The 9 things to look for in the Stakeholder Engagement section in an Integrated Report.

We have all read the stakeholder engagement section in annual integrated reports. Very boring, aren’t they? They look like they have all been written by the same person. It is so obvious that they have been composed to meet a compliance requirement rather than to crowdcommunicate real knowledge about stakeholder engagement activities and achievements in support of business imperatives.

The following questions will help you assess the quality of stakeholder engagement reporting:

  1. Does the report indicate the relationship of stakeholders to the company, and the relationship between stakeholders, within an organising framework? Does this framework give a sense of which stakeholders are most important?
  2. Does the report indicate the relationship of different issues of importance to the company and to stakeholders? Is the relationship between the issues expressed within an organising framework? Does this framework give a sense of which issues are most important?
  3. Does the report describe the different engagement activities undertaken to pursue the engagement priorities? Does the engagement come across as a sustained process rather than as a series of staged events?
  4. Does the report provide qualitative insights explaining how successful engagements have been? Has there been a major breakthrough? These should relate to long-term relationships rather than events.
  5. Are there quantitative targets, such as timelines and resources?
  6. Are there unedited statements or quotations in the report from key stakeholders about the value and impact of the engagement process?
  7. Are there statements about the engagement risks faced by the company, relating specifically to the acknowledged issues?
  8. Is the stakeholder engagement section longer than two pages? The standard quick-and-dirty stakeholder report from the PR department seems to be two pages or less. Anything longer than two pages and there is a chance that this organisation takes stakeholder engagement seriously.
  9. Step back from the integrated repot and consider the following: Do you get a sense that stakeholder engagement is an integral part of the strategy of the organisation? Are they doing this to mitigate risk or to develop new beneficial opportunities? Or are they just doing this to fulfil compliance obligations?

I am sure you have specific contents you look for in a stakeholder engagement report. Please share with us, so we can all be enriched.

#JamesFor, #StakeholderEngagement, #Sustainability, #Risk, #AnnualIntegratedReport

Author: James Forson

James Forson spends a great deal of time near the centre of an intricate Venn diagram where management consulting, fiction and business writing, social investment governance, home-grown vegetables and procrastination overlap.