When it comes to managing stakeholder engagement, you have the tricky job of playing marketing manager, peacekeeper, data analyst and diplomat between many different people. However, at its heart, Stakeholder Engagement is the practice of influencing a variety of outcomes through consultation, communication, negotiation, compromise, and relationship building. Communication to all stakeholders is critical to the success of any stakeholder engagement strategy. But realistically – how do you divide up those groups – and what tools work best in the areas of stakeholder engagement software?
You may have heard about the retailer who organised a stakeholder dialogue with 150 guests and ended up with a long list of recommendations that could not be implemented. When stakeholders are involved without focus and without adequate processes, no one is satisfied!
Too often participatory events happen on an ad hoc basis because someone thinks it is a good idea. But this is unfair to stakeholders who should have clarity about what is happening, why they are being asked to get involved, what influence they can have over the outcome, and how the event relates to the overall decision-making process.
We have already covered a comprehensive guide as to the types of stakeholder, which you may like to refer back to. But when it comes to the application, what are the best methods that meet stakeholder needs but also ensure you manage to store and make sense of the forthcoming wealth of data?
You may have used a survey tool before. After all, they are a very useful way of gathering feedback from a large number of people, allowing you to ask both open and closed questions and use a combination of scoring and free text areas to draw out detailed feedback.
The benefit of stakeholder management software that specifically offers surveys is that all your data is in one place. With Tractivity, you’ll no longer have to cut and paste data from survey tool to spreadsheet. Simply add your questions, sit back, and wait for Tractivity to collect and analyse the results.
Interviews are a classic way to gather intelligence and to build rapport. However, interviewing is going to take up a lot of time and is predominantly used with your high-value stakeholders. One way that stakeholder management software can help with stakeholder interviews is the ability to store these notes with positive and negative sentiment and place them where they can be viewed by anyone. With Tractivity, you can organise and categorise information by sentiment, highlight the crucial part of an email, article, letter or survey response and match it to an issue related to your project.
This also applies to town hall meetings and webcasts, teleconferences and one to one briefings.
Letter campaigns can be a key area for stakeholder management, and despite a digital approach being very popular, letter and mail engagement can still be targeted. Use engagement software that has a location tool so that you can view the location of all stakeholders, organisations and any issues raised, and send them newsletters, SMS, letters, surveys and event invitations. This will help you target the very best areas and get a real sense of who your stakeholders are.
Every project is likely to have a large number of stakeholders who fall into the ‘show consideration’ or ‘least important’ category. You will know that these stakeholders are not highly influential but they do need to be informed. Newsletters and email are very popular when it comes to stakeholder engagement, but what you want to avoid is using one system to send an email and then missing responses after you’ve created a report, or the time-consuming element of transferring data from one system to another. If you have multiple groups of stakeholders, this could mean multiple emails being sent to thousands of people – leaving you a few clicks away from chaos!
Tractivity holds everything together, so every stakeholder can receive an email, dependent on their level of interest and value to the project, whilst you have the peace of mind that the eventual reports will tie up and gather information from your entire project, allowing you to provide thorough updates to management and third parties at every stage of your engagement.
A website or webpage
Low-interest/low-influence and borderline low-influence/high-interest stakeholders often need to find links to information so they can ‘pull’ at it when they need. Your website is the ideal place for this information, giving you a place when you can raise the profile of your project and also an opportunity to showcase documents and other important information.
This is one area when you can communicate with all of your stakeholders any time.
Again, using the right stakeholder engagement and management software will put you in a prime position to understand when it is best to release any news, and to capture any responses back into one place.
A demonstration of Tractivity is quick and straightforward to set up, and we assure you that any product demonstration will be with one of our product experts and not a salesperson. Click here to book in for a demonstration of Tractivity.