Despite the curtain closing on the 2024 Election, political discussions and debates persist within the Indonesian society. Speculations run rampant regarding the prospective cabinet members and the trajectory of forthcoming policies have become a topic of interest. Moreover, the political landscape remains charged with the imminent regional head elections (Pilkada) across 37 provinces and 508 districts/cities later this year. These political dynamics is bound to shape the nation’s overall environment, which extends to the business sector.

Having said that, challenges for Indonesia go beyond domestic politics. The year 2024 marks a historic moment as over 50 nations worldwide also embark on their democratic festivities. Nearly half of the global population will cast their votes to elect their leaders, including countries with some of the world’s largest populations and economies.

Elections unfolding across many countries this year are anticipated to yield significant impacts. The prolonged uncertainty that comes with these events is bound to influence global stock markets and economies. The succession of leaderships in various countries also adds another layer of complexities to existing global issues such as poverty, climate change, conflicts, and many others.

Indonesia will inevitably see these impacts, particularly amid the ongoing transition happening within the country. The economy and business sectors are especially prone to be affected. So, how can the business world effectively navigate the looming challenges? In my view, it is during such junctures that the key role of public affairs (PA) practitioners becomes apparent, aiding organizations in successfully navigating this period of uncertainty.

Thorough Preparation

 Change is not always daunting; rather, it can open new opportunities. The key lies in our readiness. PA practitioners can assist their companies or clients in preparing themselves. The initial step involves understanding the organization’s goals and priorities, and then mapping out issues that potentially affect the achievement of those goals. Potential global changes must also be mapped. The next step would be to regularly monitor and analyse to discern potential positive and negative impacts of the changes happening globally.

Once both steps have been done, PA practitioners must then ensure that they possess the capability to process data and information they have into actionable insights that are both engaging and easily understood. Escalating these information to top management must be done concisely, clear, and accompanied by recommended actions to take.

When done right, the role of public affairs becomes strategic. Analysis and recommendations provided by PA will assist leaders in making informed decisions. This is particularly important in maximizing positive impacts and minimising risks that come along with changes, both within national and global scale.

Issue management carried out by PA holds a significant importance in aiding companies to make sense of uncertainties and changes happening beyond the organization. Just as fish navigating the sea of business opportunities, companies need a sonar to detect ripples and dangers ahead. Issue management by PA acts as this crucial sonar.

PA’s role extends beyond informing companies of the positive and negative impacts of an issue. They also assist in formulating or tailoring stakeholder engagement strategies based on recommendations generated from issue management—ensuring that engagement activities are precisely targeted.

Quoting Noke Kiroyan, founder of Kiroyan Partners, stakeholder management functions just like the fins of a fish, aiding in its movement and steering direction when faced with dangers. Stakeholder engagement must be conducted with the aim to achieving companies’ long-term goals despite existing external challenges.

While 2024 may be filled with uncertainties fuelled by the global-scale political dynamics in over 50 countries, I believe that, ultimately, companies with adept issue management and stakeholder engagement practices will successfully navigate this challenging period. I also see this as a good chance for companies to seize new opportunities found during the journey of navigating social and political dynamics—where, again, the role of PA becomes key.

3 Steps for “Public Affairs” in Preparing for Changes

 Understanding Objectives and Priorities

Understanding the organization’s goals and priorities is the first step for public affairs (PA) to map out issues that could potentially affect the achievement of targets.

 Monitoring and Analysis

Periodic monitoring and analysis aim at identifying potential positive and negative impacts of global changes.

 Data Processing

PA practitioners must have the ability to process data and information into actionable insights that are engaging and easily understood, along with recommended actions to take.

 

Verlyana V. Hitipeuw
CEO & Principal Consultant, Kiroyan Partners

This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 107th edition issued on Maret-April 2024, page 96-97.

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