Motivating Your Employees to Become Project Stakeholders
What is a stakeholder? Simply put, a stakeholder is a person with a specific vested interest in a particular topic or outcome.
- Stakeholders care about the topic — and are motivated by positive results and return for personal gain.
- Stakeholders can positively — or negatively affect the outcome of projects and processes.
- Stakeholders don’t require supervision — they require leadership.
You want your employees to be project stakeholders in your business. In a perfect world, you would only hire stakeholders. But we don’t, so you will need to convert your employees into stakeholders.
Because without their support, your project or big change is destined for problems at best and will fail at worst.
How Do You Convert Employees into Stakeholders?
Identify and Communicate “What’s in It for Them”
At the beginning of a new project or big change, help your employees understand how the change will benefit them — will it free up their time to focus on more desirable responsibilities, will it reduce their workload and hours, will it earn higher profits and avoid layoffs?
If employees see the value and positive impact the project or change will have on their lives, they will be far more likely to help the project succeed.
Provide Opportunities for Feedback
Change can be scary, so make sure you are accessible and open to communication. Give your employees opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns, identify potential pitfalls, and make suggestions. Try to be honest and provide them with as much information as you can. You’ll earn their trust, which will motivate them to get onboard.
Clearly Communicate Expectations, Scope and Purpose
Make sure you understand your employees’ expectations and if needed, help define expectations. Clearly communicate what their role will be in the project. Monitor their expectations regularly and align the project requirements with their requirements as much as is feasible. If you don’t understand and manage expectations, you may lose employees as stakeholders.
Recognize and Reward Positive Behavior
Be sure to recognize who the early stakeholders are and reward them for their willingness to support the project from the get-go. A simple gesture of recognition, whether it is verbal or compensatory, will instill and reinforce the idea that change is good for the organization. This will motivate them to stay engaged and inspire other employees who haven’t jumped onboard yet to do so.
Be Prepared for the Naysayers
Again, in a perfect world, all of your employees will be motivated and supportive of change, but we know that won’t be the case. Expect to have some problematic employees who may appear to be supportive, but in reality are not. These employees may continually find fault in the project or other employees’ work or input. These are the “I can’t or I won’t” people instead of the “I can or I will try” people.
Don’t ignore these employees because they can create animosity and mistrust within the team and de-motivate others. Talk with them privately and try to determine why they feel they can’t support the project. Acknowledge their concerns and look for ways to help them understand how it will benefit them if the project succeeds.
Involve Employees in Resolutions
Don’t feel like you have to solve every challenge that crops up. Regularly ask for input and involve your employees in troubleshooting and problem-solving. Knowing their input is valued and impacts the success of the project will further cement their role as stakeholders.
Your project or big change has a much greater chance of being completed on time and under budget if your employees know why the project is happening, how it will benefit them and how they can help.
How have you inspired your employees to become project stakeholders? Are your tactics working, or is your team falling behind? Comment below, we would love to hear from you.