Before beginning the consultation process, it is useful to think about:
- What are the strategic reasons for consulting with stakeholders at this stage?
- Who needs to be consulted?
- What are the priority issues (for them and for you)?
- What will be the most effective methods of communicating with stakeholders?
- Who within the company is responsible for what activities?
- Are there any other engagement activities that will occur in the proposed timeframe (perhaps with other sections of your organisation)? Are there opportunities to collaborate to ensure key project messages are consistent and avoid consultation fatigue?
- How will the results be captured, tracked, reported and disseminated?
A Stakeholder Engagement Plan that clearly outlines answers to these key questions helps save time, reduce costs, and keep expectations in check.
An example of a stakeholder engagement plan framework is below.
FRAMEWORK STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT PLAN
Step 1: Purpose of the Plan
Could be a wide range of objectives from meeting regulatory requirements, building trust and relationships, to gaining broad community support to obtain ‘social license to operate’
Step 2: Requirements
Are there any regulatory, corporate and internal requirements that need to be met?
Step 3: Identification of Stakeholders
List key stakeholders who will be consulted about the project
Step 4: A summary of previous engagement activities
This is to identify key stakeholder issues and opportunities to date to shape the focus and boundaries for the engagement plan
Step 5: Stakeholder Engagement Program
Outline the strategies, methods of engagement, what information will be disclosed, in what format
Step 6: Timeline
Provide a schedule for undertaking the program
Step 7: Roles and Responsibilities
Outline the team structure, and who will be responsible for what task
Step 8: Monitoring and Reporting
Describe how and when the results of the engagement activities will be reported back to stakeholders, and any plans to involve stakeholders or third parties in monitoring of the engagement activities.
Planning is necessary to identify strategies, resources and timelines so the consultation objectives are met. The nature, scale and frequency of engagement should be relative to the level of risks and potential impacts the project is likely to create.
Ready to implement your consultation plan? Check out some tips for better implementationhere.
To learn more about running a successful stakeholder consultation program, download our e-book on it.
Some additional resources on a Stakeholder Engagement Framework can also be found here.