Stakeholder engagement is, increasingly, a requirement rather than a ‘nice-to-have’ element in local government and business sectors. Being proactive in the engagement process with stakeholder groups like staff, customers, vendors and the public brings huge benefits in terms of business processes and quality of relationships both internal and external. Most large companies now have a Corporate Social Responsibility role which directs stakeholder engagement and builds consensus around new products, processes and work in the community. Equally, in local government and NGO’s, stakeholder engagement works to act as a liaison with the public and interested parties to a project.
So far so good, but actually setting up a successful stakeholder engagement process that yields tangible results but doesn’t veer off in a hundred different directions with your budget is an entirely different thing. So, here is a very simple breakdown of a stakeholder engagement plan that structures your interaction and channels your data back to the right place.
So how do you set up and run a stakeholder engagement program?
Setting the parameters of your program will prevent ‘scope creep’ or sidetracking. It is important to have reasonably narrow goals but to ensure that they are not so narrow or inflexible as to miss out on potential benefits for the program as a whole. Try to find an area where your engagement can have the biggest impact, like surveying for future objections. Set out your budget and processes from the start to drive an efficient program. Delve into past engagement practices or the experience of other companies in your area to avoid obvious mistakes and inefficiencies. Set out KPI’s and objectives for each team member. Set out stakeholder expectations and rule out unreasonable ones at the beginning.
Stakeholder identification involves a process of listing who potential stakeholders are and how they relate to your organization. Once this is done you will need to analyze this list to weed out any irrelevant ones and to understand their various views on your program. Mapping these stakeholders both geographically on a map, and within a framework that relates all stakeholders to each other and to your project, will also be necessary. Finally, a process of prioritizing these stakeholders should take place. This prioritization usually fits each stakeholder into the following model.
(via Insight stakeholders from stakeholder mapping )
The process of stakeholder mapping is as important as the result, and the quality
of the process depends heavily on the knowledge of the people participating.
Once you have identified your stakeholders, you will next need to ensure that they are engaged. Using organizational tools like Civis Connect will greatly aid that engagement both for the project team and the stakeholders themselves.
“How do you get people to buy-in and participate, actively collaborate, in a new project?”
Essentially, when it comes to adopting new processes or tools, one needs to assess how they will affect change? Individuals take time to learn best practices and then they face the daunting task of getting the new thing adopted. Go from the ground-up, in which an individual evangelizes and implements a solution for your stakeholders. This has distinct advantages because it can be more controlled and ultimately more focused
Follow up and collaborate
Proposals and options are presented to stakeholders, who provide feedback that is incorporated into planning. This is most commonly done through focus groups, face-to-face
interviews or surveys. The goal is to benefit from stakeholders’ greater knowledge of local conditions and opinions. Decision making, power, and control remain completely with the agency leadership.
Deciding and acting together with stakeholders based upon shared goals is the ultimate aim here. It is a longer, more complex process, which requires more preparation and support for stakeholder involvement.
If you would like to learn how Voxcitio can transform your stakeholder engagement processes and facilitate data analysis just use the button below to schedule a demo with us.