Effectively engaging with stakeholders and rightsholders is essential for an organization’s long-term success. Organizations that engage early and have carefully planned strategies that are better equipped to make decisions in the future.
To realize the value that comes from effective engagement, organizations must invest the time, effort, and resources to accomplish it properly. Here are six key components we use as a foundation to our approach.
1. Be Transparent & Thoughtful
Transparency and honesty builds trust.
It is never too early to have meaningful dialogue. Begin each interaction with an open mind and be ready to listen and learn. It’ s important to lead with trust. Be transparent about both positive and negative aspects of your operations. Be attentive, thoughtful, and be sure to document feedback. Follow-up on all action items and avoid making any commitments you may not be able to deliver on.
2. Mapping & Analysis
Identify, analyze, and prioritize.
Identify stakeholders and determine key priorities. Understand the level of engagement and consideration that is appropriate for each stakeholder and rightsholder. The matrix below can help in determining the levels of interest and influence of different parties. Ensure groups with high interest and high influence are prioritized appropriately.
3. Fair & Strategic Partnerships
Share benefits and grow together.
Certain key stakeholder or rightsholder groups will be critical of some project aspects and supportive of others. The strongest relationships are mutually beneficial partnerships where both parties are aligned on similar goals. Where possible, form strategic partnerships with groups and agree on a framework to share project benefits.
4. Feedback & Grievances
Address grievances properly or prevent them from happening altogether.
An organization must have an accessible way for stakeholders and rightsholders to provide feedback or to submit formal grievances. This is often done through community meetings, phone lines, and electronic submissions. Set up a framework to ensure all feedback receives a timely response and a thorough follow-up. Be sure to make stakeholders aware of the different mechanisms available to submit feedback.
5. Keep Accurate Records
Compliance needs cannot be avoided.
Although the ultimate goal is to create trusting relationships, compliance needs cannot be avoided. Organizations must understand the compliance requirements for tracking stakeholder engagement for each project. Over time, many tools have been developed to make tracking engagement easy. This is because leaders are turning to automation to avoid spending significant time on repetitive admin tasks.
6. Measure Performance
What is not measured cannot be improved.
Begin by tracking simple indicators associated with communications, concerns, grievances, and feedback. Use the trends and gaps identified to improve your process. Overtime, leading metrics such as sentiment trends, key issues, and other key performance indicators can be tracked.
Tools like the NetBenefit Platform exist to make things easier. That way, teams can focus on what really matters – the people. To learn more, feel free to get in touch or download our 6 core components to keep with you.
- 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.