Key stakeholder engagement challenges met with online collaboration


If you are responsible for engaging with your organisation’s stakeholders, you know it can be a major challenge. Firstly, you need to put significant thought and resources into identifying your stakeholders. Who are the people you need to inform about your work? Who needs to be consulted? Which are the stakeholders you need to collaborate with?

We examined the process of identifying stakeholders in an earlier post, before showing you how to map appropriate engagement tools to each group. In a later update we showed you how online collaboration software like Kahootz provides you with a significant proportion of the tools you need to engage with stakeholders online.

But in this post, we’re going to step back and take a more strategic view of the challenges solved by using online collaboration tools — making stakeholder engagement more comprehensive, purposeful and cost effective.

1. Creating more opportunities for stakeholder engagement

Traditional methods of engaging stakeholders are expensive. If you need to rely on face-to-face meetings, press adverts, letters, paper questionnaires, consultation roadshows and other resource- and cost-intensive methods, it restricts the opportunities you have to engage with stakeholders. You can easily find yourself only engaging with stakeholders when you have to, rather than when it would be productive and desirable.

Using online collaboration tools changes this at a stroke. Used in tandem with traditional engagement methods, software like Kahootz allows you to quickly and cheaply set up secure workspaces to inform, consult and collaborate with any stakeholders you choose.

For example, you can use online questionnaires and quick polls to gauge the opinions of any number of people – without worrying about postage and paper costs. You don’t have to spend admin time analysing results either, as you can simply run automated reports within the workspace. Instead of face-to-face meetings, you can work purposefully within a workspace to collaborate on files, manage projects, assign tasks and more – all for a minimal cost.

And because best-practice online project management techniques suddenly become possible at the click of the mouse, you find yourself looking for many more opportunities for stakeholder engagement, rather than regarding it as a budget-busting expense.

For more ideas on creating opportunity to engage with stakeholders, see our post on getting online to engage with stakeholders.

2. Cutting travel costs and increasing productivity

If you are responsible for engaging with your organisation’s stakeholders, you know it can be a major challenge.

Firstly, you need to put significant thought and resources into identifying your stakeholders. Who are the people you need to inform about your work? Who needs to be consulted? Which are the stakeholders you need to collaborate with?

We examined the process of identifying stakeholders in an earlier post, before showing you how to map appropriate engagement tools to each group. In a later update we showed you how online collaboration software like Kahootz provides you with a significant proportion of the tools you need to engage with stakeholders online.

But in this post, we’re going to step back and take a more strategic view of the challenges solved by using online collaboration tools — making stakeholder engagement more comprehensive, purposeful and cost effective.

3. Widening your stakeholder base

Traditionally, widening your stakeholder base has been time consuming and expensive. Without cloud technology, there is normally an upper limit to the number of people you can inform or consult, simply due to the expense of traditional engagement methods.

Online collaboration tools and digital channels change this. Not only can you quickly reach more stakeholders than the ‘famous few’ who are the mainstay of many consultations, social and other online channels make it easier for new stakeholders to find you and bring themselves forward.

Another benefit of online engagement is that stakeholders who may feel uncomfortable about (or simply lack time to attend) meetings or other sessions can contribute in their own time. You can also engage with hard-to-reach groups more easily, including young people, those with disabilities and those who have busy lives.

Digital communication also means it’s simpler to nurture your growing stakeholder base with regular updates and invitations to participate. In this way, you cumulatively bring vital, extra viewpoints to the engagement process.

4. Improving transparency and accountability

One of the major challenges affecting online collaboration is maintaining transparency and accountability. When you use a hotch potch of separate channels, such as email, social media, online questionnaire software and others, you face difficulties maintaining a unified view and audit trail of activity.

Using software like Kahootz solves this. Because it brings many different online collaboration tools together in one package, it meets a significant proportion of your online stakeholder engagement needs. This means you have full audit trails of all activity that takes place in your workspaces, and you can easily publish documents and responses for any audience of stakeholders.

Also on the cost side, a robust audit trail makes it cheaper and simpler to respond to Freedom of Information requests – every activity is recorded and can be exported from a workspace, giving you exceptional levels of transparency and accountability. Moreover, easy reporting on feedback captured in a workspace gives you a solid evidence base on which decisions can be made and justified.

5. Meeting stakeholders’ expectations

In many ways, this is the most important challenge met by online collaboration software. Stakeholders increasingly expect to contribute in a way that’s most convenient to them – and traditional methods like consultation meetings, paper questionnaires and phone surveys are fast falling out of favour. Offering simple-to-use tools within a secure online workspace allows stakeholders to contribute when it is most convenient for them and without incurring any additional cost.

Essentially, engaging stakeholders in this way not only increases participation by making it simpler, but it sends a clear signal that you value stakeholder involvement — and you are reaching out because you want to, rather than because you have to.

Online collaboration software is transforming the way we engage with stakeholders. If you’d like to learn how to put it to work in your organisation, download our free guide to Transforming Public Sector Stakeholder Engagement today.

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No upfront commitment required. If you decide to stay in Kahootz at the end of
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