Updated: May 5, 2022
Let’s face it, other than companies like us, engagement is not core business. So that means there are people working in organisations, who know the benefit of engagement but feel like they are hitting their head against a brick wall, when it comes to getting buy in and consistency of practise.
Then there are those who see several hard-won gains evaporate with a change of leadership.
So, what does it take to move the uptake of engagement from something that relies on the passion of a few personalities to something that is part of how an organisation operates?
Here are 5 things to add to your check list.
(1) Engagement Policy
Organisations love a good policy but as we know, all polices aren’t created equally. Keeping the policy concise is important, while also ensuring it does 3 things;
· Outlines the organisations commitment to engagement
· Describes the desired benefits of engagement for the organisation stakeholder and community
· Deliver a definition of quality that can then be measured.
(2) Assessment Tools
Before you even get to planning your engagement, there are a number of assessments that are needed. The earlier these assessments can be done, the more likely you are to scope an engagement process that meets the needs of the project and the community. Some of the more critical assessment tools would help you to;
· Assess the social, technical, political and historical landscape for risks
· Assess the outrage risks
· Clarify the purpose and scope of engagement
· Determine the level of detail of planning required and who should have oversight
Ideally, these assessments get done BEFORE the project timelines are scoped.
(3) Quality Planning Tools
Now we have done the assessment we are ready for planning. Templates can be a supportive way to help different teams plan in a consistent way, as long as they don’t result in paperwork for the sake of paperwork. Project teams are busy, so the moment engagement ends up feeling like a barrier to getting done what is needed, the more likely the engagement plan gets done on the back of an envelope. Some key consideration include:
· How the engagement will contribute to the project goals
· Who the stakeholders are and their level of influence?
· The sequence of engagement and methods
· The resourcing, personnel and timelines required
· How success will be measured
(4) Delivery Capability
There are number of skills required for quality engagement, some build these skills in house, some buy them in. Regardless of how you resource the team, at some point you will need to find people that are good at:
· Facilitators and project people who are good in a crisis
· Communicator who knows how to convert detail into accessible language
· People with project and change management skills
· Strong data analysts who can not only synthesis data but help to visualise it
(5) An Implementation & Monitoring Strategy
Once you have worked out what of the above you have and what you need, you will want to develop a plan for how the organisation will fill the gaps. Of course, any good plan will include the ability to
· Measure and enhance the quality of what you are doing
· Build and maintain organisational capacity as you go
I know these can seem like daunting conversation, but each time we have been part of them, we see some amazing things flow.