Which are the toughest and most complex industries to communicate in? Which organizations come under the greatest scrutiny, and have the greatest trouble managing disparate stakeholder groups? Well, with crisis after crisis enveloping organizations such as RBS, HSBC, and Barclays, it would be pretty easy to build a case for Financial Services. Alcohol or tobacco can’t be easy, and there must be times when it’s not a whole bundle of laughs to defend the munitions industry against its naysayers!
But, with all due deference to our friends in those industries, I was actually persuaded by a head of Stakeholder Realtions at a prominent energy company that his was the toughest lot of them all!
“In the era of CSR and sustainability, not only is our entire industry coming under more scrutiny than ever before since BP’s oil spill, but I’d argue that we have a wider, more diverse set of stakeholders than practically anyone else. Everything’s amplified, and we have so many groups to contend with – as well as customers and the rest, we’re at the mercy of regulators, are confronted with some of the most aggressive NGOs around, and our place in blogosphere isn’t exactly peaceful!”
Whilst being pulled in so many different directions, how do you go about mapping stakeholders? How do you determine who’s most important to your organization? How do you ensure that they are engaged in a coherent fashion?
Check CEC’s new toolkit for help:
1. Close Stakeholder Blind Spots
Faced with such a wide range of stakeholder groups, we’ve been hearing from energy companies that it’s possible to overlook some important individuals. Furthermore, as organizations are faced with new scenarios such as new markets or new customer segments, they are faced with previously unknown stakeholders.
Use this Stakeholder Identification Tool to quickly identify unknown stakeholders
2. Prioritize Stakeholders
Faced with such a multitude of stakeholders – one organization told me that they have identified half a million individuals who could each have a significant impact on their performance- it’s vital to ensure that your engagement efforts and finite resources are directed towards those individuals who will have the greatest impact on business outcomes.
Use this Stakeholder Prioritization Tool to work with business partners and identify critical stakeholders.
3. Ensure Coherent Engagement
As organizations become increasingly large, complex and siloed, it becomes similarly more difficult to ensure that engagement of external groups is consistent and coherent across silos. We’ve heard that sometimes, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing – sometimes, for instance, communicators from different regional offices will be engaging the same NGOs without knowing about the other!
Use this Internal Collaboration Tool to identify the extent to which internal information sharing is required for external engagement.
Want to find out more? Check out CEC’s work on stakeholder engagement here.
Alternatively, let us know how you map stakeholders – or which you think is the most difficult industry to operate within!