If you’re not familiar with the term ‘stakeholder’ then just assume anyone with an interest in your business or organisation is one. They have an opinion about your brand and they also have the power to influence other people’s perceptions.
Too often we think of customers and shareholders as the main stakeholder groups and all too often the people who keep the business running are left off. Your team!
Often staff is considered a challenge rather an asset. What if staff were nurtured as stakeholders? What if staff were fed them with learning opportunities and watered with the chance to feel empowered to take on challenges and solve problems? I say that mindset is 75% of the battle.
Staff is one of, if not the most important stakeholder group. Don’t forget them. Include them. Nurture them.
This isn’t all the responsibility of the CEO. Line managers/middle management, have a large role to play and they need supported in order to nurture the team.
So, what key things do line managers need to do, to effectively support the team and give them these opportunities?
1. Genuinely get to know staff members
2. Listen and observe – be present
3. Regularly have 1-2-1 discussions with the team – it’s not always work challenges you can help with
4. Ensure the exec team is communicating with middle management regularly
5. When there is a challenge, ensure there is an action plan developed to try and overcome it
6. Celebrate good work – notice it and ensure it’s acknowledged
7. Communicate with the exec team when there is a challenge and you need support
8. Set up internal recruitment schemes to offer progression within and bespoke perks
9. Develop a programme for innovation where staff feel empowered to solve problems
10. Be genuine
11. Be aware of your own style and be open to constructive feedback
As a result, your team members will want to help you succeed and will be more productive, participative, caring and hold themselves accountable. Most importantly, they’ll be happier!
It comes back down to the basics of PR. Build relationships by genuinely caring and that’s when trust and respect is earned and given.
Find out more about Laura Sutherland’s work and this year’s PRFest here.