As someone who has never been an employee of an SOE, of course, it is impossible for me to give an internal assessment. There are parties who are more competent to do the assessment. What I could do in this regard is to analyze from conventional media and social media, apart from my limited experiences with several clients.
Based on the analysis by the Kiroyan Partners Team, the social media accounts with the most followers, namely over 450,000, are Garuda Indonesia, PLN, Pertamina, Bank BRI, and Telkom. The most followers among these big SOEs are Garuda Indonesia with 1.1 million, PLN with 811,000, and Pertamina with 682,000. In terms of engagement, Pertamina and PLN occupy the highest position. The content of the two SOEs concerns the daily lives of community members, from this point of view it is maybe the most effective in carrying out the stakeholder engagement function. I say “maybe” because this is a glimpse of desktop research, not a planned and structured content analysis.
There is also a tendency for some SOEs to use social media to communicate activities that are more ceremonial in nature. Although this activity needs to be conveyed publicly, it needs to be balanced with matters that directly concern the broader interests of the general public.
One of the tasks of public relations based on the latest theories is to conduct stakeholder engagement. In this regard, it is interesting to see Kiroyan Partners’ experience in conducting consultancy work and stakeholder engagement training. Several years ago, the symptom we caught was that SOEs, in general, understood the meaning of stakeholders from one aspect only, namely those that had an impact on the company.
Stakeholder theory includes both those that have an impact on and are affected by, the company’s operations or existence. Therefore, stakeholder management needs to be preceded by a stakeholder identification process with objective benchmarks. Without proper identification, it is impossible to carry out the appropriate engagement.
In a view that focuses on the parties that have an impact on the company, the most important stakeholders include agencies that can influence the company, or “have power” over the concerned SOEs. In the current constellation, of course, the number one stakeholder is the Minister of SOEs. Meanwhile, the holder of the coffers is the Minister of Finance. There are also those who mention the House of Representatives, especially the commissions in charge of the company’s operational activities. Large SOEs also often mention the President of the Republic of Indonesia, perhaps because the appointment of their directors must have the blessing from the head of state. All of this is true but incomplete.
Close to the Community
Again, this is the view of a few years ago, in general, the communities around the company’s operational areas were often forgotten. Likewise with customers who are a part of corporate stakeholders as well. So, the tendency was that only those who are deemed able to “trouble” the leadership of the company were the stakeholders.
Fortunately, this one-sided view has recently begun to erode. At least that is the impression we get from our interactions with SOE clients. The current understanding of stakeholder theory among SOEs is much better. Even better than the private sector, which often associates the concept of stakeholders only with CSR, not with the company’s operations as a whole.
Returning to the previous discussion on social media, the very high online activity in SOE has a lot to do with the community. This indicates that a comprehensive view of stakeholder management has begun to be embedded because social media activities are part of stakeholder management as a whole. Not only for those who have the power to suppress.
This positive trend certainly needs to be strengthened and deepened so that SOEs can get better at implementing stakeholder management. Also getting closer to the community as a whole, thus paving the way for obtaining a social license to operate, a concept that has often been discussed in this rubric.
Chairman & Chief Consultant, Kiroyan Partners
This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 73rd Edition, issued on April 2021, page 73.
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