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Adding value to your organisation with stakeholder research

Understanding your stakeholders and listening to their needs

January 25th 2016, by louisa

Identifying your stakeholder’s requirements and how they should be delivered is an essential area of governance for many organisations. Without it you’ll struggle to develop appropriate relationships, use relevant communication channels and evolve strategy to ensure best practice. Stakeholder research can be used to consult and gain valuable insights from this important group of people.

What is a stakeholder?

A stakeholder is a broad term. At its most basic it’s simply anyone with an interest or concern in your business or organisation. Stakeholders are commonly involved with your business, have influence over decisions and benefit from the outcomes of your work. They can include external groups such as unions, government bodies and community groups, as well as internal parties such as management, investors and company policy makers.

Stakeholder research

Whilst stakeholder research is often complex, using a simplified approach and segmenting the research into relevant objectives and groups can make the process less daunting and more actionable. It could take the form of stakeholder consultations, telephone, paper or online surveys, and focus groups – all followed up with analysis and result reporting. Its aim should always be to enable organisations to draw enhanced insights and actions from the research outcomes.

Why stakeholder research is important

Improving engagement with stakeholder allows you to better understand the needs of those affected by your business. Being more informed and in-tune with their expectations means your organisation can make educated decisions and stakeholders can feel more involved in the process.

Furthermore, by allowing stakeholders greater input into projects and having their views taken into account means all parties feel listened to. As well as being best practice, transparency and involvement in decision making processes improves stakeholder satisfaction. And in turn, understanding their needs helps shape outcomes which can benefit all those connected to your organisation.

Examples of stakeholder research and consultation we have undertaken include:

  • Water UK, appointed TTi Research to carry out a series of qualitative interviews with stakeholders reviewing different objectives of their role and how these were influenced by external factors in the sector. The evaluation was broad and gathered insight from Executives in a number of high profile organisations and Blue Chip companies. The outcome was a significant success, enabling progress and positive recognition from many participants.
  • National Grid commissioned TTi to undertake a quantitative evaluation with qualitative insight of its stakeholders. This exercise has been designed to deliver against National Grid regulatory requirements. The evaluation has been required to deliver consistency of feedback and yet be fluid and dynamic in its ability to flex with each stakeholder requirement and position. The research engages with NGO’s, Industry bodies, Environment Regulators and Government. This process has provided a host of actionable opportunities for National Grid to progress its objectives and regulatory requirements in this area.
  • SHE Transmission – The establishment work for this consultative research was built around in-depth interviews and groups. We gathered valuable opinion and insight from Supply Chain Partners, Local Authorities, NGO’s, Developers, Elected Representatives and the Innovation Community. Using the significant insight gathered, we allowed stakeholders to provide feedback at different time periods using telephone and online applications. Finally we transitioned the output from complex analytical data to easily applied, actionable insight. Our work with SHE Transmission underpinned a significant planning and development activity. We used it to influence a significant number of wider measures.

 

Our team have broader knowledge of stakeholder consultation and insight gathered through their research careers than the example above. We have extensive experience of carrying out research with stakeholders, including influencers, opinion formers, policy developers, government ministers and their departments, regulators, NGO’s, environmental organisations, consumer organisations, city and financial and the media. Our clients also include supply chain, and service users within their stakeholder category, as they play a significant role in future evolution and development.

 

TTi Research approach to all research is to engage early and support the most appropriate and effective methodology to achieve research objectives.

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