Your business has a number of stakeholders – from customers and employees to other vitally important groups, such as politicians, investors, neighbours and suppliers. It is crucial for you to have good relationships with all of these groups, and market research is an effective means by which a systematic and independent measure can be taken of what they are thinking.
Our stakeholder research solutions
Stakeholder surveys are an important method of stakeholder research. However, most references to stakeholder research imply that a 360° view is being taken of all the different groups.
Certainly a stakeholder survey that involves both employees and customers is beneficial as it shows whether the internal and external views are aligned.
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What is involved?
Qualitative research is usually required at the beginning of a stakeholder research programme. It is used to explore the big issues for the company and the depth of feeling about those issues. Focus groups with staff and depth interviews with customers are an obvious approach.
After the qualitative research we move on to measurements using interviews – especially for employees – either online or by telephone to collect the views of external stakeholders. If there are any ‘big cheeses,’ such as important regulators or key customers, they could be interviewed face-to-face.
Case study: Understanding stakeholders
Our client is a quango – a charity responsible for promotional programmes that persuade people to pick up litter. It relies on government subsidies and grants and has an obligation not only to demonstrate that it is effective in its programmes but also to convince stakeholders, particularly politicians, local authorities and other charities, that it is providing value for money.
What we did
It was important to engage with respondents and obtain good feedback on their views as to how the organisation was performing. In order to do this, we needed to have broad ranging conversations with respondents, which demanded a telephone interviewing approach. Sixty interviews were carried out each year with, as near as possible, the same people and each respondent was nominated by the client as an important stakeholder. A huge amount of intelligence was collected in the depth interviews and each respondent was given a green, amber or red flag according to whether they were sympathetic, neutral or hostile to the charity. Based on this flag, specific action could be taken.