Building a successful working relationship with your community partner in an employee community engagement (ECE) programme needs to be planned and thought about carefully.
Understand your community partner
Try to understand the world in which your partner operates:
- culture and language
- assumptions and prejudices
- timings, working hours and deadlines
- internal risks and management practice.
Be an equal, fair and committed partner
- Strive for a relationship of equals – it’s important for the community partner not to feel pressured into a project that they’re not committed to.
- Keep commitments – this holds equally for both parties of course.
- Be open to negotiation and, if necessary, compromise.
Build a personal and long-lasting relationship
- Make it a personal relationship – meet the people and don’t limit the relationship to one person on each side.
- Aim for a sustainable and long-term relationship rather than a short-term partnership.
Plan, track and communicate progress together
- Plan together and consult with your partner about your social objectives.
- Track and communicate progress widely within both organisations.
- Plan a common communications plan to communicate and celebrate your joint achievements.
- Plan timelines, reviews, key deliverables and an exit strategy in case anything goes wrong.
Look for new opportunities for mutual benefit
- mentoring and training staff
- volunteering for administrative or financial roles
- developing joint team building projects.