Dec 18, 2023  Jambo

The step-by-step guide to mapping out your stakeholder engagement strategy

Stakeholder engagement is a crucial aspect of any successful project or initiative. It goes beyond communication—building relationships, understanding diverse perspectives, and aligning interests. 

This blog will delve into each step of creating a stakeholder engagement strategy that ensures meaningful collaboration and project success. 

Step 1: Identify your stakeholders

Begin by creating a comprehensive list of all potential stakeholders. 

Stakeholder mapping is an exercise where you identify project stakeholders and then categorize these stakeholders to help guide your engagement strategy. 

Consider all parties that may have a personal stake in or be impacted by your project. This includes regulatory bodies, government agencies, local authorities, landowners, local businesses, community groups, etc.  

A thorough identification of stakeholders forms the foundation for effective engagement. To help you begin the stakeholder identification process, we've compiled this list of questions to get you started. 

Step 2: Understand stakeholder needs and expectations

Once you've identified your stakeholders, the next crucial step is understanding their needs, expectations, and concerns.  

Stakeholder engagement expectations are increasing, and gathering insights directly from your stakeholders may be helpful to understand how to tailor your approach and overall stakeholder engagement strategy.  

You could conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather insights directly from your stakeholders. This can help you learn about their perspectives, interests, concerns and opinions on your organization and project. 

Step 3: Categorize your stakeholders 

To prioritize your engagement efforts, categorize stakeholders based on their level of influence and interest in your project.  

This is called stakeholder analysis, which helps to tailor communication strategies and engagement activities. 

Common categories include high influence/high interest, high influence/low interest, low influence/high interest, and low influence/low interest. 

Step 4: Develop clear communication channels

Effective communication is the backbone of successful stakeholder engagement.  

Identify and establish communication channels suitable for each stakeholder group and establish a regular communication cadence.  

Whether it's regular meetings, newsletters, or updates check-ins, align your communication channels with the preferences of your stakeholders and be transparent with stakeholders about how often they can expect communication from you. This helps to build trust with your stakeholders (but you must follow through with your communication promises to keep the faith)! 

Step 5: Set clear goals and objectives 

Define clear and measurable goals for your stakeholder engagement strategy. What do you aim to achieve through engagement? Set key performance indicators (KPIs) for your team, project, or organization to track progress.  

This goal-setting exercise provides a roadmap for your engagement activities and allows you to assess the impact of your efforts. 

Expert tip from the Jambo customer success team: A common project-level stakeholder engagement goal for organizations is to communicate with groups from every community within the region they're developing in. This would mean mapping out the area and ensuring all regions or localities are covered in the plan.  

A Stakeholder Relationship Management software (SRM), like Jambo, can help you organize your data into shareable maps and show a visual representation of where you engaged, track your goals progress, and understand the communities you still need to engage. 

Step 6: Create an engagement plan 

Now, it's time to create the plan. Based on the information gathered to date, make a step-by-step engagement plan that is detailed but easy for the team to follow. 

This plan should outline specific actions, timelines, and the responsible parties for each engagement activity. Read our blog, 5 essential steps to a stakeholder engagement plan, to help you get started.  

Step 7: Implement and iterate

With your engagement plan in place, start executing it and be prepared to iterate based on feedback and evolving circumstances.  

Flexibility is crucial here—ensure the project can adapt to changing circumstances while staying focused on achieving your goals. Regularly review your strategy to identify areas for improvement so you can remain responsive to your stakeholders' needs. 

Step 8: Evaluate and measure

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your stakeholder engagement efforts. Use both qualitative and quantitative data to measure progress against your established KPIs. Make data-driven adjustments as needed.  

Continuous evaluation ensures your strategy remains dynamic and impactful. 

Mapping out a stakeholder engagement strategy is a dynamic process that demands ongoing attention and refinement.  

By following these steps, you can build a robust stakeholder engagement strategy. Remember, it's not just about ticking off steps but embracing the iterative nature of engagement for sustained success. 

 

Published by Jambo December 18, 2023
Jambo

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