Element 5 – Organisational challenges

Where a community and company have differing opinions on the level of community support being provided, it is essential to look internally at organisational issues.

  • consider whether stakeholders fully understand and support the assessment. If issues are found here, they will affect the company’s ability to address the results of the assessment
  • should the findings suggest that organisational problems such as the company not fully managing its impacts, staffing, funding or resources are causing the issues – they need to be addressed in a new assessment
  • to undertake this assessment, a different team to the one that is normally responsible for community-company interactions should carry it out. Site management will be required to undertake, support and address the results
  • the assessment can be undertaken as individual interviews or small group discussions; use whichever will work best to make staff feel comfortable. It is important to convey that the objective of this assessment is to identify areas where the organisation has challenges – not to question staff abilities or their commitment to work

Step Guide


Initial assessment (p40) This assessment should be carried out by a team other than those responsible for community-company interactions to ensure the objectivity of the results. It can be carried out through individual interviews or in small focus group discussions with site staff. The assessment will focus upon two types of organisational issues – social performance management and the company’s operational-level culture including staff, financial and other resources.


Assessing the approach to social performance management (p41) This will include assessing a site’s approach to how stakeholders are identified, how stakeholder engagement and community investment are undertaken, how impacts are managed and how social performance is planned and monitored.


Assessing resources and culture (p41) This will help you analyse whether the site has appropriate and adequate human, financial and other resources necessary to design and implement engagement approaches to achieve community support. It will also help you explore whether the company’s operational-level culture promotes or hinders achievement of this goal.


Common issues  (p41) The results of this assessment will almost always reveal areas for improvement. This is an opportunity to honestly consider where additional resources or efforts may be required. Look at Table 6 (p42) for common organisational challenges and ideas of how to address them.


Suggested actions (p41) Once key areas have been identified you will need to:

  • determine budget restraints and required level of senior buy-in
  • develop a short action plan
  • the plan should include required financial and human resources
  • clear timeframes
  • what actions were undertaken (the output) and the change they caused (the outcome)
  • link this plan to existing planning processes and consult with senior management and on-the-ground staff to ensure the plan is achievable

Considerations when first undertaking the assessment

Is the site’s approach to social performance management achieving strong community-company relationships? Annex F  (p67-68) provides a list of suggested questions to assist this assessment.

A site’s approach to social performance management should consider:

  • the criteria used to determine stakeholders
  • how involved stakeholders were in the identification and analysis process
  • how stakeholder commitments are recorded and managed
  • how community-company interactions are managed
  • how contractors’ interactions with communities are managed
  • how community investments are chosen, implemented and monitored
  • how impact management is approached
  • how community relations processes are planned and monitored

Exploring a site's operational-level culture

To understand if a site promotes community support and has enough human, financial and other resources necessary, consider:

  • appropriate staff numbers
  • if staff skills are adequate
  • whether the site views community relations as an integral part of its work
  • whether community relations risks or opportunities are an integral part of management discussions and decision-making processes
  • whether budgets are sufficient
  • whether the site has the necessary tools and system to achieve its goals