Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". A set of shared values that allows individuals to work together in a group effectively to achieve a common purpose.
Sound familiar? If you're a social entrepreneur chances are you already have an intimate understanding of the philosophies underpinning social capital, which is essentially the idea that positive economic outcomes can be established by social interactions, and within business, it can help form a network whereby employees achieve more than if they had worked alone. This network is like a resource, to be used at your disposal. In business there are two main ways to look at social capital: internally and externally.
External social capital is about relationships outside of your organisation, put simply yours, an employee's or client's connections.
We all know the benefits of being well connected, pulling in favours or having your reputation speak for you, but internal social capital, its benefits and how to make the most of these interactions within your business may not appear as straightforward.
So what is internal social capital? Similarly to external, it’s the connections between individuals within your organisation. These connections contribute to the efficient running of your organisation. Social capital and internal networkers are great drivers of business. Social capital can be beneficial in many different ways, which may not always be immediately apparent, for example in B2B professional services. Social capital has been shown to be the underlying foundation that allows a B2B services business to leverage their employee’s knowledge of customers, their technical knowledge and organisational creativity to effectively deliver customised services.
At this point the benefits speak for themselves, but how do you promote it within your organisation? At an individual level its about fostering collaboration and making employees feel invested in each other as well as your organisation, on a macro level social capital can be promoted by embedding shared values across the organisation, implementing efficient and open communication across departments and giving your employees a sense of what's going on across the wider organisation.
At Zync Digital creating social capital is an important part of our culture. We don’t just want to clock in and do our hours, we’re all invested in each other’s personal and professional development and we do that through regular team building exercises, working a 4 day week and being a Living Wage Employer and, of course, hiring the right people to fit into our team!
If you think you need help developing your social capital, why not get in touch with Zync, and together we can figure out and implement the best strategies to get your business running as efficiently as possible.