Do you monitor how frequently you communicate with your stakeholders? If not, then understanding how you can successfully track and monitor your stakeholder engagement should be a priority. Maintaining continuous communication with your stakeholders should be a top concern if you want to enhance stakeholder participation successfully.
Sustaining frequent communication means you’re doing much more than keeping people in the loop. Consistency establishes trust and transparency and demonstrates your commitment to engaging with stakeholders, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved. It’s all about building those solid connections and fostering meaningful relationships.
Having a clear roadmap that outlines your strategies, activities, and a timeline for engaging with stakeholders will ensure that your interactions are purposeful and effective.
With a clear goal and strategy in mind, you can ensure that your stakeholder engagement is effective as you are able to track and monitor your efforts successfully.
Monitoring and tracking stakeholder engagement is crucial for the success of any project, here are our top ten tips to get you started:
- Implement an SRM
- Identify key stakeholders
- Establish clear goals and objectives
- Determine stakeholder engagement metrics
- Seek stakeholder feedback
- Record all stakeholder interactions
- Regularly analyse your SRM data
- Compare against benchmarks and targets
- Reflect and evaluate your next steps
- Adapt your stakeholder engagement strategy
1. Implement an SRM
Before you dive headfirst into your stakeholder engagement, a great way to keep track of your stakeholder data is by setting up a Stakeholder Relationship Management platform (SRM).
What is an SRM, you might ask? Think of it as having the ultimate tool to help you keep track of and manage your stakeholder information in one convenient and centralised platform.
With an SRM, you can effortlessly stay on top of your data and ensure your engagement activity is organised and easily accessible. By tracking and monitoring your interactions, communications, and engagement activities in one space, you can make more informed decisions on shifting your engagement strategy when required.
Inputting and maintaining key details, such as stakeholder roles, interests, and contact information, will help you stay organised with real-time monitoring and up-to-date data.
Don’t have an SRM? Although an SRM will make a world of difference in streamlining this process, the following tips can still be implemented.
2. Identify key stakeholders
Once you have your SRM up and running correctly, it’s time to pinpoint which stakeholders you need to connect with. By identifying your key stakeholders and understanding their interests, you’ll gain a clearer picture of who can offer you the most influence and support. Or, who might be a bit more difficult to manage.
By utilising an SRM, you can capture stakeholder data and categorise this into custom ‘Stakeholder Groups’ or even by ‘Level of Influence/Impact’. This can help you quickly identify what key stakeholders are engaging the most and how you update communications strategies in the long run.
You can view your stakeholder data by identifying the last time you interacted with someone in a particular area and their preferred communication form. This may include emails, web submissions, and phone calls by viewing these interactions against a dedicated contact record.
You can learn how to interact with stakeholders more effectively when you understand their communication preferences.
3. Establish clear goals and objectives
Now that you have identified who you need to engage with, it’s essential to ask yourself: What do you want to achieve through your stakeholder engagement? Is it to receive feedback? To identify and understand risks and concerns? Receive support? Help with decision-making?
Commonly, it’s a collection of all of the above. So, establishing these goals from the start will ensure you are tracking the right data.
It’s crucial to ensure key stakeholders are kept in the loop on what is required of them throughout the engagement, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. That way, you’ll be on the same wavelength, working towards the same goal.
Addressing and discussing your stakeholder’s concerns and having them involved throughout a project’s process will lead to better trust, transparency, and building positive relationships.
4. Determine stakeholder engagement metrics
Engagement metrics provide a quantifiable way to measure the progress and effectiveness of stakeholder engagement efforts. By defining specific metrics, organisations can track and evaluate the level of stakeholder involvement such as the feedback received and the impact of engagement activities.
This enables you to assess the success of your engagement strategies and make better-informed decisions for improvement.
For instance, if you have your project tracked in an SRM, you can easily monitor all stakeholder activity over time. You can understand stakeholder sentiment, pinpoint the exact Issues you want to track, and see what Event types are most recorded.
You can also set a baseline to ensure you receive a diverse representation of participants or that you a correctly reaching all of your specified stakeholder groups.
5. Seek stakeholder feedback
While you’re interacting with your stakeholders, it’s crucial to actively listen to their needs and concerns. Why? By actively seeking input, it allows you to understand your stakeholder’s perspectives while also gaining valuable feedback about their engagement experience. For example, you might use surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings to receive feedback.
To foster collaboration, consider organising stakeholder workshops, focus groups, or town hall meetings where stakeholders can share their insights, exchange ideas, and work towards common goals.
Alternatively, you can implement a hybrid approach with an online engagement platform to increase reach and enhance accessibility so stakeholders can continue the conversation and collaborate remotely. By having a long-term engagement strategy and incorporating multiple channels, you will be able to drive better outcomes.
Giving your stakeholders a voice ensures that they feel heard and acknowledged in the decision-making process, which will help you to build trust and better relationships.
So, by listening to this feedback, you can increase your stakeholder buy-in and support while making improvements and enhancing the effectiveness of your stakeholder engagement strategies.
6. Record all stakeholder interactions
Rather than sifting through spreadsheets, an SRM can help you capture stakeholder data by recording every interaction. Some SRMs even include templates that you can customise to help reduce the load of repetitive data entry.
Whether you communicate via email, phone calls, online, or face-to-face meetings, every interaction holds valuable insights and essential information. If your stakeholder engagement strategy includes a balance of online and face-to-face engagement, then having a centralised space to analyse all of this data together is incredibly powerful.
An SRM can be tailored to capture the types of classifications you need to track engagement data successfully and will ensure you can segment data appropriately.
If you are recording all stakeholder interactions effectively then you not only have an up-to-date and relevant stakeholder database but you can easily benchmark performance over time. For example, you may understand that certain Stakeholder Groups engage better with emails rather than SMS.
7. Regularly analyse your SRM data
Once you have all of your data, you can utilise the reporting and analytics tools of your SRM. Generating customised reports and visualisations can help you better understand your data. For example, Consultation Manager’s ‘Issues Over Time’ report can help you instantly identify and pinpoint where to refocus attention.
This will ensure that you remain proactive in identifying risks and issues as they arise in the future. By closely examining the data, you can pinpoint gaps, challenges, or emerging concerns in stakeholder engagement.
If you notice a decline in stakeholder engagement or a specific issue consistently raised in feedback, you can proactively adjust your strategies to address these challenges.
8. Compare against your benchmarks and targets
Reviewing and comparing your previous stakeholder engagement data against these benchmarks allows you to identify areas of improvement, so you can make better-informed decisions to enhance your stakeholder engagement strategies. By utilising an SRM for example, you can then view your historical engagement data and use that to benchmark against future projects.
You might set a benchmark for stakeholder satisfaction levels based on feedback that’s received through surveys or direct interactions. This benchmark can help you assess the overall satisfaction of stakeholders and identify areas where improvements are needed.
9. Reflect and evaluate your next steps
What worked? What didn’t work?
Is there anything you can improve? Anything that surprised you?
Taking some time to reflect on your engagement so far is critical. This reflection offers a deeper understanding of stakeholder behaviour, preferences, and sentiment. As a result, it will help you make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement.
10. Adapt your stakeholder engagement strategy
Continuously monitoring and analysing the data and insights gathered from your SRM will allow you to make informed adjustments to your stakeholder engagement strategy.
Valuable insights into stakeholder preferences, needs and behaviours should come to light based on the helpful data visualisations and analytics within your SRM. Since you’ve been able to reflect already, you can make actionable modifications to future processes.
By improving your stakeholder engagement strategy over time, you’re creating a meaningful environment to build stronger relationships. This should boost the overall impact and success of your initiatives as you work to communicate and connect with your stakeholders in the most relevant way.
So, by tapping into this data, you’ll be able to fine-tune and customise your communication strategies to ensure your engagement efforts match your stakeholder’s needs.
When you diligently track and monitor your stakeholder interactions and truly grasp their needs, you can tailor your communication strategies. This allows you to foster stronger relationships with your stakeholders, establishing a solid foundation of understanding and collaboration.
An SRM can help you unlock the unlimited possibilities of stakeholder engagement and support you to successfully reach your goals, drive outcomes, and make a positive impact. And, by remaining proactive in your stakeholder engagement, you can ensure your conversations and overall consultation is as meaningful as possible.