Tackling Grand Challenges: Networking through DU Xnet

By Shannon Seales, Learning and Development Consultant, Human Resources and Inclusive Community

Last year, Human Resources and Inclusive Community (HRIC) hosted a staff table as part of DU Grand Challenges, A Community Table. After thoughtful discussion, staff identified that despite similarity in roles across campus, many employees felt siloed within their roles. The silos that exist within our university departments and divisions were creating barriers between those who complete common roles in different units.

In order to address this issue, we created a pilot program to encourage networking of staff who complete similar roles across campus. The pilot program was called DU XNets.

DU XNets were voluntary, employee-led networking groups that brought together staff from across divisions based on their shared job roles and responsibilities. The focus of the gatherings was to address common challenges, share resources, provide support, and network to build community. Allowing these employees an opportunity to feel connected, understood, and supported by their peers has a direct impact on their experience as a staff member at DU, therefore serving the public good of the University community.

Two DU XNets gatherings were held in summer of 2019 and each session had about 30 attendees. The first DU XNets meeting brought together staff serving in faculty support roles, while the second convened staff serving in student recruitment roles. During each session, the attendees were encouraged to network with others across campus to identify ways they can support each other. Activities focused on identifying common challenges and sharing solutions and resources were facilitated. An outcome of each gathering is that an Office365 group was created and all attendees were given access so that they can continue to network, share resources, and build community across units.

Next steps for this program would be offering professional development for each group to engage in as a community that addresses their identified opportunities for common growth and learning.

**Editor’s note: DU Grand Challenges will take place again from April 19-April 24, 2020. To learn more, please visit: https://grandchallenges.du.edu/events/community-table



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