Strategic management is about relationships with and responses to the external environment of the organisation. As such, it refers to identifying trends and opportunities, understanding customers’ needs, creating distinctive products or services, taking care of stakeholders’ interests, and putting in motion processes that lead to achieving those goals. Developing a business sense and committing to monitoring and evaluation are organisational processes that provide important assistance to strategic management.

In the case of WISEs, there are core aspects to address regarding:

Customers’ needs:

  • Carry out market research to find out what customers want
  • Provide good products and services that provide added value to the community

Stakeholders’ interests:

  • Cooperate with official agencies from the communities (schools, education and employment agencies, and so on). This includes taking instructions from them on how to set up your activities
  • Demonstrate to public agencies the social integration and economic benefits brought about by the WIP
  • Cooperate with the private market. Set up the chain of production together, and establish contracts with them.

statement6Internal work processes:

  • Ensure that project managers and staff share an entrepreneurial attitude
  • Provide continuous training to the staff in areas to develop skills and guarantee motivation
  • Involve target group participants in staff meetings and board decisions
  • Set up and sustain a mixed workforce. Mixed workforces tend to provide greater integration then if all the workers are from vulnerable groups and the managers are not. Having a mixed workforce is good both for target groups’ participants (as it offers more diverse work experiences and increases their employability), and for the business itself (as it helps to balance productivity levels)
  • Ensure that there is an appropriate staff/vulnerable employees ratio, so that staff have enough time to devote both to training and support and to running the business itself
  • Find a balance between the social and financial missions