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Understanding Stakeholders in the Personal Vetting Process

By LaShawn Douglas

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In a recent blog, we published steps to journey mapping the personnel vetting process customer experience and included illustrative examples to help capture a more accurate picture. A customer journey map is a visual representation of the process a customer or stakeholder goes through to achieve a goal, and typically works best for scenarios that describe a sequence of events.

We identified Step 1 as:

Identify and conduct research on your key customers/stakeholders - build persona profiles that summarize your key findings; e.g., an experienced job candidate from private industry who applied for an IT specialist role requiring a Top Secret Clearance

This is where you to begin to think about the answers to questions such as:

  • Who is involved?
  • What do they care about?
  • What is their influence?

To transform the personnel vetting process, we recommend using journey mapping to depict the stakeholder’s actual journey. The first step in completing a journey map is to first identify and understand key stakeholders in the process. The following sections describe different techniques and approaches for understanding key stakeholders in your process.

Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder mapping is a way of diagramming the network of people who have a stake in a given system. To get started, we recommend convening a diverse team of collaborators to generate a very broad list of stakeholders. Think about drawing a stick figure for each different type, with a speech-bubble to summarize their mindset, label the figure with their role/title, and then draw lines connecting the relevant stakeholders. Taking this approach helps to focus on the people above other factors and helps guides plan for future research if necessary.

In your organization’s personnel vetting process, how many players are involved with end-to-end personnel vetting? Thinking through the stakeholders and their individual roles, it's important to contemplate both the functional (task to complete) and emotional (feelings to achieve or experience) jobs they are trying to fulfill. Stepping back to capture the stakeholder landscape establishes the critical foundation for understanding the individual needs and their unique motivations

Observing Your Stakeholders

There are two additional methods for understanding stakeholders in the personnel vetting process.. The first method is through interviewing. Interviewing allows you to gain a better sense of the stakeholder’s views, struggles, and opinions through well-crafted, thoughtful questions and direct dialogue. In general, people enjoy sharing their experiences, but to capture the specific information being sought, it’s important to skillfully construct the right questions. When utilizing this method it’s also important not to put words in the interviewee’s mouth nor analyze what they are stating right at the moment. That piece comes later in the journey mapping process.

The second technique is an unobtrusive “fly on the wall” approach. This involves simply observing stakeholders as they work without interrupting the flow of activity or communication. This approach enables you to look at the situation from several vantage points. This is also an approach that allows you pick-up on the stakeholder’s natural behavior, to get a better picture of the functional and emotional jobs they are filling.

Once you’ve accomplished your stakeholder research, you can begin to move onto the next step. Check back soon for Step 2 in the “Journey Mapping the Personnel Vetting Process” blog series.