As discussed in our Blog: 8 Stakeholder Engagement Trends in 2016, in many instances stakeholder engagement is applied as a one-way channel to disseminate information as opposed to authentic stakeholder engagement which is all about collaboration.
Stakeholders, whether they are citizens, employees, consumers etc. do not accept ‘the horse has already bolted’ as having a voice and actively participating in decision making.
Authentic stakeholder engagement provides tangible and intangible benefits including increased community/stakeholder satisfaction, collective decision making resulting in greater buy-in and typically better outcomes.
Three common stakeholder engagement scenarios
|Example Projects/Scenarios||Not Engagement||Authentic Engagement|
|Urban Design Study / Town Centre Revitalisation||The strategy and concept designs are placed on exhibition||Internal and external stakeholders are actively involved in informing the development of the strategy and concept designs|
|Employee Satisfaction: sick leave is up, retention is down, employees disengaged, profitability and productivity are impacted||A new Organisational Development Strategy is developed and emailed to all employees to review.||Develop a stepped out Employee Engagement Strategy. Survey, collaborate and collectively identify actions to improve organisational performance. Do it on a continual basis, not once a year!|
|School Community: allocation of building fund and/or P&C revenue||The school’s management team and P&C Committee have determined the needs/aspirations of the school community and share this great news in the school bulletin.||School leaders provide a proposal outlining the budget, opportunities and perceived outcomes of different deliverables. The whole school community is then involved in reviewing the proposal whilst also given the opportunity to propose fresh ideas.|
Set out below are our top 10 tips for authentic stakeholder engagement:
- Design a great engagement strategy using the Plan, Act, Evaluate model
- Data, data and more data: illustrate the ‘why’ with quantitative and qualitative information
- Frame your offline and online engagement channels and probing to be restricted to what is actually achievable from a budgetary and an authority (right to execute) perspective
- Bring your internal/external stakeholders on board as early as appropriate
- Acknowledge contributions and views made in a timely manner. Celebrate your champion stakeholders publicly.
- Empower stakeholders to be dynamically involved in the delivery of the project outcomes, resulting in a true feeling of ownership. Examples may include:
- Urban Renewal or Town Centre Revitalisation Project: the community may state they lack ‘civic identity’ – undertake a narrative stories project; the community may state the shopfronts need a spruce up – organise a working bee
- Employee Satisfaction Project: employees may state low morale – enable them to lead and implement their ideas to lift morale
- Use offline and online spaces to enable increased connection and familiarity between stakeholders
- Remember it is ok to say ‘that idea isn’t going to happen’ – however thoroughly explain ‘why not’ and explore alternatives
- Be honest and transparent: if the horse has already bolted, refrain from referencing ‘engagement’ full stop!
- Reporting back. Your stakeholders have invested their time, energy and ideas, so ensure you share the consensus information and how the input of the stakeholders will inform the deliverables.
About Engagement Hub – the online community engagement solution of choice
Engagement Hub enables you to inform, collaborate and engage with your stakeholders and community 24/7 online from anywhere, resulting in more effective, efficient and meaningful consultations. It has been designed to be best in class whilst also simple to use for both administrators and stakeholders. Find out more.
Contact us for a detailed proposal, book a demo to organize an online screen share and discussion of your objectives, or to explore the features in detail on our Engagement Hub demonstration site.