Stakeholder management encompasses perceptions as well as expectations. This discipline has moved from a pure information dissemination process and communication with stakeholders to a deep understanding of the expectations of various stakeholder groups. Stakeholder analysis and engagement helps companies improve risk management, identify opportunities, enter new markets, create new products and services according to best practice models and to be recognised as a valuable corporate citizen.
What is stakeholder management?
Definition: The meaning of stakeholder management is the process and activities associated with managing a company’s impacts on its stakeholders and recognising the influence of stakeholders on its licence to operate.
The challenge for engagement practitioners is to learn about different stakeholder engagement approaches and programmes across industries and geographies, analyse their effectiveness and explore new ways to create value.
The importance of stakeholder engagement cannot be overstated. It can lead to open, trusting, respectful relationships built on dialogue. It can also create more legitimate relationships between organisations and their internal and external stakeholders. Valuable information and insight can be gained that could influence the future sustainability of organisations. This not only helps an organisation to make continuous sustainability progress; it also provides valuable additional input.
Sustainability issues and expectations are complex, and understanding and addressing them requires that a business not work in isolation. Rather, it should solicit responses from all stakeholders.
Our stakeholder management clients engage us on:
- Specific sustainability aspects and topics such as economic, environmental or social aspects.
- Subject-specific issues such as health, water, energy or human rights.
- Specific perceptions such as customer satisfaction, requirements or expectations.
Next Generation helps companies learn how to transform their stakeholder engagement approach by moving from strategic consultation towards collaborative, inclusive and deep engagement that provides mutual value. We also help companies understand current global trends in stakeholder engagement, and where it’s going next. We share new insights on different typologies for engagement, how value is created and what future modes of engagement might look like.
We have assisted companies across Africa to engage meaningfully with all stakeholder groups through personal meetings and dialogue, focus groups and questionnaires, immersions, townhall meetings or perception surveys. We help our clients focus to engage substantively with stakeholders on economic, social, environmental and governance issues.
By testing and researching community perceptions of community investment programmes and funding and donor relationships, we can provide our clients with knowledge and insight into community needs and requirements.
In support of organisations’ social objectives that are aligned to broader sustainability aspects, we can test various aspects that inform organisational strategies. They also impact the communication requirements of stakeholders, and provide operational feedback on:
- environmental elements (water, energy, waste, pollution, etc.)
- social aspects (health and safety, human rights, community investment and development, socio-economic development, etc.)
- economic factors (job creation, skills development, enterprise development, procurement, etc.)