A Structured Stakeholder Engagement Approach: Starting Out

A structured approach to stakeholder engagement is an essential element of CSR / Sustainability best practice within an organization. We all know that. But starting out is not always as easy as it seems in my experience.

Here are three practical first steps which I identified as critical over the past years working in the industry when starting out with stakeholder engagement.

  • Before you start anything involving stakeholder engagement, identify your key stakeholder groups first. When you know these groups you are well on your way. Here is a link to some information on how to conduct a¬†stakeholder analysis.
  • Once you know your stakeholder groups, go and visit/contact employees from within your organization whom you think will know more about your individual stakeholder groups. Your aim should be to gather as much information on who is talking to which stakeholder group. This can be quite time consuming the larger your organization is, but everyone needs to start somewhere and building these personal relationships within your organization is invaluable. I am sure you will be amazed how much you will learn and benefit from this exercise. In the short and long term.
  • Create a group of so called “stakeholder experts” from inside your organization. Arrange to meet on a regular basis from that time on to help you gather the important stakeholder updates from within the business. I always felt that gathering this stakeholder information from inside the organization before engaging the actual stakeholder group made me understand these groups so much better.

This is all for now. I prefer shorter blog posts as you will know by now. ūüôā¬†That is why the next blog post on stakeholder engagement¬† will continue with the next steps on how to properly start with a structured stakeholder engagement approach.

Picture Credit: Robert Higgins

CSR / Sustainability & Business Integration – Extending my topics range

The past months brought a lot of change in my life as you will have read from some of my older posts. But one element of life has pretty much stayed the same. This blog. The possibility to write and have an audience is something I am very grateful for and which I enjoy so very much. Over the years, this blog evolved from my personal website to a respected source of CSR / Sustainability commentary and Social Media resources. This will not change. Quite the opposite.

The plan is to extend the range of topics I blog about in order for this blog to once again reflect what I do in my life on a professional level. This has always been the purpose of this blog and I felt that it was a little “out of sync” over the past months with what I do professionally these days.

Future posts will not always be on CSR / Sustainability and Social Media but will also include more about what I do on a more general business level. I am sure you will find these posts helpful as I am more  convinced then ever that CSR / Sustainability topics are and need to be more of an integral part of business these days. And I want to do my bit to promote this integration with writing about my experiences and learnings.

These are the areas I will now write more about next to CSR / Sustainability and Social Media:

  • Business Advice
  • Leadership
  • Business Processes
  • Various other aspects of business life

Thank you everyone for the support you have given me so far and I am sure that the new topics will also be as useful for you as the CSR / Sustainability and Social Media topics are.

Consolidation in the CSR Social Media field

This week saw an interesting development in the CSR / Sustainability field. JustMeans was acquired by 3blMedia. This is the link to the press release. I have had several emails and messages on Twitter and Google+ asking me what I thought about this new development. Here is what I make of it.

My View

I think this development is a sign of the current difficult economic times as well as normal consolidation in any kind of business sector. In my view JustMeans was going in no particular direction over the past months and seemed to slowly go away as a player in the CSR / Sustainability Social Media world. Toby Webb wrote about this several months ago and made some very good points.

This new development might kickstart another phase of interesting development for the site. I also hope that this acquisition does not mean that JustMeans will simply be another news outlet for 3blMedia. I am a strong believer in the fact that good content is the key to any websites success. If 3blMedia will focus on this strong content creation and engagement in a “non-marketing” and “honest” way I would expect the site to be a growing community for¬†professionals¬†in the field. This is what JustMeans¬†wanted¬†to be from the start after all. I hope they will succede with this new leadership. Best of luck from my side.

This is my take on the acquisition. What is yours?

The current Social Media Network dilemma & advice

WIth the arrival of Google+ , Google’s answer to Facebook, the choice which Social Media Network to use just got more complicated (Link to the Google+ News)

With so much choice these days we are are clearly left with the dilemma which Social Media Network best fits our needs and wants. Here is what I am doing and would recommend for the time being.

 

Twitter

This is still my absolute favorite network to share information on. To me it seems that Twitter is also maturing at the moment. Most people I connect with on Twitter know what they are talking about and have been on Twitter for a while now (i.e. know what they want from this Network). This is a good sign for the quality conversations and interaction in my view.

My advice: Use Twitter as your number one Social Media Network. There is no better alternative out there at the moment.

 

Facebook

I like Facebook and when I started to share more business related information a few months back, the feedback I got was and still is pretty mixed. For me the big question with Facebook is whether I am not annoying all other friends with this business information when they are expecting more of a personal note. Facebook is intended to be more personal after all.

My advice: Use Facebook mainly for personal connections. A way to differentiate networks is not really possible at the moment.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great site to host your online CV if you want to call it that. But I am not using it other then as an automatic outlet for my Twitter updates. LinkedIn in my view is the classic example of a great Social Network that is not being used enough from my side at the moment unfortunately.

 My advice: Use LinkedIn on a limited basis at the moment. It is great for your personal CV, etc but not really for engaging a wider network of people you do not know so far.

 

Google+

Google+ is the new player in town. I have managed to get in while it is still in the testing phase and must say that I really like it. It is much simpler and “cleaner” in comparison to Facebook. The idea I have once Google+ is open to everyone, is that I will use this Social Media Network as my second CSR / Sustainability information outlet next to Twitter and limit my Facebook updates to purely personal updates.

My advice: Signup with Google+ and start creating your professional so called “Circles”. I am sure Google+ will be successful. Once more people sign up, you will see that it is a Social Media Network which will enable you to share relevant information for the intended networks at a click of a button.

What Sustainability / CSR books would you recommend?

I am looking for some interesting and useful CSR / Sustainability books to read over the next few months.

What are the books you are reading at the moment and what books could you recommend?

Thanks!

Books I had recommended to me so far are: