The Key to Increasing Productivity

The “inconvenient truth” about productivity…

You will struggle to improve productivity and performance if employees continue to work in cultures where they lack motivation, inspiration, recognition and professional/skill development to do anything other than the bear minimum to hold down a job and pick up a pay cheque.

You may have seen a NZ survey that came out saying “poor work culture and a lack of workplace leadership are costing NZ business more than 2.6 billion a year”. It went on to say less than 45% of those surveyed had trust and confidence in their work leadership and less than 47% felt their leaders management style improves their productivity. (survey attached)

Difficult to see how productivity will increase when you read those types of surveys. These results back up what I see out their in the market and it frustrate me that leadership either cant see or choose to ignore the impact their leadership styles are having on the culture and productivity of their business including public sector CEOs

We see the impact of leadership and culture when evaluating a businesses customer experience. Generally what we receive at the front counter by way of service is a direct result of a businesses leadership and resulting culture.

The question that continues to be asked as we linger down the bottom of the OECD in productivity performance is how we improve and what needs to change.

Some organisations think that technology is one of the answers, especially when technology eliminates the human factor i.e. in manufacturing and repetitive tasks like checking in at an airport or withdrawing money from a bank and by in large as customers we are happy to work with this technology especially as the human alternative were never that great.

However we are a long way off eliminating humans from business so, we believe that two things need to change-

  • Business leaders must understand that it is from their leadership that a culture of an organisation comes.
  • Employees need to be more aware and understanding of the type of businesses culture that will allow them to develop and be the best they can possibly be.

As customers we want and respond positively to human contact. When we have great customer experiences we can’t wait to tell others. The issue is we are not having many great customer experiences. Too many are ordinary, frustrating or just annoying. Business leaders need to understand just how much damage is being done to their business from negative word of mouth and the impact this has internally on morale and productivity.

When leaders understand the leadership style and culture that is required to increase their productivity and profitability, they will start to attract the kind of people that respond positivity to that environment. If they focus on giving those people all that they need, to do their very best, things will start to improve.


  • Chris Bell is managing director of Customer Experiences, a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients. He runs workshops on Building Great Customer Experiences.