While internal networks can connect and promote women and members of other diversity groups within their organization, “open” networks provide a professional and social exchange between members of different organizations. Often, there is no need to establish a new network, which involves substantial effort. Especially for women, there are already several professional networks in Switzerland with which one can connect (see further links, list not exhaustive). Existing networks are usually directed towards specific diversity groups, and they may also have an industry focus. Depending on the network, membership is open to individuals and/or entire organizations as “corporate members”. In addition to an information and communication platform, they often organize regular events for social and professional exchange.
Members of open networks benefit from mutual support and gain knowledge through personal relationships on an individual level, which also benefits (potential) innovations within the business on a team level. Moreover, when an individual participates in the network as an employee of their organization and therefore as a representative, the company benefits from a more diverse external image as a result. On an organizational level, membership in open networks increases visibility. Especially regarding underrepresented diversity groups in the organization, this can reinforce a valuable reputation as an inclusive employer.