Aligning stakeholder engagement strategy & sustainability for a major power generating company in India 

OHS Due Diligence IFC

Developing strategies for engaging stakeholders to ensure long term sustenance

 

Challenge

A power plant in the business of generating thermal power & having multi-stakeholders was dealing with conflict areas with both its external & internal stakeholders. The company wanted to enhance its business performance by addressing these conflicts areas and augment the trust & confidence of the internal & external stakeholders, improve employee retention rate thus reducing cost of hiring, address the complaints & grievances from the stakeholders in an appropriate way & within an effective timeline and improving the brand image amongst its stakeholders including the community at large.

The company has a long term agreement & relationship with the power distribution companies-their customers. The company engaged its customer on a day-to-day basis through its business dealings. The organisation, however, wanted to engage its customer in a comprehensive way through stakeholder engagement initiatives rather than confining it to a regular customer relationship management. The customer also looked forward to such initiatives and would have been more than happy & satisfied to get engaged with its partner.

As part of its policies & objectives, the company had been doing a lot of CSR activities since its inception & operation. The company wanted to make its stakeholders aware of the various CSR activities they were doing for the community and finally convey the impact it was creating in the life of people. However, a further need was felt by the company, for a framework to structure the CSR activities & a strategy to communicate the same to the stakeholders.

What we did

We started to work on these challenges by carrying out a stakeholder engagement plan and finally formulating a stakeholder engagement & communication strategy, thereby, enabling the company to meet its objective of partnering its stakeholder in its journey of sustainability.

The team started by making a detailed organisational study starting with discussion with top management to understand the strategy of the organisation,  the top management’s view on sustainability & its willingness & objective to engage its stakeholders through a stakeholder engagement plan.

The organisational study considered the evolution of the stakeholder issues since its inception & took an overview of the political & geographical context of the site & its surroundings. A lot of research was conducted & secondary data was used for this activity. An initial list of stakeholder was thus arrived from the same.

In the next step, the list was made exhaustive, verified & validated through discussion with each process owners starting with their inputs & outputs and considering all the stakeholders associated with the process of conversion.

The obvious step which followed stakeholder identification was to map and analyse the stakeholder on various parameters. The mapping results were derived through tools like interviews, discussions, KII (Key Informant Interview), FGD (Focussed Group Discussion), etc. The stakeholders were  analysed and categorised in the stakeholder prioritisation matrix.

The team derived an integrated stakeholder engagement strategy including communication strategy based on the prioritisation matrix along with considering the materiality assessment.

The project concluded with capacity building of top management & executives on the stakeholder engagement & communication strategy.

Impact

Through the entire process of stakeholder identification, we found stakeholders which were critical for business performance but weren’t engaged or appreciated in a way they should have been. The stakeholder identification enabled the organisation to understand its stakeholders in its entire business.

The prioritisation matrix enabled the organisation to identify the key stakeholders and understanding their needs & expectations based on materiality assessment. It helped the organisation to allocate and mobilise their resources through a risk based approach, thereby, reducing the business risks.

While implementing the stakeholder engagement & communication strategy, the organisation gains higher trust & confidence of its stakeholders including its customer, employees & community. Finally, through the entire process, the organisation was able to identify its various business risks, channelise its resources based on the same and this started off its journey to sustainability.

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