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. 🙂 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

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  1. Great intro to what can be quite tricky. Key stakeholders often carry different weight in analysis – investors often seem to get more space than employees, despite employees often being claimed to be "the company's greatest resource". Thoughts?

  2. Agree with Isabelle. You should listen to the employees but suspend your judgment about how they see other stakeholders. Depending on the objective of your stakeholder engagement you should determine how to structure the analysis. I am always more concerned about those that are not represented in the analysis rather than for those who normally do show up such as employees/

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