Stakeholder Engagement: Six best practices
A CSR Thoughtpiece from the CSR Training Institute
-by Wayne Dunn
I recently wrote a piece on five mistakes companies make in stakeholder engagement and many of you asked me to give a list of best practices. Here are six.
This list, like the last one, comes from a couple decades of rubber meets the road experience (remember, experience mostly comes from making mistakes or great mentors, or, like mine, both)
Honesty, Trust & Integrity
This is the critical principle and if you don’t get that one right the rest won’t matter. You may have some short term results but I’m going to be shorting your stock because it’ll blow up sooner or later. And, if it doesn’t, it should.
In no particular order here are 6 best practices in stakeholder engagement.
Remember, you are engaging with the stakeholders because you believe it is in your interest and that it will help you to create value. Guess what? They are engaging with you for the same reason.
Maybe they value a pollution free world or a reduced carbon world or a child labour free supply chain, or maybe it is better schools or hospitals or something else.
Don’t judge what stakeholders value and what their interests are. Accept it and, as much as possible, try to figure out how your business, your activity, your work might further your stakeholders’ interests.
Be creative in discovering the value propositions that can align your value and interests with those of your stakeholders.
And be transparent about what your value and interests are. You stakeholders have it figured out anyway!
2. It’s OK to disagree – but, disagree without being disagreeable. And stay curious
You will disagree with stakeholders, sometimes with most of them. That doesn’t make them wrong, or you wrong. And no need to be disagreeable. Stay open, stay engaged, and so important to stay curious.
One of the biggest, and possibly most unexpected, social license wins that I’ve ever been part of happened because the geologist, who ‘got stuck’ with community relations, stayed open, engaged and curious.