The key to effective stakeholder engagement is simple!
For stakeholder engagement to be successful it is vital to build a trusting relationship with your customer and understand their objectives by communicating one to one or in small group situations. The aim of engagement is to achieve the desired outcomes, this should be the focal point of the engagement process.
For procurement the benefits of stakeholder engagement are endless. First and foremost it allows for a better information flow and an insight into stakeholders train of thought which gives us the opportunity to propose different ideas before they are formalised and go to market, working alongside stakeholders increasing efficiency. It enables higher quality decision making and enhanced capacity to innovate.
To engage stakeholders to the max there are various different levels that need to be addressed.
Through PR and reporting you provide the stakeholder with a sufficient level of communication. In order to change the attitude of the stakeholder you focus your communication to achieve a desired change. If there is going to be change one must ensure sponsorship is available, to define the scope and context of the engagement to gain commitment to the engagement programme work should be completed well in advance.
Encourage stakeholders to provide feedback to help develop a better outcome, this will allow you to suggest alternatives if necessary. Involving the correct people to ensure the right changes are implemented, working directly with stakeholders and seeking active participation will help to fulfil their concerns and needs are consistently understood and considered. Consultation can be successful but it is better if programmes where deliverables are in part done by stakeholders in order to lead to a successful outcome.
Collaborating with stakeholders and assessing the affects change will have on people is important, there is no point in avoiding issues stakeholders are facing it is better to address these problems and view them as an opportunity to increase engagement and develop alternative solutions. Guaranteeing people understand their roles and responsibilities will help eliminate any uncertainty and hold people accountable for their actions.
By placing the final decision making in the hands of the stakeholder enables active contribution to the achievement of their outcomes. This occurs when stakeholders have the right information, training and support. Stakeholder engagement is always a two way process, the skills, capability and culture of the key stakeholders will decide what is feasible or covetable.
Stakeholder engagement is simply the most proactive way of helping your stakeholders to assist you deliver their requirements profitably.