Organisational buy-in at a senior level is crucial to creating a culture of engagement and the success of your public engagement strategy.
Building the business case
- Link online engagement to organisational objectives, strategic priorities, corporate management plan and, if available, community engagement framework.
- Talk to existing EngagementHQ users about their experiences.
- Gather case study material from similar organisations regarding the benefits from the outcomes of their online consultations.
- Clearly identify all risks and amelioration/negation measures – focus on the tailored application of various moderation and feedback options to projects with different risk profiles.
- Identify the risks to the organisation of NOT engaging properly. How will online engagement ameliorate existing risks to the organisation?
- Look for a champion on the senior/executive management team.
- Gather a group of colleagues from across the organisation to act as program level advocates.
- Get the senior management team to sign off on the contract collectively.
- Invite BtT team in to present and chat with the decision makers.
- Set out post-purchase plan including; internal communications, external communications, implementation strategy, procedures and protocols etc.
Preparing management & colleagues for criticism
- Prepare internal communications plan…
- Arrange briefings of executive, management and (if appropriate) elected members to ensure everybody understands that open discussion may lead to open criticism of existing policies, practices, service levels, etc. Focus on the risk management strategies and positive outcomes from the consultation process.Distribute briefing notes to senior management team outlining the risk management processes that have been built into the organisation’s new online engagement processes.
- Bring the communications, marketing and media teams/people into the tent so that they are fully aware of what is going on. Involve them in the branding and inward and outward facing promotional processes.
Structures, resources & budgets
- Make sure the senior executive with responsibility for engagement is a “true believer”.
- Find a home within the organisation for the (online) community engagement manager/team.
- Allocate EngagementHQ to one person within the organisation to one person to manage and promote.
- Maintain a cross-organisational group as online engagement ambassadors. Continually educate this group about new projects and successes.
- Consider a small budget to “value-add” to project consultations, e.g. for video production.
Internal processes & protocols
- Establish triggers for online engagement within the overall community engagement framework.
- Establish which feedback tools to use under different circumstances.
- Establish who will manage the online component of the consultation process on a day-to-day basis.
- Establish governance model for online feedback (including forums, Q&A, forms etc).
- Establish clear expectations regarding feedback timeliness and authorities.
- Support online engagement with good promotional strategies and activities.
- Distribute internal success stories across the organisation.
- Distribute external case studies to the appropriate line manager within the organisation.
- Capture RoI in terms that match the strategic objectives of the project.