There is no doubt that organizations impact their stakeholders, but what is often overlooked is that stakeholders can have considerable impact on organizations – stemming not only from shareholders and employees, but also from communities, suppliers, consumers and other groups.
For this reason stakeholder engagement is key to effective Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) and Sustainability, allowing organizations to maximize positive stakeholder impacts and manage, or even avoid, negative impacts.
CSR engagement is a commitment from the organization to transparent honest dialogue with key stakeholder groups, not only to make them aware of the organizations activities, but also to understand and address their concerns through a two-way dialogue.
Because an organization has numerous stakeholder groups, at Schema we believe it is crucial to prioritize them based on their potential to positively and negatively impact the organization, and develop engagement plans accordingly to help our clients achieve their objectives.
We strongly believe that organizations committed to stakeholder engagement and effective plans can reap many benefits including: building trust with stakeholders and creating a sense of ownership, opening channels for dialogue, identifying risks and having access to information that the organization may not have been aware of independently, and improving the image of the organization.
Our CSR engagement plans begin with identifying the priority stakeholders groups, their potential impacts, and the best approach to start the dialogue. Once the dialogue has been established, the engagement plan evolves to include:
- Objectives of the engagement
- Means to achieve the objectives
- Required resources (including people and budgets)
- Processes, responsibilities and accountability
- Measurable outcomes and key performance indicators where relevant
- Internal and external communication vehicles to build awareness of the engagement to positively impact the image of the organization