• dragonfish

The productivity puzzle

On Friday 5th April 2019 the Office for National Statistics reported that productivity is down for the second successive quarter in the UK. Productivity is a puzzle organisations are struggling to solve.


They also showed that in the last decade the UK have achieved productivity growth of just 2%, a rate the UK used to manage regularly each year. Of course, multiple factors are at work, and a lot of them external such as the economic shock since the credit crunch and the more recent uncertainty of Brexit. But what can organisations do internally to help solve this puzzle (or at least put together some of the pieces) and boost productivity and performance? One key factor is ensuring leaders work to create an intrinsically motivating environment for their people.


A definition of intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation occurs when someone is passionate about a task and perform it for the sheer pleasure of it.

Ultimately, a leader’s goal is to create a high performing organisation which comes from people being productive. A critical driver of this is to create what is called an intrinsically motivating environment. An environment and culture where people are passionate about what they do and are carrying out meaningful and purposeful work.


How can you start to create such an environment and culture?

The first step leaders can take is to clearly define an inspiring and motivating vision (this is a future state; an ambition or goal for the organisation) and purpose for their organisation (this is a present state; it is the “why” your people come to work for the organisation every day). Secondly, to help everyone pull in the same direction, creating real actionable behaviours signposted by organisational values is key.


Three benefits of these steps, if embedded well are:

  • Internal brand alignment

  • A lens to help make everyone make decisions and prioritise effectively

  • Guiding principles for attracting and retaining the right talent

The power of this approach to support creating an intrinsically motivating environment and culture is supported by our own research.


Our “cracking the culture code” 2.0 research in 2018 explored the links between vision, purpose, values, behaviours and company performance. The findings along with our experiences have shown that a well-defined and embedded vision and purpose, which is supported by the right behaviours provides clarity for people, alignment towards a common shared goal, and an understanding of “why” the organisation exists - which drives intrinsic motivation and ultimately significantly improves company performance.


So, amidst the external factors that leaders have no control over and that no doubt play a part in the recent productivity slump, there are certainly opportunities for organisations to actively manage culture and drive intrinsic motivation to unlock the full potential of people and drive productivity and performance.

For further information on the key findings from our research into Vision, purpose, values, behaviours, and performance download our booklet here.