Conversation, a networking event that connects corporate employees committed to emboldening the workforce with board members and interns. Attendees learned how the program works and how critical talent gaps within companies can be filled while simultaneously expanding career pathways and opportunities for NYC youth from underserved communities. Whether you attended or not, we invite you to join our network and connect with us for more opportunities. Get involved here.