The Employee is NOT a Stakeholder

The Employee is not a Stakeholder!


Surely this is wrong. Is it?

The Employee is not a Stakeholder. The Segmented Employee Stakeholder is.

Employees are not homogenous. They are not beans in a tin can.

There is a vast difference between a new employee and someone who has been with the company for many years. The one is eager, has fresh ideas, wants to make a difference but does not know everything about the company nor the culture, whilst the older one is cynical, has seen many change programs start and/or falter.

Researchers and experts around the globe segment employee stakeholders into many types ranging from Traditionalists to Baby Boomers to Generation X and Millenials, indicating that there are differences between the way employees interact, participate, communicate, listen and learn.

In fact, some studies classify employees into four generations in the workplace:

  • Traditionalists born 1925-1942
  • Baby Boomers born 1943-1962
  • Generation X born 1963-1978
  • Generation Y/Millennials born 1979-1998 (under age 30 today)

Boomers, Generation X and Millenials differ in the way they solve problems, focus on tasks and make decisions.

For instance studies show that Boomers tend to solve problems in a hierarchical fashion whilst Millenials like to solve problems in a collaborative fashion.

But even pigeonholing some people into these categories can be dangerous. One size does not fit all.

Just because I am 52 years old, does it make me a Baby Boomer? 80% of the way in which I do things and solve problems are millennial in nature. Yet, when it comes to certain things like ethics and manners I am definitely old school.

Many years ago I remember how upset I became when I was given a letter stating that I was a certain grade in a Paterson Job Grading Scheme. In fact, I tore the letter up and stated that I was a person not a grade.

How you profile and classify employees will determine how you treat them and design training programs, communication and other campaigns.

How you profile and segment your employee stakeholder will affect your engagement strategies. One definition of engagement is that it is the  “heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work”

How can you raise this emotional connection if you have not segmented your employees?

Understanding the various profiles is vital. Profiling your employee stakeholder is vital if you want to design and develop targeted communication, engagement and learning campaigns to build a superior reputation.

P.S To assist companies with the task of building a superior reputation in the workplace, I will facilitate a 2 – day workshop on Strategic Employee Stakeholder Engagement from the 18th – 19th August in Johannesburg.

During this two day workshop‚ you will learn how to boost internal stakeholder engagement & communication‚ enhance professional stakeholder management processes and enhance the organisations’ quest to be an admired employer. I will cover:

  • Why Engagement is not just  a buzzword;
  • What is the secret of engagement and becoming an Employer of choice;
  • How to strategically profile & engage the employee stakeholder to build brand awareness and reputation;
  • How to design, implement & drive an effective engagement strategy, using tools such as stakeholder management, communication, Social Media, liberated HR and OD practices & engagement techniques;
  • Practical steps on how to impact relationships with the internal stakeholder in a favourable manner;
  • What it takes to become an admired & preferred employer;

5 thoughts on “The Employee is NOT a Stakeholder

  1. You make a great point about researching your audience before trying to engage with them. Beware stereotypes and pre-conceived notions!

  2. I believe a stakeholder is anyone whose life can in some way be affected by the organization. Employees, be they brand new or most veteran, are certainly stakeholders in an organization. As I left the car this morning there was the announcement that RIM – maker of blackberries is laying off 11% of its workforce in the US. Why? For the first time in nine years they had a bad financial performance. Who suffers?

    I like your idea about the targeted communication but I think your argument was weakened by the way I read your second paragraph: “There is a vast difference between a new employee and someone who has been with the company for many years. The one is eager, has fresh ideas, wants to make a difference but does not know everything about the company nor the culture, whilst the older one is cynical, has seen many change programs start and/or falter.”

    It seems to me in this paragraph you say all new employees are something and all older employees are something. Not all new employees want to make a difference and not all veteran employees are cynical — but in my opinion, all are stakeholders.

  3. Dion
    Surely it is simple. An employee in a ‘command and control ‘company is not a stakeholder. In a “people inclusive ” company he most certainly is.But trying to change this by talking about “engagement’ is starting at the wrong end as engagement cannot be a stand alone concept. There is a mass of information around showing us how it can be achieved correctly!!

  4. Dion – this is a controversial debate……here are some thoughts…
    A stakeholder in business is any person, institution or group that has an interest in your business and can influence it. Employees are therefore an extremely important stakeholder group and to ignore them as stakeholders shows a lack of understanding of the mechanics of business. All employees are important – think of times of crisis within a company – employees could turn into a serious pressure group within your stakeholder mix.
    Place employees right up there with shareholders, customers, business partners and suppliers in the first tier of stakeholder influence on business. After that come all the others…… media, government, regulatory bodies, local community and many others depending on the nature of the business.

  5. None of the comments so far address Deon’s premise — that in developing communications plans, it’s important to segment the employee audience into its sub-components in order to tailor specific messages to each employee segment. I agree with that approach if the HR department works with the employee communications planner to facilitate that effort. Various HR journals have addressed that need / role, e.g. –>
    This article (under”Identify Key Target Audiences”) suggests that “. . .the employee audience could be segmented by length of service, location, position, pay level or position.” –>
    So Deon’s premise is supported by many others.

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