Organizations want to make a connection between the purpose of their business, the benefit to society, and all the other stakeholders. It is a clear trend these days, and we can observe five levels of engagement.
Many organizations make a clear commitment to transparently delivering a positive impact to all, based on the idea that parties beyond shareholders have a legitimate interest in the outcomes of the business. They recognize that moving from contractual stakeholder management to a broader engagement can deliver value sustainably. The levels of engagement can vary.
Level #1: Involve the human aspect of business in their operations.
It is visible in communications, e.g., mission, purpose, vision and value statements. Organizations embrace talking about it, e.g., the human/employee aspect of decisions they take. In most cases, these statements are stapled on the wall already.
Level #2: Engage in a dialogue with stakeholders on the impact of business.
It is already challenging and requires integrity, a consistent approach by all leaders, openness and trust from all sides.
Level #3: Measure the people-effect of business.
The challenge is how to measure engagement regularly? How to use insights based on the measurements? How can we avoid number crunching once a year instead of elevating the dialogue to the next level?
Level #4: Regularly report on results and being open to public scrutiny.
You can report available data, and measurement is not obsolete and representative by the time data is published.
Level #5: Make a clear commitment to making business better.
Budgeting business results, committing on, e.g., profit to shareholders, is everyday practice for businesses. How about committing to the human benefit business delivers to various stakeholder groups and delivering on it?
On which level is your business, and where do you want to be?
Reading trending business news, official communications of companies, talking to leaders, we can observe a clear tendency to go to higher levels on the benefits businesses can deliver to people from various stakeholder groups.
We also understand that the road is not easy, having entrenched corporate habits for solely optimizing business benefit to shareholders. Sometimes, people go too far and forget the essentials of business; to generate profit.
We are glad to see that more and more board members embrace the idea, C-level execs act with integrity, express their genuine interest in a better business, and understand that there is still a lot to change, which is not an easy ride. Here are a few questions to start with:
What are the key results you want to deliver in the people aspect of your business?
What are the behaviors of various stakeholder groups which would be vital to reach your objectives?
How could you influence this behavior and make it stick?
How could you transform positive behaviors into corporate habits?
We are committed to supporting you along the way when you are striving to go to a better business.
Please get in contact with us. We'll be delighted to discuss how we can support you.