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When you’re thinking about your stakeholders, do you find yourself listing groups, like customers, prospects, investors or industry organizations? While those are critical audiences, especially if you’re a company focused on selling your product or managing your stock price; an organization managing your reputation or a critical issue; or a school focused on enrollment – but what about your internal stakeholders?
An often overlooked stakeholder group for many organizations are employees. If you take a step back and think about who has access to or can impact those external audiences you care about so much – the answer is simple – your internal stakeholders, right?
Your organization’s stakeholders aren’t just external audiences, they’re your internal folks too. Here are two reasons why you shouldn’t forget about your employees when you’re planning and prioritizing your stakeholder engagement efforts.
- They’re on the front lines. While they may be an “internal” audience, your employees have interactions with and insights about those important external stakeholders. Don’t overlook the impact you can have by educating your internal stakeholders and arming them with your organization’s mission, vision, values and strategy. Then, when they’re talking to a customer, a potential new student or an industry influencer, they’ll know what to say! Help them be successful in carrying forward your organization’s messages.
- An engaged workforce is more productive. Company culture is critical when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. When an organization prioritizes its employees, they can feel it. It creates a culture where people want to work, and those who already work there are happy and productive. By engaging with your employees – asking for feedback and then listening and responding to their needs – you’ll see the benefits that come from an engaged workforce.
So, when you’re building a stakeholder engagement plan, don’t leave employees off your list of audiences you care about. There are many benefits, both internally and externally, to having a strong internal communications effort with this critical audience.
Regular and transparent communication with your internal stakeholders will ensure everyone is aligned with your organization’s strategy and vision, and help them feel their contributions are valued. It also will inspire them to share a positive message about the company with those external audiences.
If you want to learn more, or need help thinking through for first steps toward a stakeholder engagement plan, check out our new white paper on this topic: “Authentic Stakeholder Engagement: Essential to Strengthening Reputation and Managing Risk.”