It pays to take a broader perspective

I read with interest recently how Anthony Jenkins, the new
Chief Executive at Barclays, is encouraging his colleagues henceforth to take
into account “the perspectives of all our stakeholders” and not just those of
themselves (presumably referring to those at the top end of the tree whose
preoccupation seems to be largely about the size of this year’s bonus) and the
shareholders.

As I am managing a business that counts thirteen of the
world’s biggest fifteen global investment banks among our clients, I am
sensitive to the fortunes and indeed the public reputation of the sector. Our
various account teams are everyday practitioners of stakeholder management to
investment bank clients and in turn are the recipients of the clients’ version
of stakeholder management of their suppliers. Most of the time the energy,
effort and commitment is bi-directional and mutually respectful. We are viewed
as a true partner, totally immersed in the business and equally committed in
the pursuit of success. In recent years, this has extended to us placing a
permanent team inside the client office. And yes, when the sector gets a
kicking, our people feel the pain too.

Best practice stakeholder management, it seems to me, takes
place against a backdrop of trust, and herein of course, lies a major problem
for the banking sector. Since the financial crisis of a couple of years ago,
public trust in banking has hit an all-time low. When I left university (many
moons ago and long before mobile phones were invented) a career in banking was
regarded, if not necessarily cool and trendy, at least as a solid choice and
one to be respected.  Those snapped up by
banks on the milk round were generally thought to have done well and Barclays,
without doubt, was seen as a good employer. Today, I’m not sure if paving one’s
way to the money markets features high on the student wish list and those I
meet on the social circuit, who do have such a career, tend to whisper their
occupation under questioning rather than bellow it with voluntary pride.  Meanwhile estate agents and MPs can be heard
coming out the closet to declare: “…but at least I’m not a banker”. It
shouldn’t be like this and Mr Jenkins is clearly trying to get his business on
the front foot again.

My perspective is very simple. You reap what you sow. It’s
all very well to preach a wider stakeholder view, but this absolutely has to
start at the top. If the CEO can pocket a cool £120m (allegedly) for relatively
short period in charge, but pass through the exit door leaving the bulk of
employees and suppliers feeling more than a little disenchanted, then something
is clearly wrong. 

In my world the concept of stakeholder management is also
pretty straightforward. Our employees need to feel valued and be given
opportunities to play to their strengths and develop their talents.  Reward and remuneration needs to be
commensurate with contribution to the health of our business (in its widest
sense) over time. Venue owners are our partners, and a long term relationship
founded on mutual respect is far more valuable than a whopping great commission
on a one off deal. The way we conduct our business needs to show respect for
the environment and the community within which we are housed. Doing good work
includes raising money for good causes as well as serving our clients.

Funnily enough, if we get the above right – and I’m not
saying the practice is as simple as the concept – the chances are we will put a
smile on our shareholders faces too. Possibly even a lasting one.

Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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