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What Is a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy?

Stakeholder engagement is vital for an organisation to run successfully as each stakeholder will have different insights and perspectives into the business which is imperative to form an efficient strategic plan.

Whether your business is small or large, there is a real need to communicate with stakeholders to foster trust and build relationships. Utilising technology to boost your stakeholder engagement strategy can be a worthwhile investment as it makes the process more efficient.

Why Implement a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy?

 It’s important to execute a stakeholder engagement strategy because it’ll inevitably mean:

  • Improved outcomes
  • Projects are managed better
  • Customer satisfaction

What Is a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy?

When an organisation makes a decision, it’ll be of interest to numerous stakeholders and have an impact on them. For instance, if a company decides to build a garden area for staff, they’ll need to speak with employees about the project and consult builders and gardeners about the design.

However, most stakeholders aren’t the same. While some may need to be kept in the know when it comes to the project’s daily progress, others may only require intermittent communication.

By developing a stakeholder engagement strategy, you’ll be able to ascertain how often you need to contact the various stakeholders and determine which communication methods you need for each one.

How Do You Build One?

It’s by no means an easy task to develop a stakeholder engagement strategy, but with the right tools and plan, it is not impossible. Read on for Kahootz recommendations on the full process to manage your strategy.

1. Find Out Who Your Stakeholders Are

The first action of creating a stakeholder strategy is analysing your stakeholders and identifying who they are. Essentially, a stakeholder is a person or group for example, an employee, customer or organisation who is impacted by your business – directly or indirectly. This means to a certain capacity that your business decisions have a domino effect on them.

With the above in mind, it’s fairly straightforward to pinpoint both internal and external stakeholders.

Following this, you’ll need to categorise the stakeholders into four groups:

  • Little interest, little influence: Individuals you need to keep up to date.
  • Greater interest, little influence: Individuals you need to include and confer with.
  • Little interest, greater influence: Influential stakeholders you must engage with.
  • Greater interest, greater influence: Partners you must collaborate with.

By following the above pointers, you’ll no doubt discover the best strategies to engage and communicate with each of the groups.

2. Have a Clear Goal in Mind

The secret to efficient stakeholder engagement is defining your purpose. Ask yourself what it is you want to achieve? Once you have an idea of what your aim is, the engagement procedure automatically turns into something more relevant for all stakeholders.

For stakeholder engagement to be achieved successfully, though, it really depends on which sector or specific organisation you’re in.

For instance, wide-spread goals within the public sector could be:

  • Environmental proposals
  • Developing a policy document
  • Building shared facilities
  • Expanding tourism
  • Initiatives to cut down crime
  • Improving a programme.

Alternatively, if you’re in the retail division, your aim may be to engage with stakeholders and have them:

  • Streamline product lines
  • Plan promotions
  • Improve merchandise
  • Propose additional retail channels
  • Devise a better pricing scheme
  • Develop service levels
  • Revamp store interiors.

Make sure you have a well-defined purpose, is fundamental in creating a stakeholder engagement strategy. This will enable you to work out which stakeholders are best suited to each task and manage their participation in the right way. Thus, you’ll be able to work together, show thought, inform them and maintain a collaborative relationship.

3. Find the Best Tools for Stakeholders 

The next step is to equip your stakeholders with the correct tools so you’re all able to communicate and engage with each other effectively.

Traditionally these types of communication methods involved handing out paper questionnaires, inviting stakeholders to information roadshows, hosting face-to-face meetings and giving them newspaper adverts.

As the digital world grows, so do the tools built as a solution for stakeholder engagement. These tools include:

  • Discussion forums
  • Cloud based document sharing
  • Information updates by email
  • Knowledge hubs
  • Project blogs
  • Reporting dashboard
  • Public web pages

4. Select the Right Digital Tools

Kahootz offers the main digital tools required for stakeholder engagement, in one single platform. You can utilise the tools available for effective internal and external stakeholder collaboration:

  • Team working and information sharing: Use tools like tailored shared databases, project blogs, discussion forums and document co-authoring.
  • Task and project management: Provide in a single location a shared team diary, task lists and meeting reports.
  • Secure workspaces: With online surveys for collecting data, seeking feedback and brainstorming opinions around desired outcomes and project deliverables.
  • Management of stakeholders: Via team-based permissions, give authorisation and adapt interactions and access to various stakeholder groups.
  • Reliable file sharing: Includes document versioning, complete audit trail and notification emails.

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