Public sector organisations invest significant resources engaging stakeholders to solve problems, make decisions, and evolve services and programs. However, stakeholders are often left questioning the bona fides of the engagement process when their feedback is not seen to be taken into consideration or reflected in the final outcome.
In an age of information overload, survey fatigue and stakeholder cynicism, gaining stakeholder trust relies on their being a match between organisational intention, message and action.
What I’ve coined the Law of Organisational Alignment™ states that the more closely aligned an organisation’s culture (what it thinks), communication (what it says) and customisation (what it does), the more effective the stakeholder engagement. The intersection of these three dimensions is the stakeholder engagement sweet spot.
A high degree of stakeholder engagement occurs when there is congruence between these three dimensions. However, when they are out of sync, such as when what an organisation says and does don’t match, any attempt at stakeholder engagement will be viewed as disingenuous and approached with deep cynicism.
A high degree of stakeholder engagement can be expected when the following conditions are satisfied:
Stakeholder engagement is based on a purpose to achieve mutually-beneficial outcomes, guided by principles that embody integrity, transparency and accountability, and underpinned by policies that enshrine an ethos of partnership.
All stakeholders are made aware of the opportunity to participate in the engagement process, project negotiables and non-negotiables are clearly defined, stakeholders understand how their input may influence the outcome and the feedback loop is closed.
Engagement techniques are appropriate to the level of impact on a stakeholder group, processes are inclusive, accessible and convenient, and stakeholder feedback informs decisions and helps shape services that affect them.
©Ros Weadman 2018 Ros Weadman is a communication, engagement and reputation specialist, founder of Melbourne PR & Marketing Group and author of BRANDcode®, a marketing guide for small business. Connect with Ros on LinkedIn or via https://www.rosweadman.com.