Stakeholder engagement is a two way process of communication between a project and each of its stakeholders. It is an ongoing process throughout the life of a project.
Stakeholder engagement is an essential basis for:
building strong and mutually beneficial relationships with project stakeholders
improved understanding and decision making
the identification and management of project impacts on communities and related social risks
the identification and management of project risks in relation to time, budget and reputation
maximisation of benefits for all stakeholders.
Other reasons that stakeholder engagement is important include:
You cannot expect cooperation from people if you do not engage and cooperate with them
Stakeholders may be able to delay or stop your project, increase project costs or tarnish your reputation
Properly engaging with stakeholders is increasingly a legislative requirement
The IFC, World Bank, EBRD and other similar institutions require proper stakeholder engagement as a condition for financing
Commercial banks are often Equator Principle signatories, and this stipulates stakeholder engagement
The majority of companies have made commitments to engage with stakeholders, as part of their corporate policy commitments.
Undertaking stakeholder engagement without clear objectives is no different to developing a project or undertaking any human endeavour without objectives i.e. efforts will lack focus. It is useful to disaggregate stakeholders and develop engagement objectives for each group.
The overall objective of stakeholder engagement is to obtain and retain broad community and other stakeholder support to enable the project to develop, operate and expand peacefully. Broad community support is a collection of expressions by affected communities, through individuals and their recognized representatives, in support of the project. There may be broad community support even if some individuals or groups object to the project.
An important secondary objective is that through meaningful engagement stakeholders can influence the design and implementation of projects for mutual benefit.
Intersocial assists clients in the development of stakeholder engagement strategies, stakeholder identification and mapping, development and implementation of stakeholder engagement plans, preparation of communication plans for specific project aspects, and capacity building of client teams in stakeholder engagement. We also specialize in the planning, preparation and management of community relations and key stakeholder negotiations.