Whether you are heading into or out of your Fall In-Service to get the 2021/22 academic year off to a great start, the importance of getting the most buy-in and engagement from all of your program’s stakeholders is something that’s probably top of mind.
Here are three tips to make your stakeholder engagement more strategic and effective:
- Determine what—exactly—you want from each stakeholder group: We all know that we want support from interested parties in helping advance the overall goals of our college and our specific programs toward student success, but what does that support look like exactly? Take a bit of time to really think through how you want stakeholders to support your work? Do you want faculty to share information with each other and with students in some way? Do you want administrators to help promote the initiative you’ve been so passionate about when engaging with the College Board? Think about the full variety of stakeholders who can help advance your work and don’t be afraid to map out exactly the kind of behaviors you would like from each so you know what you are asking for.
- Imagine what—exactly—each of these stakeholders might want from you: This isn’t to think of stakeholder relationships as transactional. Rather, it’s more about recognizing the fact that your stakeholders, whether they are administrators, faculty, staff, area-business people, etc. are all busy with their own work and that your goals may naturally not be their highest priority. What might each of your stakeholders want from you in order to deliver on the needs you have of them? What concrete actions can you take to make your request an easier lift? Is it offering a peer a drafted sample email that they can simply tweak and send? Is it providing your administrator with some short, easy to read, and visually understandable talking points? Is it letting that owner of an area business know that you’ll have your own college media there to take photos of their presentation so it can be shared on social media afterward? How can you help each of your stakeholder groups feel supported in supporting you?
- Track your efforts and thank people for theirs: We all want success and to get better at what we do. Though it might feel mercenary to explicitly track this kind of information, it’s important to not leave this process as something ad hoc and just in the flow of interactions with people. Create a simple matrix for recording what you’ve provided to each of your stakeholder groups, how well you’ve delivered it, and how well they followed through. This data can be invaluable in helping you improve for subsequent initiatives and it’s also a great way to remind you of whom you need to thank whether or not you’ve ultimately achieved your aims. Stakeholder engagement isn’t a one-time event; it’s a process. Measuring it is the best way to ensure that this process improves over time.
Ultimately, supporting student success is best achieved as a community-wide effort. Taking the time to think through how others can help advance your mission—and how you can facilitate that specific support—is the best way to maximize everyone’s efforts. We wish you and your students all the best for what we hope will be a productive academic year!
ACEI Global Consulting Group is a division of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI) offering expertise in the following specialties: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Strategies; Mindfulness Training; Media and Brand Consulting; and Program-Curriculum Review to interested institutions and organizations around the globe. For more information on ACEI Global Consulting Group, visit our website www.acei-global-consulting.org
The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI) was found in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI is a full-service company providing complete and integrated services in the areas of international education research and credential evaluation. www.acei-global.org