A company’s relationship with the public it serves forms the backbone of a good strategy for its projects. SANRAL’s Stakeholder Strategy is an integral part of the brand.
SANRAL’s stakeholder engagement practices are key success factors in achieving its strategy, which is why ‘Stakeholder’ is one of the organisation’s pillars.
The agency’s priority in creating value, in partnership with its stakeholders, is to ensure that stakeholder relationships are established and maintained ethically and accountably.
This is done through corporate governance mechanisms that include its Stakeholder Engagement Strategy and Implementation Plans.
The Stakeholder Engagement Strategy specifies the norms and values that guide SANRAL’s stakeholder relations and establishes a systematic approach to the management of its stakeholder engagements.
Stakeholder engagement is extremely important to the operation of any organisation. Before developing a strategy for engagement with stakeholders, a business must first understand what stakeholder engagement means to the organisation.
Although it’s often used as an alternate phrase for public relations or reputation management, stakeholder engagement requires a shift in the corporate mindset – a change from treating stakeholders’ issues as outside concerns that need to be managed to serious topics that call for real discussion.
Stakeholder perspectives should inform the company’s strategy and operations if properly embraced.
Stakeholders influence brand equity – the public’s evaluation of a brand – which develops and grows because of their experiences with the brand.
This happens through awareness of, familiarity with, use of, preference for and loyalty to the brand.
However, the level of knowledge about stakeholder relations can vary among key individuals in a company and there may be a need to develop the organisation’s internal capacity before it launches any engagement activities.
It is therefore important that engagement is made a requirement for the development of an effective strategy.
This helps to avoid the risk of being unprepared to listen to stakeholder views and the risk of unintended misrepresentation. It also helps identify the internal champions and owners of future engagement activities.
These individuals are the internal stakeholders, who ideally should be involved in the process of building a strategy. There are many views of what stakeholder engagement involves. These include:
- Ensuring that the relevant parties on whom business objectives have an impact are aware of the company’s projects, as well as their roles and responsibilities in ensuring the success of the projects;
- Identifying the extended audience for communications, the project-related information they should receive and how often
- Ensuring that all the project needs have been identified, their impact is understood and that any project assumptions have been tested.