Ethical stakeholder relations are the foundation for building mutual understanding with your publics.
The phrase 'stakeholder relations' is used liberally in private and public sector organisations but the way organisations put those stakeholder relations into practice can vary widely, depending on the needs of the organisation and their stakeholders.
No matter the approach, interactions with stakeholders should reflect an organisation's culture and values but also be appropriate to the needs of your constituents and stakeholders.
If we are truly honest and open, then our engagement with stakeholders needs to be the same. The process should start with an honest stocktake of why we might matter to their clique. Whether we are trying to build knowledge, change opinions or attitudes, or simply be part of the conversation, we need to demonstrate why we deserve to be part of their clique. If we can’t find that value proposition, then we need to get to know them better. Sometimes, if there is no meaningful reason to engage – don’t.
Ethical stakeholder relations means that your reason for engagement ultimately delivers real value to those stakeholder groups. If there is a reason to engage do so in a way that ensure the interests of your cliques are protected or enhanced in the same way you will be ensuring the needs of your own organisation are met. Honesty and openness means being sincere about why you want to connect with stakeholders and what the potential benefit to both parties might be. These principles are fundamental to a good relationship - like any relationship, you get out what you put in.
It is often said that investment in any sponsorship property should be matched by a threefold investment in building, maintaining and leveraging that relationship. In reality far less is invested, but no matter the quantity, the initial agreement to work together is what paves the way for future success.
For The Clique, connecting with the cliques within each of your stakeholder groups means you have reached your core groups of influencers. We follow the PRINZ code of ethics in all our communications practices.