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Can You Trust Managers with Stakeholder Relations?

Posted on  12 October 11  by 

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Stakeholder ManagementAs the world becomes more and more connected by technological innovations, it’s no wonder that communicators have become far less reliant on reactive response strategies. Waiting for a reputational threat to arise before thinking about solutions just won’t cut it. But no matters how fast information spreads, communicators — even those well-armed with response tactics — can only move so quickly.

Communicators are successfully enlisting line manager support in limiting reputational risks by erring on the side of simplicity in developing tools and processes for managers to use. Clear decision rules guiding the frequency, nature and venue of stakeholder interactions — plus making clear when to involve the communications team — line managers can play an essential role in local stakeholder engagement.

Line managers represent a powerful resource in identifying reputational threats as well as mitigating risks through engagement with key stakeholder groups. In companies with widely varying stakeholder groups across many locations, managers are much better suited to handle the basics of local stakeholder relations than a centralized corporate communications team. Leading communicators account for the real challenges in developing line managers as players in stakeholder engagement.

Case in Point: Alcoa

Alcoa recognized the great potential of their worldwide ranks of line managers and created a Stakeholder Relations Playbook. This condensed set of guidelines and tools made it easy for managers to achieve baseline competence in managing stakeholder relationships. The company discovered that it was not only able to reduce exposure to reputational risks, but better local stakeholder relations yielded direct business benefits.

CEC members can learn more about how Alcoa’s communications team turned line managers into allies in stakeholder relations.

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