The Board of Directors, at its meeting held in June 2015, gave the go-ahead for the implementation of a five-year rolling Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, and a first Bi-Annual Stakeholder Engagement Plan.
According to the Manager: Public Relations, Marketing and Stakeholder Engagement, Mornay Louw (photo), the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy is a focused attempt to align with expectations under the NTA’s rolling five-year Strategic Plan, as it elaborates on specific initiatives towards giving effect to the realisation of the organisation’s broad stakeholder engagement objectives.
“Whilst recognising the close interplay and link between our organisational interest and the broader societal interest, it leverages effective Stakeholder Engagement as a core and strategic consideration for the NTA in living up to its vision of becoming a true port of call for vocational skills, and in avoiding disappointment, recriminations and damaged relationships with the stakeholders we regard as essential to our business”, Louw explained.
The strategy recommends an approach under which, over the short to medium term, the NTA’s stakeholders are identified and defined, their expectations are listed, and then the gaps that exist in actual versus targeted performance levels in meeting these expectations, are addressed. It leverages a more balanced approach under which the expectations of all the important stakeholders are considered, and under which the degree to which these expectations are being met, are measured. It further includes specific recommendations and tactical applications under which key messages, frequencies and success measures are identified.
The Stakeholder Engagement Strategy is to be reviewed after every two years of implementation. The bi-annual reviews will be preceded by follow-up Stakeholder Perception and Satisfaction Surveys, which will apply the same sampling and research methodology as under a survey conducted in December 2014. “Changing perceptions of stakeholders will not happen overnight. Therefore, as a ‘living’ document, the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy is to be deemed an organisation-wide blueprint for the promotion of effective and efficient engagement practices for the medium to long term and should as such, through revisions, continue to remain a comprehensive enterprise aimed at securing fundamental change in prevalent societal perceptions about the NTA as an organisation, and the broader VET sector”, Louw emphasised.
According to Louw, this focus on balanced performance measures demonstrates the NTA’s appreciation that the application of data so derived in the formulation of implementation plans, would add significant value to tracking its stakeholder relations over time, and in focusing on performance improvement efforts. “The Strategy prioritises altogether twenty-five different stakeholder groups and recommends for inclusive and continuous dialogue between the organisation and its stakeholders to be delivered at a level appropriate to the specific stakeholder group. It clearly outlines which stakeholder groups the organisation wants to engage with, what their expectations are of the organisation, and what the focus should be of such engagements”, he noted.
The Stakeholder Engagement Strategy also makes provision for the establishment of a Stakeholder Engagement Committee. As a monitoring and evaluation platform, the committee is to be chaired by the Chief Executive Officer. Under the committee’s Terms of Reference, monthly meetings are to be conducted to evaluate the impact of engagement activities and quarterly reports are to be submitted to the Board’s Strategic Committee.