Savvy employees know that getting in good with the right people is an excellent way to boost their careers. When the boss likes you, that promotion might be closer than you know. Here’s a rundown of the other folks who should be on your list.
1. Administrative Assistants
Since admins are a go-between for a lot of people, they know what’s going on, says Marty Nemko, a career coach with U.S. News & World Report. “People are often disarmed by lower level employees,” Nemko says. “They will reveal things to admins that they would not as likely reveal to a VP.”
It’s important to get to know all administrative staff members because they’re the ones that get things done, says Vickie Seitner, founder and president of Career Edge One on One Coaching and Consulting. “They are the heart and soul of an organization. They’re the ones that are the informal power, so to speak.”
2. Human Resources
“If you have a problem with a coworker, HR has a lot of power over what gets done,” says Nemko. “Typically they don’t mainly represent you, the worker, they represent upper management,” though, so making friends in HR might help you get a fair deal.
Additionally, HR people know who is hiring, what is happening in the organization and what the company’s priorities are, Nemko says.
HR employees not only know who’s hiring and firing, but in larger companies they know about upcoming leadership development programs and how you can make yourself an attractive candidate to be included in such opportunities, Seitner says.
Employees need to remember that interns are not just there to do the worst tasks, but “if your plate is too full and the interns like you, they may allocate more time to you than to someone else,” says Nemko.
“For people in their current post, working with an intern can teach you so much from an educational standpoint,” Seitner adds. It’s a wonderful way to learn what’s new in your field with technology or concepts.
4. Security Guards and Custodial Staff
These are the people that are always watching and can tell you the things you would never expect.
Security guards know who’s coming and going in the building, when the last crime happened nearby and any maintenance issues. If you share office space with other businesses, security guards know who’s moving in and out, while janitors can give you useful tidbits on bathroom conditions and the cafeteria’s food safety practices.
Seitner points out that befriending these people is also a way to show that you don’t think anyone is less than anyone else. You can support each other, but “it’s more about being a good citizen rather than what you can get out of the relationship,” she says.
5. “Networking Node”
This is what Nemko refers to as the “most important person you would not think of.” It could be a custodian, an admin or a retiree back in the office, but whoever this person is, he or she “knows everything – who’s pregnant, where the money’s going, and you should know this person,” he says.
Nemko cautions that focusing too much time on the schmoozing and networking can move you along for a while, but that alone won’t keep your career thriving in the long run. “Become a go-to guy or gal in something important,” he says. “That is the ultimate guarantor of your employment.”