by Jeff Lerner, vice president of marketing at Flock Freight
Today, the success of a business depends on its ability to generate social and political support. From customers and employees to investors and community members, stakeholder engagement plays a tremendous role in the future of your company.
Subsequently, considering the needs and wants of all your stakeholders is critical. Each group will have a unique perspective of your business and contribute to its success in a unique way. While internal stakeholders may voice one opinion, external stakeholders will likely voice another. Regardless, both views can add value to your business plan. What’s most important is considering the various ideas and judgments of all parties with a vested interest in your company to build a cohesive vision.
Stakeholder analysis is the first step in stakeholder management, which begins with identifying groups the company’s project will affect. Buy-in from these stakeholders in your business policy and practice will:
- Improve information flows, policies, project management, and program results.
- Give anyone affected by the outcome a chance to be heard.
- Generate clarity and a shared vision among all parties involved.
- Allow your organization to identify key stakeholders and improve the relationship they have with your business.
- Bring a diverse group together, all with unique knowledge, experience, and expertise, to collaborate and strategize solutions for the life cycle of your projects.
- Build new partnerships that can add value to your business.
- Identify new strategies to bring your business to the next level and drive innovation.
- Improve governance and decrease your organization’s level of risk.
- Enhance the surrounding community’s confidence in your company’s decision-making process and business policies.
Listening to beneficiaries like customers, employees, and stockholders is fairly simple. But what about those who possess a much smaller voice, or perhaps no voice at all? How about important stakeholders like the greater community that may have opposing views? Many firms rely exclusively on the opinions of business leaders who approve of their projects, ignoring other perspectives. As a result, they miss out on opportunities to gain visibility and support from surrounding communities. Acknowledging the well-being of the environment while building strong channels of engagement and communication with your community will foster strong relationships, rectify any misconceptions about the business, and reduce the potential for conflict.
Acknowledging a variety of stakeholders’ interests is especially important for companies that hold a B Corp status. Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
Below we’ve listed three B Corps that value social responsibility and strive to build local stakeholder support by considering the effects of their business on all parties involved:
SheaMoisture is a skincare company that created a $1 million fund to support women entrepreneurs and small business owners of color during the pandemic. The company will use the fund to award businesses that are supporting their local communities, give grants to black-owned businesses, and start an online platform for women-of-color entrepreneurs.
GoMacro, a certified-organic, vegan, and gluten-free protein bar company, prioritizes their community and environment in just about every business policy and decision. GoMacro chooses growers based on their sustainability initiatives and runs a foundation for its manufacturing and distributing processes based on recycling, ethical food sourcing, and renewable energy. Also keeping their local community top of mind, GoMacro’s Give Back Bars donate a portion of their proceeds to local organizations.
Flock Freight is a tech company working to improve the sustainability and efficiency of the freight industry. We reduce the enormous impact supply chains have on the environment and make business decisions to minimize any potential harm. We also eliminate the impact of greenhouse gases through our shared truckload solution and partnership with Carbonfund.org. Flock Freight’s active community impact team devotes resources to listen to, connect with, and collaborate with the communities around their offices.
Become a better business
All in all, your business can become more inclusive and resilient by listening to and supporting your stakeholders. By prioritizing the company’s financial well-being and the needs of both primary and secondary stakeholders, you’ll progress toward a stronger, more well-rounded business foundation.