There can be misunderstandings and pitfalls in stakeholder engagement and we need to filter out what works and what does not. Finding a definitive definition of the term Stakeholder Engagement isn't straight forward. Is the Environment a Stakeholder? And where there is trust, people work together more easily and effectively.
What is Stakeholder Engagement?
Accept that humans do not always behave in a rational, reasonable, consistent or predictable way and operate with an awareness of human feelings and potential personal agendas. By understanding the root cause of stakeholder behaviour, you can assess if there is a better way to work together to maintain a productive relationship. A more conscientious and measured approach to stakeholder engagement is essential and therefore encouraged.
Investment in careful planning before engaging stakeholders can bring significant benefits. Developing relationships results in increased trust. And where there is trust, people work together more easily and effectively. Investing effort in identifying and building stakeholder relationships can increase confidence across the project environment, minimise uncertainty, and speed problem solving and decision-making.
Over and above conventional planning, using foresight to anticipate hazards, and taking simple and timely actions with stakeholders can significantly improve project delivery. Although this principle is self-evident, in practice is still only rarely done very well. The initial step is to establish the most acceptable baseline across a set of stakeholders' diverging expectations and priorities. Assess the relative importance of all stakeholders to establish a weighted hierarchy against the project requirements and agreed by the project Sponsor.
Project success means different things to different people and you need to establish what your stakeholder community perceives success to be for them in the context of project delivery. Stakeholder engagement is not the job of one member of the project team. Good project governance requires providing clarity about stakeholder engagement roles and responsibilities and what is expected of people involved in the project.
The material has been reproduced here by kind permission of RICS. If you would like to know more about the SEFG and would like to get involved, we would like to hear from you. Forgotten your Corporate Partner username? Pull communications One-way engagement. Information is made available, and stakeholders choose whether to engage with it e.
Is the Environment a Stakeholder? What is a Stake? What next for Stakeholder Theory? Why listen to stakeholders? Shared accountability and responsibility. They subsequently delegate it to the CSR or communications department, under-utilising its tremendous potential or even risking damages to their reputation.
Many companies also suffer from a lack of focus when engaging stakeholders, failing to define when and why and what for. A CSR manager from a large German bank recently told me: Stakeholders are often involved inappropriately, without focus and without the adequate processes. But there is an increasing tendency for companies to do what good governments already do: Coca Cola, for example, is trying by taking a collective action approach to rising water challenges, Nestlé is wrestling to find solutions for a more sustainable cocoa value chain and Kraft Foods supports African Cashew farmers.
Stakeholder engagement can work and create shared value. At the Collective Leadership Institute we have found that, apart from understanding the stakeholder landscape in general, companies' stakeholder engagement needs to be:. Depending on the issue, a company needs to define whether stakeholder engagement is consultative where the final decision on how to move on lies with the company or cooperative where the company is prepared to take joint action.
An issue can also start with a consultation and then become a cooperation project. Companies need to distinguish company-specific stakeholder engagement "we engage with 'our' stakeholder" from sector-wide stakeholder engagement "in order to have an impact on an issue we have joined an initiative — for sustainable coffee, living wages in Asia, African cashew processing — and this benefits the issue AND our core business".
This could be applied to sustainable coffee sourcing at Nestlé as well as to supply chain engagement at Adidas, amongst others. This is the approach taken by Danone with its base of the pyramid model.
Stakeholder engagement requires a new set of skills within companies to engage with the world beyond. Understanding the perspective of external stakeholders is not something taught in leadership. Stakeholder engagement is the process used by an organisation to engage relevant stakeholders for a purpose to achieve accepted outcomes (AccountAbility, ). The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) explicitly link stakeholder engagement to success explaining that "stakeholder support for the portfolio is gained by effective consultation and. stakeholders and select an engagement mechanism Focus on short and long term goals, determine stakeholder engagement—a prerequisite to developing an effective strategy. This helps avoid the risk of being unprepared to listen to stakeholder insight or guidance, and the risk of unintended greenwashing.