Microsoft word - ompwebsite-resources-stakedholderrels.rtf

Managing stakeholder relationships to ensure business success
It is a fundamental fact that any business can only be successful with the input, commitment and support of people. It is people that buy, sell, and make decisions and so make business work, no
matter how automated a business model may be. But people are more than just a firm’s customers or users of its services. To be successful – especially in today’s world where society has so many ethical expectations of businesses - a business needs to think in a rounded, systematic way about the overall range and variety of different types of people it needs to relate to and keep happy. These various people are often called ‘stakeholders‘ and effective management today calls for
businesses to adopt a conscious, pro-active process for ensuring they gain and maintain the support
and commitment of their particular stakeholders. A good process for managing relations with a firm’s stakeholders consists of five key steps: Identifying and categorising a firm’s various stakeholders Segmenting and prioritising stakeholder groups Getting to know the opinions and expectations of each stakeholder group Communicating and engaging with stakeholders Continuously reviewing stakeholders’ views and the impact of a firm’s communication Identifying your stakeholders
Stakeholders are individuals and organisations that have an interest in the performance of your firm and possibly the power to affect its performance. For practical purposes, stakeholders are normally considered in terms of ‘stakeholder groups’ – clusters of similar people or organisations who can be
expected to hold similar views and expectations of your firm. Who might these groups be ? Let’s take the example of retailer – say a local pharmacy. For such a business the following types of stakeholder would apply: - Owners / shareholders
- Management and staff
- Customers / patients
- Product suppliers/wholesalers
- NHS – all relevant local/regional/national bodies/services the pharmacy needs to work with
- Other local healthcare professionals e.g. GPs, clinics, therapists
- Industry, professional and regulatory bodies that work in the sector
- Business service providers used – from energy to accounting services
- Community & voluntary – e.g. local council, library/information services, resident support
- Media – local, regional and national press, websites etc the pharmacy or patients use
- Financial / creditors - bankers, people who have given credit etc.
- Competitors – other local pharmacists and alternative service providers
Some stakeholders obviously have more influence than others – either in terms of their business
value to you or influence over other stakeholders. That influence could be moral or subtle rather than formal or contractual (for example, a local newspaper business columnist who has a particular interest in watching how local retailers keep a clean and tidy shop frontage). Also, of course, stakeholders differ in terms of how much positive interest they have in your business – either
Segmenting and prioritising stakeholder groups
The fact that stakeholder groups do differ in terms of their relative influence and interest in /
positive support for your business gives rise to a simple but very helpful approach for prioritising
your stakeholder communication efforts. It involves dividing stakeholders into four categories, and
we illustrate by continuing with the example of a local pharmacy:
1. ‘Low influence, low interest’ stakeholders: Examples could be minor local tradesmen you
may possibly use in the future and other businesses in your community but not in the immediate neighbourhood. 2. ‘Low influence, high interest’ stakeholders: Examples would include local / other firms and
suppliers you actually use and individual patients/shoppers using your business. These
people want and expect to receive your attention but you should not over-emphasize them
in terms of your time and money.
3. ‘High influence, low interest’ stakeholders : For a typical, small pharmacy, examples might
be large/national suppliers and wholesalers used, professional and regulatory bodies, large organisational clients, and the local council. These are important people for you to communicate with and, if you know their low interest is really low regard or low support for you, you must find out what is driving their feelings, so you can address them.
4 ‘High influence, high interest’ stakeholders: These would typically include your
shareholders, management and staff, regular/long-standing patients , your loyal/high-
spending customers, local and regional NHS bodies, and other local/regional health
professionals you work with or have contact with. These are your ‘key players’ in terms of
your stakeholder relations efforts: you must go out of your way to actively engage and
nurture relationships with these people because they are in a position to ‘make or break’
This type of classification of your stakeholders is suitable not only for a high-level review for each stakeholder group in terms of their overall relationship with your firm, but can also be used at a more tactical level for assessing stakeholders in connection with a specific business issue or goal
you are interested in. For instance, if your business is planning to close down one of its offices and relocate to another area of town, you could use the basis of the four status categories to help classify which of your stakeholders are likely to be valuable supporters (allies), uninterested ‘fence-
sitters’, or opponents and so you can plan differential communication and influencing measures
Identifying your stakeholders’ opinions and expectations
Once you have identified and classified your firm’s stakeholders, you then need to gain a good ‘feel’
for what are the key views and expectations held by each group, so you can design and implement
appropriate communication efforts. The information does not need to be as extensive as the
understanding you will - hopefully - already have about your customers and patients but should still
representative and reliable.
The main types of information you need about each stakeholder group include:
- what they think generally of your firm at the moment and what aspects they see as more - what their specific opinions are concerning major issues, plans or ideas your business has in mind / whether they are mostly positive or negative towards you and why - how they expect a firm like yours to go about its day-to-day affairs and relate to the wider - what particular aspects of your firm they are most interested or concerned about and want - how exactly they would like you to keep in contact - how much they would like to actively get involved with you and engage with what your firm does rather than just receive information ‘passively’
Except for major individuals or organisations within a stakeholder group who form a very large slice
of that group or who are particularly vocal and have a disproportionate influencing effect on others
(who you should go and talk to individually), it is normally adequate to develop an overall picture or
assessment of opinion for each stakeholder group by approaching a reasonable cross-section of
people from a group, rather than trying to go and consult every member of a group (highly unlikely
to be feasible, anyway).
For a small or mid-sized business, there is no need to get too precise or sophisticated about this
information exercise. The simplest tools to use are usually: feedback from customer satisfaction
surveys; direct 1: 1 meetings or extended telephone conversations with a selection of individual
stakeholders from a group; holding one or two dedicated discussion groups or ‘open-meetings’ with
several people from a group ; a questionnaire using email or hard-copy letter; a feedback survey on
your website; and feedback/opinion cards in your pharmacy store. Other, more indirect methods
include reading relevant local and professional press and asking your staff for their views about how
different stakeholders feel.

Communicating and engaging with stakeholders

There is a whole range of tools and techniques available to you to communicate and engage with
stakeholders. Keeping things simple, though, the best approach is to employ four or five general
techniques that reach several of your stakeholder groups at the same time, backed up by a few more
intensive, interactive methods to engage more fully and in more detail with your most significant
stakeholders within groups.
Your most valuable ‘general’ communication tools should include the following:
- your website – should contain ongoing news and information about your business as well as
routine information about your services. - a general, hand-out leaflet about your business and services (ideally updated each year)
- a periodic newsletter - an e-mail version at least that is widely circulated
- holding of one or two update / feedback forum meetings with your major stakeholder
- occasional press releases and articles you can write covering news about your business or
topical issues for local/professional media - You / your senior staff networking at local community/professional functions/events

Be sure to address topics in your communications which you know some stakeholder groups have
concerns about (or misunderstand) and include response / feedback mechanisms, wherever
possible, so that stakeholders can ‘talk back’ to you rather than just be ‘talked at’: this is what
building relationships is all about.

The most effective ‘engagement’ methods to use with your most significant stakeholders – where
there is the opportunity crucially to have a two-way dialogue with people – typically include:
- Periodic 1:1 visits / meetings - Periodic 1:1 telephone conversation - Annual or twice-yearly seminar or discussion group aimed at a targeted stakeholder group - Regular news / feedback/ planning meetings with your management and staff team - Periodic ‘informal’ social event aimed at your key commercial and professional contacts - Periodic informal / hospitality events for selected groups
Continually monitor stakeholders and your communications
The final step in the stakeholder management process is to periodically – at least once a year - carry
out an updated review of who are the main individuals and organisations in all your stakeholder
groups, check you have a good ‘handle’ on their latest views, and also review the results of your
various communication activities.
For reviewing your communications results, at one level, measure direct responses to individual
activities like the number of major stakeholders who agree to meet with you 1:1, number of people
who downloaded your newsletter off your website, and how many people turned up to each of your
events. At a higher level, try and judge how much you have detected, compared to last year,
improvements in positive interest in or support for your firm across each stakeholder group,
particularly major players within each group.
Overall, stakeholder relationship management is more of an art than exact science, but it can still
be handled systematically and methodically. Best to try and organise for success than to leave to
chance !
Owen Morris Partnership 2011



TESTIMONIALS Eyesight Improved My name is Carolyn Schonning. For the past 20 years or so I’ve been pursuing good health. I've maintained a fairly good diet, taken many supplements, herbs, animal organ concentrates, etc., over the years. I’ve done a fair amount of cleansing and consumed a “tonne” of health products from various companies. I've never experienced anything like I

Talking about teen suicide is a start Parents must be vigilant in spotting the warning signs By MARK BONOKOSKI "An average of 400 Canadian kids take their own life every year, enough to fill a jumbo jet. If a jumbo jet went down every year filled with kids, there would be an investigation pretty An information package -- guidelines for parents to detect depression and prevent the

Copyright © 2009-2018 Drugs Today