Often internal networks have a thematic focus; however, they can also foster social networking and mutual support for people from specific diversity groups, such as women, fathers, or LGBTIQ. Such networks may be exclusively available to members of diversity groups or open to all interested parties within the organization. It is important to allow all potential members free access to the network, so joining should be as easy as possible. The organization should introduce its internal networks during the onboarding process and reinforce them as part of regular information events. Digitally, the network can appear as a group in the internal communication app or on the intranet.
Corporate networks with a professional and/or social focus create a protected framework for specific diversity groups to exchange ideas and support each other. When members of the target group initiate a new network themselves and this runs in a self-organized way, it generates the most benefit on an individual and team level. In addition, events and activities strengthen the sense of belonging and increase employees’ commitment to the organization. Over time, internal networks contribute to a culture of openness and a trusting work climate, which is essential for innovations to emerge. At the organizational level, however, internal networks may only realize their full potential if management actively resolves structural inequalities.