Stakeholder engagement and stakeholder management are arguably the most important ingredients for successful project delivery, and yet are often regarded as a fringe activity or one that can be outsourced to business-as-usual functions.
Organisations thrive when they learn how to communicate with stakeholders effectively. But with the advent of online tools that make it simpler to engage, inform and consult with stakeholders, it’s now essential to put digital at the heart of your stakeholder engagement strategy. If you do, the rewards can be significant.
What Is A Stakeholder Engagement Strategy?
Certain decisions made by organisations will affect and be of interest to many different stakeholder groups.
But not all stakeholder groups are created equal. Some may need to be kept updated daily on developments, while others only require occasional contact.
A stakeholder engagement strategy will help you plan how often you need to communicate with the different groups and decide which tools to use for each one.
How Effective Stakeholder Engagement Can Help You & Your Organization?
Strong stakeholder engagement is perhaps the most critical factor for achieving successful business growth and strategy execution in our fast-paced world. As business evolves, you will require stakeholder management for many business activities including operational readiness review, including transition plans, new process documentation and training, new technology rollout, and cultural readiness assessment.
Using A Strategic Approach
A tight fiscal environment coupled with limited resource availability for stakeholder engagement underlines the need for efficient and cost-effective engagement activities. It is therefore more important than ever when engaging stakeholders to take a strategic and concerted approach.
Prioritise Who To Engage
The first step of the engagement process involves identifying the stakeholders that ought to be the focus of the organisation’s engagement efforts over a specific period of time.
Prioritising who to engage with can be informed by a simple cost-benefit analysis. Consider the reasons, benefits and strategic alignment for engaging with the stakeholder, eg:
- Why should we engage with the stakeholder?
- What do we hope to achieve from this engagement?
- How does this engagement align with our strategic and/or operational objectives?
Using A Consistent Approach
Making decisions around stakeholder engagement in a consistent manner across the organisation is of fundamental importance to ensure high-quality and reliable results. This can be achieved through embedding stakeholder engagement into everyday business activities. Implementing and employing an appropriate stakeholder engagement framework will assist with this task.
Communicate Consistent Messages
Managing the messages stakeholders receive is crucial to ensuring that the organisation is meeting the expectations of stakeholders and achieving its objectives. It also ensures stakeholders interact with a unified organisation that is clear on its purpose and intentions.
One way of improving consistency is through establishing and/or reviewing all currently publicly available material to ensure that marketing and other relevant documents:
- Contain consistent messaging and align with the organisation’s objectives
- Work to support the objectives of the organisation’s stakeholder engagement framework and other marketing/communication strategies and plans
- Meet the identified needs of stakeholders
- Align with the target engagement levels (outlined on the previous page).