Looking for top trends in stakeholder management for 2023? You found the right place. In this blog post we explore the emerging themes and trends that are set to shape the future of stakeholder management in 2023.
With insights gained from working with clients across various industries, including government, energy and resources, education, health, and not-for-profit organizations, we have identified seven key trends that will significantly impact how organizations approach and manage their relationships with their stakeholders.
Keep reading to discover what these trends are and how they are likely to evolve in the coming year.
Stakeholder Management Trends for 2023
Source: Simply stakeholders
1. Stakeholder Analysis
In 2022 we saw more organizations recognize the need for more systematic and formal approaches to stakeholder analysis, especially Stakeholder Mapping. Many started on their stakeholder analysis journey for the first-time last year and we expect that trend to continue to accelerate. We have a great guide on getting started with Stakeholder Analysis if you are just getting started on this journey.
2. Turning Analysis into Action
Having started on stakeholder analysis and evaluation of engagement programs, many organizations have now recognized that analysis without action does not have much impact or deliver expected benefits or outcomes. In 2023 we expect to see a shift towards a greater exploration of how stakeholder analysis can be used to inform strategy, process, and outcomes of stakeholder engagement.
3. Digital Transformation Continues
The pandemic forced many organizations into adopting new digital technologies as their teams scattered to work remotely, and traditional in-person engagement events were no longer possible. A Deloitte study found that 85% of CEOs prioritized digital transformation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The changing nature of work will continue to drive digital transformation and see more organizations treating this as a strategic opportunity.
4. Talent Shortages
The Great Resignation has had its impact and a lot of organizations are still operating with reduced headcounts. Slowing economic conditions have also seen reductions in team sizes with forced redundancies. This poses considerable challenges for organizational productivity and strategic planning. And the risk of losing critical information about stakeholders is also significantly higher, especially for those organizations that do not have a centralized stakeholder relationship management system like Simply Stakeholders in place.
5. Making Space for Mental Health
The pandemic was hard not just on communities that we seek to engage, but also on our internal teams. Coming out of the pandemic, 2022 was supposed to be back to “normal”, but surprisingly, mental health challenges increased. Many struggled to balance hybrid work, uncertainty around health and economic impacts, and the cumulative impact of the previous few years took its toll. More organizations had to make space for mental health considerations for their teams as well as in the approaches they took to stakeholder engagement. Plans and expectations had to be reviewed and revised in this context. We expect this to continue in 2023, and this becomes a ‘new normal’ in our approach to internal and external stakeholder engagement.
6. Trust Takes on a Central Role
With the ever-increasing proliferation of misinformation and a number of very high profile and high impact data breaches in 2022, building trust is seen as critical to strengthening stakeholder relationships. Trust drives performance internally with higher workforce engagement, productivity, and retention. Organizations that are trusted by stakeholders outperform those that aren’t. A recent Deloitte analysis found examples of three global companies each with a market cap of more than US $10 billion, that lost 20% to 56% of their value when they lost their stakeholder’s trust. There is increasing recognition that building trust is something that does not only happen after catastrophic failures and when the social license to operate is lost. It is key to getting alignment with key stakeholders, building, and maintaining a social license, and working collaboratively with stakeholders to achieve the organization’s strategic goals. Increasingly trust will be seen as a key factor in enterprise performance.
7. Focus on Governance, Process, and Accountability
Another essential focus will be on key processes for governance and accountability – which are integrally linked to building trust. Organizations will be increasingly looking to improve the way they manage their stakeholder relationships by putting in place robust governance frameworks, clear processes, and effective systems for tracking and reporting on performance. This will enable organizations to demonstrate their commitment to responsible and ethical stakeholder engagement and to be held accountable for the outcomes of these relationships.
And one non-trend prediction:
ChatGPT and other AI in Stakeholder Management
Despite the internet being awash with glowing reviews and predictions of the role Artificial Intelligence such as ChatGPT will play in the future of work, we do not believe that it will have much of an impact on the practice of stakeholder engagement. Yes, there is a strong place for AI in various forms, in fact our stakeholder relationship management software makes use of AI to identify issues and sentiment in interactions with stakeholders. But the core business of stakeholder engagement requires a fairly high EQ and that is something that AI is not going to replace anytime soon.
Our prediction for the key trends in stakeholder management in 2023 should be seen as indicators of what is on the horizon for organisations seeking to enhance their stakeholder management efforts.
Fortunately, more organizations are turning to modern stakeholder engagement software like Simply Stakeholders to help simplify and manage the stakeholder analysis and relationship management process. Our software can help you analyze and map stakeholders, track communication, understand sentiment, report on activities, and much more.