The value of stakeholder engagement, and why you should all be doing it

Interested in measuring your impact? Of course you are. We all are! So how do we do it? Well, there are several possible ways, but what is critical is that we make the perspectives of the people who are meant to enjoy the benefits of a service visible to decision makers in the system. This is really what the term ‘stakeholder engagement’ means, and when done systematically, and rendered as ‘data’, is an early indicator of change taking place. And enriches your understanding of what is happening now. Moreover, it can enable you to respond and maximise impact in almost real-time. It sounds win-win, right?

Over the last 10 years, Keystone has adapted methods from the customer service industry to generate low-cost, light-touch, timely and reliable signals from key stakeholder groups on their perceptions and experiences of working with social change organizations. The emphasis is very much on generating useful outcome and impact data that can be easily and quickly analyzed among management, staff and stakeholders to foster close to real-time reflection and dialogue about performance and impact – planned and unplanned – to identify lessons and ideas on how to improve.

Such stakeholder engagement may seem like a no-brainer; we should all listen to those we aim to help, and it is our duty to do so. We owe them the opportunity to participate and if we want to be accountable to them, we should give them a voice. This is, by and large, accepted and as a result, many organisations regularly solicit feedback. You may therefore be thinking – ‘if I do it already, why do I need any additional help?!’

For stakeholder engagement to really add value however, especially as part of the impact puzzle, it needs to be collected systematically and used – discussed within an organisation and then responded to, with constituents informed of both what will be done in response to the feedback received and, equally importantly, what is outside the scope of the organization to deliver.

This is where a potentially tokenistic process can become transformative, not just the right thing to do, but the bright thing too. And this is where organizations often need some help. But don’t worry, help is on hand. Together with Social Value UK, Keystone is offering 2 day training on how to squeeze every last drop of value from stakeholder engagement, and ensure you have an effective stakeholder engagement process. One which contributes to an agile and responsive performance management practice, where rapid-cycle feedback loops help managers track progress against key indicators, identify and respond to problems quickly, strengthen relationships, mitigate risks, adapt and learn and ultimately improve their performance and impact.

Its not easy, otherwise you’d be doing it already, but it is perfectly possible. If you are interested in finding out how, then join us in London on October 11th /12th.

We’ll see you there.

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