The Situation: An energy group asked us to help them improve their stakeholder engagement efforts in many states. They did not have a formal stakeholder outreach program and some of their stakeholders were filing lawsuits over environmental issues and concerns. The lawsuits resulted in widespread media coverage, further straining community and business relationships. It was clear that the company’s frontline employees were in a position to greatly influence stakeholder perceptions, as they had daily contact with community members and leaders. Investing in the frontline is worthwhile; studies conducted by Edelman reveal the public believes employees are more trustworthy than CEOs, Founders or PR departments.
The Results: We helped the organization implement a comprehensive and custom stakeholder outreach program that was delivered to frontline associates in multiple states. Employees went through special training designed to help them realize the personal, community and economic benefits of stakeholder engagement, and they were equipped with skills, strategies and opportunities to be effective ambassadors for the organization. With time, stakeholder trust levels greatly improved, employee morale went up and litigation costs dropped. The company’s reputation was transformed, the company culture became more stakeholder-centric and they became a valued partner in the communities where they operate.