A strategic Business Engagement Plan (BEP) guides organizational leaders to create a vision for business engagement and create an actionable operations plan that results in expanding business engagement as a partner (in sector strategies), as a customer (with business services), and as a funder (through social investment strategies). A number of states are requiring written business engagement plans in preparation for successful execution of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Many State and local workforce investment boards are starting the planning process now.
What are the components of a Strategic Business Engagement Plan? The plan should include the following:
SENIOR LEADERSHIP VISION – This defines the mission for your business engagement team and its current and desired future states, with sector strategies, business services, regional partners and goals and objectives.
UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET – This section provides objective data on the current business composition and needs of the identified high growth sectors, along with a baseline of current business market perceptions about your organization.
REGIONAL NETWORK SERVICE PORTFOLIO – Since WIOA focuses on regional partnerships and strategies, this section of the plan is dedicated to understanding the regional landscape through asset mapping and developing a partner network of service delivery among workforce, education and economic development stakeholders.
COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH – Strategic Communications is a must-have for high performing, market responsive business engagement teams, yet there is often little planning dedicated to brand strategy and management. This section details key messaging, outreach materials and B2B (business-to-business) strategies using the web and social media to build a team’s market share of businesses within a region, along with a scorecard to measure effectiveness.
ORGANIZATIONAL CONFIGURATION & METRICS – Your business engagement team needs defined roles and responsibilities along with workflow processes and performance metrics that meet the needs of business and industry. This section of the plan details these processes among the business engagement team members.
TECHNOLOGY – Business engagement teams need an effective customer relationship management tool that is cloud-based and can automate sector strategy work, business services, outreach strategies and reporting. After extensive research on the availability, suitability, and affordability of CRM tools available to the workforce, economic development, and education sectors, Business U recently launched B2B Engage as a cost-effective option. You can learn more about this exciting tool on our website.
BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT TEAM DEVELOPMENT – This section of the plan includes a professional development strategy with coaching and training to address skills gaps. It should include performance expectations, feedback, recognition and reward.
SUSTAINABILITY – The plan needs to be grounded in a continuous process improvement environment for sustainability. Additionally, the organization should investigate opportunities for both social investment and social enterprise to increase funding streams.
The Business U team facilitates this process to align strategic objectives and build a BEP that meets and anticipates employer needs, encourages the use of innovative technology tools to manage customer and partner relationships, and identifies performance outcomes that are measurable and link to continuous improvement processes. Learn more about developing a Strategic Business Engagement Plan or contact us for a consultation.