23.07.2020Breakthroughs in Stakeholder Engagement with IABC Victoria

Committee for Melbourne and IABC Victoria collaborated to craft a virtual forum around ‘breakthroughs in stakeholder engagement’, which attracted over 150 participants from the respective cross sectoral organisations. Participants were delighted to hear experiences and strategies from Deb Ganderton, CEO, Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, Julie Castle, Managing Director, Struber and Kris Daff, Managing Director, Assemble. Matt Magain from Sketch Group used sketching to tell the story in real time, which captured the engaging discussion.

The panel shared and reflected on their experiences of developing new engagement models that enable long-term success for services and policies. Representing three different sectors, all panellists identified a proactive and sustained engagement strategy as essential for organisational success and shared some success stories as well as “lessons learnt” stories.

Deb reflected that engagement isn’t something you do just for risk mitigation. In progressive organisations, the engagement and communications functions sit equally alongside the finance function.  Culture starts from the top and needs to be modelled internally for it to be believed and accepted externally. This is of vital importance when engaging on projects externally. This shift has been noted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors which has recently shifted the emphasis for Directors from prioritising physical and safety to also include culture.

Julie discussed the need for proactive engagement rather than reactive engagement in the infrastructure sector. COVID-19 has required refinement of models of stakeholder engagement. Julie emphasised the need for fit for purpose engagement with tighter timeframes to fast-track projects to keep business viable, and for government projects to demonstrate to the community that they are creating economic stimulus. Continuous engagement is key, rather than a ‘spray and pray approach’.

Kris spoke from a Build-to-Rent industry perspective, which requires long-term engagement with residents of the future. Assemble’s design response allows future residents to interact with each other. One such engagement tool, ‘meet your neighbours’ helps to connect and create communities in advance of buildings being complete.

Watch the webinar on demand here

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