Mining-related engagement is a reciprocal, community-based relationship-building activity. Stakeholder engagement is a vital component of achieving sustained positive outcomes for community relations in the mining industry.
Though it’s important to build a broad set of relationships with the community, time and resources don’t always support talking to every person. Through some well-placed informational sessions and public meetings, mining representatives can engage a broader set of local stakeholders than regular engagement allows. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your communications plan is effective in supporting local engagement.
1. Identify your Stakeholders
A stakeholder is anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by your project. This includes any individual, group, or business with a vested interest in the outcome of your project.
If you don’t already have a list of stakeholders, put some time into finding one. Reach out to different local groups that may have an interest in your projects, such as environmental groups, local businesses, local government, and the local chamber of commerce. Their insights and understanding of the community can help you communicate effectively.
2. Create a Matrix
After identifying your stakeholder groups, create a matrix to show what type of engagement will be most beneficial to your company and the stakeholders. Be sure to include the names of each stakeholder group in the matrix and what type of engagement you plan on conducting with them. A good matrix will highlight:
- Which groups you’ll be communicating with and how often.
- Whether the communication will be formal or informal.
- The purpose of the communication.
- Whether the communication will be face-to-face, phone, or email.
- Whether the communication will be one-on-one or in a group setting.
- General or specific questions you’d like answered by the stakeholder.
3. Plan for Content
Many mining business websites have extensive content about their company, the mines, the mineral and resources, and the social and economic benefits of the project. Take a look at the content and determine how it can help you engage with the local community. You can also develop materials specifically for community engagement.
4. Consider How to Engage the Community
There are different methods for communicating with the community in your region. You could hold a public meeting, or you could just offer information sessions to targeted groups. Consider what your company is trying to communicate and the style of the audience you have in mind. A face-to-face meeting allows for more personal interaction and can be improved with small group discussions. An information session is more formal but can include a more diverse group with more in-depth questions.
5. Do a Follow-Up
Once you’ve held your public meetings or open house, be sure to follow up with the people that attended. Follow-up is important because it tells the community you’re serious about listening to their thoughts, questions, and concerns. It also shows them you appreciate them taking time out of their busy days to visit you.
6. Share Your Results
Be sure to share your results with the community. Share your efforts, successes, and obstacles. Be sure to include what you’re going to do about the questions, concerns, and issues you discovered during the community engagement meetings. This will show the community you’re serious about listening to what they have to say and that you’re willing to change to make the project better for them.
Stakeholder engagement is an important part of the mining industry. It can help you build positive relationships with the community, address their issues and concerns, and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. With the right tools, community engagement can be an effective part of your mining communication strategy.
Community engagement can be easily achieved with the help of a partner you can trust. Janet Sheriff is an innovative entrepreneur who has extensive experience in various aspects of communications, strategic planning, indigenous affairs, management, and more. Reach out to her to learn more about developing an effective communication strategy for your mining operations.