The story so far: In the first post in this series we showed you how to map stakeholders according to their levels of interest and influence, and then select the most appropriate digital tools to engage with them (see matrices below). To illustrate, we used the example of a local authority wishing to introduce High Street pedestrianisation plans — and then followed up with three posts that showed you how it might use digital channels to keep them informed, simply and cheaply, consult while showing consideration for their views and collaborate in close partnership. In this post we will be looking at how to keep low interest/high influence stakeholders satisfied.
Engaging stakeholders – to keep them satisfied
Stakeholders in this category can be powerful influencers, but because they potentially have low interest in the pedestrianisation plans, the council will need to find appropriate digital channels and techniques to target their messages. In this way they can provide context and address the specific issues that interest this group of stakeholders, thereby building political support for the project.
Some examples of digital channels they can use to do this include:
- Issue registers. The local authority can compile an online issue register to capture the issues of influential stakeholders, keeping them onside by making sure their concerns are addressed and responded to.
- Document review. Key documents can be shared with VIP stakeholders online, providing them with an opportunity to offer their views if they choose to do so.
- Targeted alerts / information updates. Stakeholders can sign up for regular email updates as policy is formulated and the plans are put into action. As busy people, the council can allow them to tailor their updates around the specific topics they’re interested in.
- Links to articles. To provide wider context, the council can publish web links to relevant press articles and pertinent articles from interest groups regarding pedestrianisation — such as town planners, disabled groups and environmental organisations.
- Project blogs. To keep stakeholders up-to-date regarding progress, selected project team members can share news of important developments and pitfalls using a dedicated pedestrianisation project blog.
Digital channels make it much easier to get information across to influential stakeholders who may have relatively low interest in your plans — but who could damage them if they felt they were inappropriate or poorly considered. Keeping them satisfied by providing relevant timely information and inviting feedback on their own terms minimises this risk, cheaply and simply.
Remember the Stakeholder Database right in the centre of the grid? This can include stakeholder attributes that allow you to build a deeper understanding of stakeholder interests and involvement by examining the information they have received, the consultations they have contributed to and the collaborative work they have undertaken. More importantly, you can quickly measure stakeholders’ levels of engagement and selectively target them for involvement in future stakeholder projects.
As we have seen over this series of posts, digital channels bring major benefits to stakeholder engagement, allowing public sector organisations to inform, consult, collaborate and keep stakeholders engaged in a wide range of ways. In our next post, we’ll look at ways of using software to combine multiple channels, as well as the powerful benefits digital channels bring to stakeholder engagement.
If you’d like to learn more in the meantime, please download our free guide Transforming Public Sector Stakeholder Engagement: Effective Digital Channels and Strategies.
Comments on any issue raised in this series of posts are also very welcome.