A key component in the success of many research and consultancy assignments is stakeholder engagement. Whether it is engagement with a small group of internal stakeholders or a large group of external stakeholders, having these key people suitably involved in the process helps to gain their commitment to the agreed outcomes. They are also a key source of valuable knowledge and ideas.
Research and consultancy assignments are often instigated to help change something or to take a key decision. Engaging with stakeholders is an essential part of the change process. They are more likely to understand the ‘why’ behind a change as well as the what and the how if they have been engaged early.
Stakeholders include key decision makers and deliverers that have the potential to resist change or be powerful change agents. Getting the process of engagement right determines whether they are friends or foes!
How we do it
instinct and reason helps clients get the process right. We check on our client’s needs and tailor accordingly.
We carry out interviews, surveys, group discussions, online forums or workshops with stakeholders at key stages of the project. Where appropriate, we help build stakeholder databases and engage with key stakeholders through the duration of a project.
We return to stakeholders at key stages and sometimes continuously engage them through the life of a project. Where possible, we feed back research results and outcomes to stakeholders to help further build relationships and commitment. There can be an important feedback report, interactive presentation, or workshop at the end of a project.
What it means for clients
Where clients are themselves highly skilled and experienced in the science and art of stakeholder engagement, we help them to maintain high standards and to further innovate in this important area.
Where clients are less experienced in stakeholder engagement, we bring our skills and experience in designing and facilitating the process. We also help clients develop their skills in this area.
In all cases, we help to make sure that our client’s stakeholders are appropriately and effectively researched, consulted and engaged for a positive process and a positive outcome.