Operating at the financial helm of LV=, one of the UK’s largest insurance companies, Steve Castle’s main priority was stakeholder management.
It’s not an entirely uncommon phenomenon. Many CFOs as they rise through the ranks involve themselves less in the day-to-day finances and are primarily concerned with management.
It’s a sentiment echoed in a recent AccountingWEB piece profiling Phil Earl’s work at Agrivert. “Like many FDs and CFOs now my role is much broader than just managing the finance function. I’m very lucky to have a really solid finance manager. That’s allowed me to get involved in a whole range of things.”
Castle’s work involved a similar detachment from quotidian finance work. That falls to a high quality finance manager, often the unsung hero. His job, Castle explained, was taking the financial realities, forming a strategy and implementing it.
Stakeholder management was central to this strategy succeeding. “Stakeholder engagement drives results,” he explained.
Prioritising stakeholders is usually broken into four core groups. Those who are high power and highly interested; those who are high power and less interested; low power and interested; and low power and disinterested. All require management, but messages need to be tailored to each. Those with less interest shouldn't be flooded with information, but those who are should be managed carefully.
“Whose engagement is more important? I would say it varies but all stakeholders are ultimately important and all need to be measured, monitored and responded to, to drive the best results.” To monitor staff's engagement, Castle relied on an annual anonymous internal "Staff Feedback and Satisfaction Survey” covering all LV= staff. Customer satisfaction was monitored through the Institute of Customer Satisfaction's quarterly survey.