To construction site managers stakeholder engagement often seems like an extra task; one of those extra tasks there is never enough time for. If you have been reading our recently published articles here, you will know that neglecting stakeholder engagement can never be a good thing.
At SitePodium we understand that spending precious time on speaking with the local interest groups can feel like a tall order sometimes. That is why we developed our SitePodium app, to make this more low-key and better organised.
Here, in this post, we will show you that there are many benefits to engaging your indirect stakeholders with your construction project; both for you and for the local communities around you.
The benefits of stakeholder engagement for construction companies
Stakeholder engagement activities can sometimes feel like a lot of work for little profit. Have a look at the following three examples of how stakeholder engagement benefits your construction company.
1. Stakeholder engagement allows you to run a smooth project
By including the local communities in your project, you will receive fewer complaints. And the complaints you do receive do not come out of nowhere at random times. You direct the time and the place for these complaints, by appointing a community engagement manager as single point of contact.
Also, if you organise evenings where local interest groups can come and express their concerns, their spokespeople will prepare and vent their worries during those meetings. Misunderstandings can immediately be cleared up and possible issues will be addressed before they take place.
The result is not a complaint culture, but an open attitude and constructive results. Your project will experience less hinder from local interest groups and is able to proceed without too many problems. By funnelling the feedback from the locals around your building site, you have more time to spend on organising and scheduling your project and partners.
2. Stakeholder engagement saves money
Because you are experiencing less resistance from the people around you, your project can proceed as planned. There are many ways in which stakeholder engagement saves you money.
- A project that runs on time also runs within budget.
- You do not have to spend unforeseen time on explaining, answering questions and adjusting to the wishes from people around.
- Indirect stakeholders are less likely to raise a dispute against you.
- You free up time for yourself and for your direct stakeholders.
- You are able to anticipate and calculate customer engagement expenses, such as cleaning up construction dust or renting a meeting room, into your budget.
3. Learn valuable lessons
When the communication between construction companies and local communities is open and transparent, you will learn valuable lessons from the communities around you. By discussing a problem openly, the people affected might come up with a solution you never thought of.
During your meetings in the community centre, in local schools and by speaking to local residents, you will take ideas with you to the next construction project.
Temporary access restrictions, a blocked parking place, dust that is blown from your building site by an unexpected storm; by being transparent you give the affected parties the chance to think with you and find a solution that works well for all. You use that again in your next construction project.
The benefits of stakeholder engagement for local communities
Local communities also benefit from stakeholder engagement. They might seem the victimised parties, because their lives will be disrupted by your project to a larger or smaller extent. You do not want them to disrupt your project, but what does stakeholder engagement mean to them?
1. They are given the chance to adjust
No shop owner likes it when a large truck with supplies blocks their entrance. No nightshift worker likes to be disrupted during their sleep by noise coming from your building site. But it is much worse for them when these things come unexpectedly.
By engaging your indirect stakeholders, you give the shop owner the chance to inform his customers and the nightshift worker the opportunity to sleep somewhere else that day. You tell the affected parties how, when and for how long. They can then prepare and limit the damage.
Of course, you also tell them how you plan to make it easier for them. You tell the local shop owner that you will do everything to make the delivery as quick as possible. You tell the nightshift worker that you will only make noise between certain times. If you do that, local residents and companies are able to adjust.
2. They understand how your project benefits them
Part of stakeholder engagement is showing the end result and the benefits to the local communities. You can do that by holding an open house and inviting them to your building site, but also by visiting local schools and community centres.
Giving the affected locals the complete picture of what you are doing and what it will look like, they will focus more on the future and not on the problems they experience now. They will become more open to the idea and understand better why you are there.
For example, a new shopping centre will create jobs and will bring wealth into the community. A new housing block will make the area more attractive and increase property value. If you are building offices with amenities like a gym, a nice cafe or a day-care, the local residents can benefit from this as well by getting access.
3. Local communities feel like they matter
By spending time on stakeholder engagement, the affected parties will stop feeling like a victim and more like a participant. You give them a voice, you let them vent their concerns, you let them into your world; they will feel like they matter. The largest problem local communities have with building projects, is that they appear to be speaking to a brick wall.
Stakeholder engagement takes away this wall and allows communication back and forth. If you do this well, you decide when this communication takes place. You can invite some of your direct stakeholders to the meetings, so they explain how they contribute to the project and answer questions. By engaging everyone around, you give them the attention they deserve.
Funnel your communication with the SitePodium app
The trick is to direct the communication that takes place in a way that suits you. If you are too open, you will have local residents knocking on your door with question every five minutes. You need channels through which you take control.
SitePodium is that channel. It is an app that brings all stakeholders together. There is a feed where you can publish your latest news, there is a calendar where you can show your plans and there is contact information. The best thing is: you decide who gets access to what.
Local residents download the app on their phone and go through the newsfeed. They see when the next community meeting will be held and can let you know they will attend. If they have a question, there is an option to contact your community engagement manager.
You have access to statistics and are able to see data proving how effective your stakeholder engagement efforts are. SitePodium brings stakeholders together and functions as a communication tool that you control.
Let’s engage your stakeholders so everyone benefits
If you are interested in what SitePodium has to offer, we invite you to contact us. We are excited to show you what our app can mean for your construction company.
Through our website you can book a demo, so we can show you what our app looks like in practice. Feel free to go through our client cases as well. With organisations like the Considerate Constructors’ Scheme gaining ground, this is the perfect time to start. Invest in SitePodium, and you are ready for the future.