Since the pandemic, remote or hybrid working has become much more commonplace and widely seen as a more flexible way of working, with some associating it with higher job satisfaction and well-being. However, one downside can be that we now no longer have those random encounters bumping into stakeholders in the corridor, no conversations around the water cooler or being able to pop into their office at lunch.
This has often led to less engagement in research and insights by stakeholders but leaves us an opportunity to adapt and overcome this obstacle with new and potentially fun techniques. The importance of connecting with your stakeholders over your insights cannot be understated, doing so regularly keeps your insights at the front of their mind when making decisions. This ultimately leads to better decision-making.
We’ve recently held customer salience masterclasses in Manchester and London which openly discussed the challenge of collaborating and connecting with not only our customers but stakeholders across the organisation. The following suggestions have been collected from research professionals who have attended these masterclasses.
|Insight teams are having to increase their efforts every day to engage remote-working stakeholders - we need new methods to grab and keep their attention.
1. Lunch and Learns
Why not relay your insights over lunch? This can happen on a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. It’s a great way to engage stakeholders over a virtual call when eating lunch in an informal rundown of your latest progress.
This way you know you’ll all be free and with it being more informal may provide higher engagement. Not only this but it promotes a strong culture of learning and sharing within your organisation whilst promoting communications between teams that may normally not have contact. At our recent Customer Salience masterclass, this was one of the more commonly used practices by insight professionals and has consistently promoted collaboration.
2. Insight Immersion Days
If a 'lunch and learn' isn’t something that your stakeholders would participate in easily regularly, it might be easier to book out an afternoon or even a whole day once in a while to catch them up on your insights.
It’s beneficial to openly invite everyone across the organisation to promote collaboration and learning. An insight immersion day could contain several other techniques such as videos and games, interactive workshops and collaboration exercises, which maintain stakeholder engagement throughout the day in better ways than just a relay of information. To make the most of this, assigning teams (as much as you can) to make sure that each team has members from every department promotes cross-team collaboration and gives each department representative a chance to share what’s going on in their part of the organisation with the others. Although this requires more time investment, it could be planned further in advance and hosted online once a quarter compared to weekly lunch and learns.
3. Gamification of Data
A very interesting technique that I’ve experienced in my time in higher education. With quiz sites such as Kahoot readily available, it’s never been easier to gamify your insights across your organisation. No time for a meeting to engage a stakeholder? Why not hold weekly short quizzes to stir up a competitive edge to knowing about your insights, you could even reward winners with small prizes.
This is a great idea to share insights in a fun, connecting way that not only shares your insights across teams but also unknowingly promotes understanding and learning of insights, which influences decision-making.
4. Data Warehouses
An online central place where all the insights you’ve collected from different projects which can be accessed by stakeholders. Although this doesn’t actively engage stakeholders like the previous suggestions, it gives you and them the ability to engage with updated insights to inform decisions going forward.
One of the downsides of this method is that it requires slightly more investment of time to set up and maintain a data warehouse, as well as creating an interactive dashboard to make it more accessible. To make this easier, it may be useful to not worry about past insights and bringing those into the warehouse, but starting from the present and creating the habit now before taking on the task of bringing in older insights.
Although this is one of the more difficult techniques to implement, it is one of the most beneficial. It increases the lifecycle, usability and reach of your insight, and insight experts, such as those at Confused have benefitted greatly from this, as they shared with us at a previous roundtable event.
|From immersion days and gamifying insights activation to the use of video clips and data warehouses, there are so many ways to engage remote-working stakeholders in insights.
5. Video clips
We’re all used to the same slide decks and reports used to communicate our research, so are stakeholders. Although it allows you to consistently format your research for stakeholders doesn’t mean it engages them. Using a video as a way of reporting your results can be a great way to keep stakeholders engaged with a fresh reporting method but equally it can be a great way to show the emotional impact of business decisions if used correctly.
One attendee from our recent masterclasses claims that her stakeholders ‘lap up’ videos, as it connects their stakeholders more directly with the customer than a normal report, even if you can only manage one. This obviously depends on your ability to collect video responses, whether that’s from an interview, focus group or survey. There are many great options in the research marketplace right now that allow you to do this, such as our own VideoMR tool which makes sharing video responses that you’ve captured easier than ever before.
A similar method to data warehouses however this can be used just for current ongoing projects. Dynamic dashboards that are updated often throughout a project can give stakeholders bite-sized pieces of information to keep them updated instead of long-form reports in the debrief. Finding a way that can incorporate all formats including video can give you a great tool to engage stakeholders with your research. You could do this the long way by making your own dashboard from your data or you could find software that automatically pulls through your results into an interactive dashboard.
Much like the previous technique, there are many great options out there, including our ActivateMR tool. It has the capability to be used like an interactive dashboard to communicate your data in a manageable way, whether that is during your research project or after your research is finished.
Although the five methods that we’ve discussed are great in their own right to engage remote working stakeholders, they’re not mutually exclusive and can be even more effective when used together. For example, why not use the gamification of data with lunch and learns, or use videos in your immersion days to see how engaged your stakeholders are with that format? The main point is that each organisation is different and certain methods will be more effective for some than others.