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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?

I think it is critical is that we make the perspectives of the people intended to enjoy the benefits of a service visible to the decision makers in the system.

This is really what the term ‘stakeholder engagement’ means. When done systematically and rendered as ‘data’, it is an early indicator of change taking place and can enrich your understanding of what is happening now. It can enable you to respond to what is happening 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 organisations.

We emphasise generating useful outcome and impact data that can be easily and quickly analysed among management, staff and stakeholders. The data can be used 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, especially as part of the impact puzzle

  • it needs to be collected systematically
  • used and discussed within your organisation
  • responded to – inform people of what will be done in response to the feedback received and, equally importantly, what is outside the scope of the organisation to deliver.

This is where a potentially tokenistic process can become transformative, not just the right thing to do, but the bright thing too. This is where organisations often need some help.

But don’t worry, help is on hand. Together with Social value UK, Keystone is offering two day training on how to squeeze every last drop of value from stakeholder engagement, and ensure you have an effective stakeholder engagement process.

A process that 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 11 & 12 October.

We’ll see you there.

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