All organisations and companies exist in an environment made up of internal and external stakeholders. On the inside, of course, there is management and teams of workers. On the outside, there are customers, suppliers, partners, government and media. No truly successful organisation can only focus on one side or work in isolation without considering or involving the other side.
A key way to build, maintain and grow a healthy relationship between internal and external stakeholders is to establish a community. By design, a strong community is one that has implicit trust that is nurtured by honest, transparent and consistent communication.
Connecting internal and external stakeholders is difficult
In the ideal scenario, an organisation could simply hold a town hall meeting to update and solicit feedback from the public. But unless your organisation still exists in a village, it’s just not going to happen. The reality is that people operate digitally and on mobile. This means organisations need to utilise technology and tools to nurture a thriving community.
But think about it; what is the right technology tool to use? Email groups break down when threads become ludicrously long, resulting in a lost message or poor ability to make decisions to drive consensus. People from different groups hold different pieces of information and find it difficult to chime in at the right time into the conversation. When mixing internal and external stakeholders in an email, how do you control what information should be shared or not?
Facebook pages is an option. But Facebook is fundamentally a social tool that doesn’t account for the way businesses or organisations really work. For example, you can’t create to-do checklists and assign them to people; you can’t upload and collaborate around documents and tailored workflows and you can’t integrate other apps and tools that your organisation already relies on like project management or customer support.
Invite external guests to talkspirit with the right level of access
talkspirit is an online tool that can handle all of the above situations. It’s a centralised communication platform that works across both web and mobile. For the purpose of building a strong community, an organisation can invite external stakeholders called ‘guests’ to their talkspirit platform. Conceptually, this sounds simple and nice, but in fact, there are several important benefits.
First of all, everyone is on the same platform so they can easily communicate and collaborate together. They can enjoy all the normal features of talkspirit; from participating in the Newsfeed, running polls, hosting video conferences, working on documents and set calendar agendas — together.
Secondly, guests can be granted access to only the groups that are relevant to them. Of course, this helps to keep confidential company information private. Moreover, it doesn’t overwhelm the guests with too much irrelevant information.
Lastly, as long as guests participate in one group at the time, it’s completely free to add external guests. This gives your organisation the control to scale up or down and invite as many guests as needed without worrying about the impact to cost.
The end result, is an environment that brings all internal and external stakeholders together in one simple, secure and coherent space. A space that allows for effective coordination, keeps everyone up-to-date and facilitates a two-way stream of interactive communication. It’s a way to create, manage and nurture a community.
Real cases of companies inviting guests to communicate and collaborate
Let’s take a look at some real examples of how companies are making use of inviting external guests to enhance community communication.
Les Traiteurs de France, is a service company that assigns and coordinates professional food caterers from all over France for clients. In this sense, caterers are the external ‘guests’ on talkspirit. Since les traiteurs de France maintains a high-end service and reputation, the level of communication and coordination has to be seamless. By using talkspirit, the company facilitates online conversations for all the caterers to share best practices, ask questions, give feedback and ultimately grow stronger together.
La Société du Grand Paris, is an organisation responsible for planning urban city projects across Paris. Think metro transportation creation and expansion as well as architectural construction at the metro stations. Planning at this scale involves many different stakeholders. To manage it all, they use exclusively talkspirit to connect: contractors, builders, architects, designers, project planners, government and many more. Each party has their own group to talk about issues specific to them, but they also talk cross-functionally to gain critical alignment to get things done on time and on budget
We’ve seen that good and successful organisations involve both their internal and external stakeholders to form a community. Crucial to healthy communities is communication. talkspirit is a modern and robust online tool that facilitates communication in an easy and structured way. One of the key features to this, is the ability to invite external guests so they are just as much a part of the conversation as your internal stakeholders.