Stakeholders are any organisation’s most important asset. They include customers, suppliers, investors, shareholders, members, voters, regulators, law makers, opinion formers and others, not least of which are that organisation’s own employees. All of these people can have a significant impact on an organisation’s success or otherwise.
Managing constructive relationships with each of these groups – remembering that individuals can be in more than one category – is a vital part of what organisations need to do in their marketing/ investor relations/ communication/ member services/ community engagement spaces.
The fact that organisations often have many ways of interacting with the same stakeholders – different touch points in different parts of the organisation, each with their own agendas – is a realisation that should start warning bells pinging. An organisation concerned about how it connects externally may be diverse and complex. So too may be some of its stakeholder organisations. Indeed it’s possible that one stakeholder organisation could be in all of the categories in a contacts database, and in regular contact with all of an organisation’s business units about quite different issues.
Any strategy focused on stakeholder engagement needs to be underpinned by some simple principles that all parts of the organisation share and adhere to. Many organisations already do this for managing things like their finances, human resources and brand. Engagement is no different. Consistently applied internal engagement processes are key.
All parts of an organisation that have relationships with stakeholders need to talk with each other, plan together and have shared engagement principles to guide what they do and how they do it. The value that this will unlock for an organisation will be huge, and reputational risks will also able to be better managed.
A previous blog has focused on engagement principles.
Here’s an interesting link that outlines a way of building some principles and embedding those within an organisation.
And here’s another link that outlines the Six Cs of successful community engagement.
Yes, there’s value to be had from socialising with stakeholders. But like other things in life, success comes from having a clear and shared vision for “success” and a Cunning Plan to get there.
Engagementworks is good at identifying an organisation’s needs, prioritising those and outlining ways those needs can be met, being mindful of the resources that any organisation has to invest. If you’d like to talk with us about this, please contact Don or Brett.