A study of women’s networks in business has shown that when they take on the ‘old boy’s network’, there are multiple business advantages.
The research, Making Good Connections, shows that women’s networks are evolving into more than just a source of support for women. They are becoming mechanisms for helping to achieve business success.
Examples highlighted in the report include Ford’s women’s marketing panel, which suggested colour-coding oil dipstick in cars to make them easier to read, and Barclays’ network reviewing possible products and services for women customers.
The research recommends that employers with women’s networks should consider making the management of them part of actual job descriptions, rather than relying on goodwill and ‘spare time’.
Professor Susan Vinnicombe of Cranfield School of Management, co-authour of the report, said: “It’s dangerous to dismiss women’s corporate networks as ‘nice-to-haves’ or as superficial asides to day-to-day business.
“Our research shows that leading companies are waking up to the business benefits they deliver, from recruitment to talent management, product development to enhanced corporate reputation,” she said.