The stakeholders who don't talk - or do they?
Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Next to monetary goals, more and more organizations, private and public entities want (or have) to become more sustainable and have healthy and high-performing employees. But how can that be achieved? In this article I talk about how the "extended stakeholder model" can serve your organization to contribute to a more sustainalbe world and a healthy work environment.
I first got to know the extended stakeholder model in the year 2014 when I was doing my bachelor thesis in the street children project “Ciudad Don Bosco” in Medellin, Colombia. Back then I was working with the Aid Governance Model that comprehends the six governance modules system, mission, stakeholder, integrity, risks and audit management to increase the sustainability and impact of NGOs, companies and public entitites.
The module stakeholder management facinated me and showed me how important it is to look at all stakeholders and give to all of them a voice, even though they can't speak for themselves sometimes.
When I see the today’s challenges like the disconnection with our environment or the mental and emotional challenges that employees face in the workplace, I believe that many employers fail to include all stakeholders in the business model or ask honest questions about what kind of value they give to them. In the next two paragraphs I will highlight the stakeholders (1) employees and (2) environment that organizations tend to take as naturally given elements. Stakeholder 1: Employees
I don’t want to say that organizations do not care about their employees but still I can observe that many people are getting ill in work environments that are only performance driven instead of including value-based aspects. In these environments, the pressure is high and the fear of not meeting what is expected paralyzes and can lead into a vicious circle of trying to perform more, but contrarily losing more and more energy by doing so. I believe that many employers would not lose anything if they would reflect what the stakeholder employee is all about and if the way they are looking at them is still adequate. Here are some question that one can ask regarding one’s employees:
How would you describe the stakeholder employee in your company? Would you include adjectives like: Cash cow, performer or words like collaborator, partner and most valuable asset? When was the last time you actively listened to your employees? What kind of environment or lived culture might they need, to feel well and willing to serve your organizational goals in the long run?
Stakeholder 2: Environment You might ask yourself why the environment should be a stakeholder of your organization. It can’t even talk, or can it? Doesn’t the environment for example yell to us when it shows us huge catastrophic storms, melting glaciers, 80% decrease in biodiversity? I think it does and it has a very loud voice if we dare to listen. That’s why I believe that it is most important to give the environment a voice in your company organization or public entity. Let it tell you how it can notice the activities of your company. Take note of what it must tell you on how you could adapt your activities to make it feel better. Dare to listen.
Conclusion: Dare to listen and get active What would happen if we all start listening as individuals and as public and private entities to our stakeholders - employees and the environment better? Normally when we actively listen to people, we can start to understand what they feel, need and think. If employers in this case start to listen to their employees and environment they will understand what they got to do to collaborate with these two crucial stakeholders and have them as long-term allies for their company, NGO or public entity and of course for a healthy work environment and life.
Two practical tips for anyone interested in the topic: 1. Get to know more about resilience programs for employees 2. Get to know more about global compact or other environmental programs of your area that will serve your stakeholder environment well.
Looking forward to hearing from your experiences in practicing active listening with your stakeholders (1) employees and (2) environment. Please feel free to contact me for any questions.
All the best and merry christmas, Melanova