It's not all about the money.

Motivating your workforce to drive behaviours and performance.

By Stephen Jolly, Managing Director of M&C Saatchi Transform, and Chris Woodman, Managing Director at Leadenhall Consulting. Leadenhall Consulting partners closely with M&C Saatchi Transform in the areas of leadership, coaching and team development.

Last week, M&C Saatchi Transform, the organisational change specialists, in partnership with Leadenhall Consulting, welcomed a Change Management Institute lecture by organisational psychologist and management expert Professor Adrian Furnham. At our London offices overlooking Carnaby Street, Adrian shared insights on the importance of organisational culture and how to motivate employees effectively towards desired behaviours and subsequently, boost individual, team and company performance.

Adrian recently retired as Professor of Psychology at University College London after 37 years and is an adjunct Professor at BI: The Norwegian Business School. He is also the author of 1,200 scientific papers and 80 books, including High Potential (2018) and Motivation and Performance (2017).


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The insight which provoked the most discussion over drinks afterwards was how money is certainly not the greatest motivator and can in fact demotivate.

Motivation comes in two forms. Intrinsic motivation is when the activity itself is its own reward. Extrinsic motivation occurs when people are prepared to take part in an activity, because they are compensated by some benefit, such as money. However, Adrian explained that money only has a very short-term effect on motivation for four key reasons.

  • We swiftly adapt to a salary increase and soon crave more
  • A salary increase prompts more concern over tax hikes
  • We constantly compare ourselves to others and this comparison is more important to us than actual money earned
  • Alternative benefits will often matter more. Would you rather have two weeks holiday or a £1,000 bonus?

Money can also decelerate motivation as rewards can be manipulative, rupture relationships, discourage risk-taking and make people feel bribed, leaving them to wonder what’s in it for them beyond their bank balance.

The most important issue is the concept of comparative fairness. If you cannot clearly link pay to performance or justify differential pay, it may be wise to ensure salaries are kept secret as your workforce will attempt to rectify a sense of inequity.

So, how are the most motivating company cultures driving desired behaviour?

  • Clearly link valued reward to the job performance needed to attain them. Implementing a pay-for-performance plan is a good place to start
  • Design jobs that make desired behaviours more attainable
  • Be aware that employees value different things. Create a cafeteria-style benefit plan allowing individuals to select the fringe benefits they most value, whether it be time off or a gym membership
  • Guide individuals towards their true passions, interests and values, and change the job to accommodate these preferences where possible. During the first week on the job at Facebook, managers sit down with new hires and ask them about the favourite projects they have done, the moments when they felt most energised at work and the passions they have outside their jobs. Armed with that knowledge, managers can build engaging roles from the get-go

Yet again, it was reinforced how deep insight into not only the individual, but also the collective workforce, is fundamental to motivate and drive organisational change effectively. Without this knowledge, you are simply stabbing in the dark.

At M&C Saatchi Transform, we combine rigorous research, a deep understanding of the social aspects of human behaviour and world-renowned creativity to help ambitious leaders identify and drive the behaviours they need to deliver change and enhance performance.

Governance with a human face.

People, not processes, drive profit and change.

By Stephen Jolly, Managing Director of M&C Saatchi Transform, and Sir Gerald Howarth, former Government Minister and Chairman, Addveritas.

Last week, M&C Saatchi Transform, the leader in organisational behaviour change, partnered with whistleblowing consultancy Addveritas to host a panel discussion exploring how workforce behaviours can drive change and profit in a rule‐governed world.

There is an increased focus from regulators, investors and customers on organisational culture. Behaviours are the manifestation of culture and positive workforce behaviours are a key driver of profit. From increased profit and knowledge retention through to improved productivity, customer experience and innovation, behaviour drives the bottom line.

However, in a market dominated by large management consultancies, systems and processes are almost always prioritised over people and their actual behaviours. The same rule applies to change programmes and repeatedly, change is done to people, not driven by them. As a result, a shameful 81% of all organisational change programmes fail. A figure little changed since the early 2000s (Smith, 2002).

Time and again, it has been proven that regulation, however complex, and compliance are not enough to drive positive workforce behaviours. The recent exposure of 456 patient deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital due to gross misconduct compounded by a cover‐up culture is yet further shocking proof of this.

Transform is M&C Saatchi’s latest business venture, established to tackle this people deficit by using behavioural science to drive organisational change. Transform was launched to bring employees back into view, give them a voice and enlist them to deliver real change for their organisations, whether that organisation be a global bank, a major charity or a government department. The partnership with Addveritas, a consultancy that specialises in the ‘hard‐wiring’ of governance and whistleblowing, offers a clear complement to Transform’s focus on the ‘soft wiring’ of people and behaviour.


Stephen Jolly introduces Richard Storey, Sir Gerald Howarth, Mary Inman and Bandini Chhichhia (left to right).

Hosted at M&C Saatchi’s Golden Square offices in London, the panel discussion was chaired by former Government Minister and Addveritas Chairman, Sir Gerald Howarth, who opened the discussion by asking: could the disaster at Gosport War Memorial Hospital have been prevented through a thorough understanding of the people involved, not just a focus on processes?

Richard Storey, Global Chief Strategy Officer at M&C Saatchi and our first panellist believes so. Richard has spent most of his career trying to understand how to get people to do what we would like them to do. He is a firm believer in understanding people deeply, before seeking to change their behaviour and shared some of his biggest learnings.

•     People are irrational, irregular and will not do what they are told

Richard shared the example of a recent M&C Saatchi project, where his team was tasked with convincing young men not to risk their lives by racing trains at level crossings. Interviews revealed they knew they shouldn’t and they knew the risks, but they believed they were invincible. Richard realised they couldn’t simply tell them what to do. He needed them to work it out for themselves.

M&C Saatchi’s creative solution, which dramatically decreased the number of incidents, was a video game simulation, which allowed the young men to witness and feel the true risk.

•     People act on incentives rather than instruction

How can we help people understand what is in it for them, rather than simply demanding compliance? The modern organisation needs to support employees to understand what it will do for them, to attract top talent and drive behaviour change, rather than simply expecting them to fall into line.

The second panellist, Mary Inman, agreed that we overlook employee behaviour at our peril.

Mary, an international lawyer, is a partner at Constantine Cannon representing whistleblowers in the UK, EU and worldwide. In her view, it is the message, rather than the messenger, that is most important and whistleblowers should be celebrated. Mary noted that whistleblowers often have the organisation’s best interests at heart, seeking to speak up within the organisation, before they are driven to speak out publicly if they do not feel heard. However, this is generally not the case. Throughout her career, Mary has repeatedly witnessed whistleblowers being demonised and expelled from organisations.

Tricia Newbold, who suffers from a rare form of growth deficiency syndrome, ran security clearance at the White House for many years. Tricia revealed that a number of people, including Trump’s son in‐law Jared Kushner, should not have been granted clearance under current rules. She was swiftly vilified by colleagues, who went as far as moving her files to the top shelves out of reach, before finally being suspended from her job.

Mary advocated seeing those who speak up as allies, allowing the organisation to correct negative behaviours, prevent scandal and minimise adverse impact on the bottom line.

Our final panellist, Bandini Chhichhia from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), is particularly interested in driving the right behaviours for ethical outcomes.

Bandini works within EBRD’s Office of the Chief Compliance Officer to promote good governance and ethical behaviour, so that the highest standards of integrity are consistently applied to all Bank activities in accordance with international best practice. As a Principal for Policy and Ethics, she is part of a team responsible for establishing, communicating, monitoring and implementing fundamental rules regarding the required ethical conduct of those working in the EBRD.

One of Bandini’s key challenges is ensuring that the ‘right’ behaviours are internalised by new staff members joining the Bank. One of the greatest insights of her role has been linking the ‘how’ to the ‘what’ of any job, so that staff members are continually motivated to behave in an ethical fashion, whilst pursuing the Bank’s mission to develop open and sustainable market economies in countries committed to, and applying, democratic principles. Her key learnings to date include:

•     The need to consistently link motivation and behaviour to the purpose of the organisation, so that people can connect ethical behaviour and values to the end impact of their work

•     Ensure that an organisation’s training strategy is bespoke, responds to the organisation’s risk profile, and where possible, training should be adapted to the needs of different parts of the organisation. For example, procurement would face very different risks to communications

•     Ensure talking about ethics is normalised, and forms part of the organisation’s internal dialogue, so that tricky conversations will not be avoided, and bad behaviour swept under the rug

•     Always listen to your workforce, celebrate those who highlight misconduct and protect whistleblowers, including their identity when requested

During the evening’s discussion, it became clear that the most impactful and profitable organisations listen to their workforce, understand how to adapt messaging to suit the audience (for example, Richard Storey revealed that Millennials tend to prefer casual language) and ensure people, rather than process, are the priority for any change initiative.

Stephen Jolly is Managing Director of M&C Saatchi Transform, helping ambitious leaders harness workforce behaviours to deliver change, mitigate risk and enhance performance through behaviour change communications.