Keeping poor engagement records can be just as bad as not engaging at all. It can make or break your project.
Regardless of size, most organizations understand that strong engagement with stakeholders and rightsholders is crucial for long-term success. Effectively logging these communications can highlight project strengths, identify issues, and determine areas of opportunity.
It can often feel time-consuming and tedious to log data while your building relationships, but the benefits are worthwhile. The stronger the engagement log, the more likely it can be used to guide business objectives, secure funding, and support regulatory obligations.
Where do you start?
For new projects, or projects with inconsistent engagement tracking, the easiest place to start is a ready-to-go template. Begin logging data with key details such as date, communication method, people involved, issues, and details of your discussion. As you continue to log, add data points to your template that make sense for your organization.
Let’s face it, a spreadsheet is not the best solution – but it is a great way to get the ball rolling. To give you a kick-start, download our template.
Building a template is only half the battle.
For mature projects, it is likely that a process to track engagements is already in place. In this case, team members should focus on governance and record keeping. Without continuous upkeep, it becomes increasingly challenging to analyze data and provide meaningful insights.
In addition, taking the time for proper planning and execution can set your team up for success down the road. Tracking engagement requires an understanding of context, emotional awareness, and strong communication skills (both internally and externally). A documented plan can help guide team members in these areas.
How do you track engagement effectively?
We’ve seen many engagement logs and work with clients daily to ensure the right information is being captured. Engagement logs vary between industry and region – but the best practices are consistent.
Effective engagement and data tracking can be improved with three key concepts:
- Start early.
- Build good habits
- Understand the limitations of spreadsheets
1. Start early.
Organizations should begin engaging with stakeholders and tracking communications from project conception. Tracking early engagement is important for data analysis, reporting, and decision-making. Initial conversations are important to reference and should not be kept buried in inboxes.
This will put your organization in a great position to secure their social license and support the needs of key players such as landowners, regulators, and community groups.
Pro Tip: Schedule 15 minutes in your calendar at the end of each day to update your engagement log. There will come a moment you will be happy you did.
2. Build good habits.
Habits, by definition, are actions that are performed regularly and without conscious thought. Learning how to build good habits is a great tool in achieving desired goals. However, it takes consistency, commitment, and dedication. The more you engage in a behaviour, the more likely it becomes routine.
Apply this reasoning to engagement tracking. Hold yourself accountable, take detailed notes, and make sure engagement logging is a priority. Overtime, these actions will become second nature.
Pro Tip: On average, it takes 66 days to build a habit.
3. Understand the limitations of spreadsheets.
Typos. Typos. Typoz…
It’s inevitable that you will run into mistakes that are difficult to avoid when using a spreadsheet. Typos are the most common error, but others include duplicates, inconsistent data formats, and missing entries.
As communications escalate and staying organized becomes more challenging, frequent errors will continue to occur. This is especially true when multiple team members are engaging with rightsholders and stakeholders.
Over the lifecycle of a project, you will see a shift in key personnel, issues, and initiatives. Here, the limitations of spreadsheets are really felt. It’s difficult to connect inputs, manage tasks, and locate key information from the past.
Pro Tip: Plenty of tools exist on the market to track and manage engagement. Each of these tools are designed to simplify the collection process and ease collaboration.
As engagement moves to the forefront of business objectives, organizations are turning to tools and automation earlier. At NetBenefit Software, our tools specialize in supporting projects from pre-construction into construction, operations, and the eventual decommissioning of your project.
Regardless of your method, it’s critical to keep engagement logs detailed, up-to-date, and ready to help guide business objectives.
Interested in chatting about our templates? Looking to upload your template to our platform? We’re always happy to chat, book a demo, or start a free trial.
- Written by Ena Nikolic.
Ena Nikolic wears many different hats at NetBenefit Software. She partners with clients on marketing, sales, and consulting initiatives. Ena is passionate about change management and ensuring software implementations run smoothly. When not working with clients, you can often find Ena walking her dog by the ocean near her east coast home.