Todays post is the third in a series outlining a structured organizational stakeholder engagement approach companies and individuals can follow as well as use as a tool to improve their stakeholder engagement activities.
If you missed the first two posts please visit either of the links below:
- Post 1: A Structured Stakeholder Engagement Approach: Starting Out
- Post 2: A structured stakeholder engagement approach – The testing phase
Step 7: Properly define and plan the in-house engagement process
During this step, your priority is to properly define and plan the process of engagement with your set of priority stakeholder groups. In the example from previous two posts we identified three key stakeholder groups for our exemplary organization. The reason for this identifying your key stakeholder groups is obvious. You need to know your target audience in this engagement phase. If you do not know your target audience at this point (or any other time of course), your engagement will fail. This is my experience.
When tackling the planning of the in-house engagement process, make sure you talk to your stakeholder champions (from within your business) and your marketing department. This is a good time to involve the marketing for very first time. I would advise against using them in an early point of the process as they usually complicate things (!). Your marketing experts will enable you to brand your engagement the way you need to from an organizational brand point of view in order to engage your stakeholder with one brand identity. From my experience this process of alleging your branding with your engagement might take a little longer. But spending this time is important in my view since this will be your first proper stakeholder engagement. And you will not get many chances to make a good first impression with the external stakeholder representatives.
Step 8: Invite the stakeholder groups to a stakeholder day
Once your plans in-house are finalized you can tackle the next big step in your stakeholder engagement. The, as I call it “stakeholder engagement day”. This day should be a formal event with representatives from your key stakeholder groups. Focus on the stakeholders which you identified as important for the start of your engagement ( step 7 and the previous post for details)
While preparing for the event try to structure the agenda in that way that you have formal sessions with interesting speakers but more importantly, leave at least 50% of the event time to specific stakeholder conversations or groups discussions so that that each stakeholder group will get their time with senior executives and their stakeholder managers.
On the event day you need to focus on facilitating conversations and gathering as much feedback as possible, written and via personal conversations. Make sure you have assigned enough people to care for your stakeholders. You do not want to have anyone standing around not engaging do you?
Picture Credit: UniqueHotelsGroup