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McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index (OHI) is an exhaustive assessment of an organization’s effectiveness and its management’s performance based on an organization-wide survey. It’s a tool that numerous public and private sector organizations have leveraged in order to benchmark their company’s health, align around core areas of improvement, and improve overall organizational performance.

The survey scores a number of things, including leadership, continuous improvement capabilities, talent attraction and retention, and customer insight. Many companies are now adopting an OHI to help them form a strategy for the future.

In 2018, Sunshine Coast Credit Union (a credit union in Canada) decided to use the OHI to learn where they most needed to improve as an organization. When the results came back, they were surprised to find that their lowest score was related to Bottom-Up Innovation – which meant their employees had very little opportunity or incentive to contribute to continuous improvement. SCCU didn’t wait to act – they rallied quick to form a new inclusive innovation strategy – one that would involve al the voices in their company in order to improve their companies performance and transform their culture. As part of that plan,  SCCU decided to deploy an IdeaScale community with the tagline “Better Every Day” – 95% of their workforce participated in their initial call for ideas.

SCCU asks for suggestions on a range of topics: from their always-on, continuous improvement call to ideas on process improvement, new technology, financial wellness, and even themes for their holiday party. And now, after several months of collecting ideas, they have an average of at least one submitted idea for every employee and 20% of their ideas are implemented in less than a year (lower than the industry average). But, perhaps best of all, their Bottom-Up Innovation score moved from their lowest scoring item on the McKinsey Organizational Health matrix to their TOP score, improving overall organizational health and culture.

SCCU’s story gives us a few key takeaways that we can apply to other organizations looking to change their OHI score.

  1. They trusted the results. So many companies will argue their position on a survey, feeling that the respondents don’t understand the organization. That was not the case with Sunshine Coast where they had the humility, curiosity, and energy to understand where they were as a starting point, From there, SCCU assigned a team and had support from their CEO to take those results and try something new.
  2. They identified a shared space for ideas. People can’t collaborate and create change if their ideas have nowhere to go. SCCU launched an innovation management solution right away and was able to start gathering and responding to ideas. A digital solution is easy to understand, always on, and becomes a powerful communications tool over time, as well.
  3. They focus energy and attention. They keep engagement high by mixing an always-open call for ideas with short-term, urgent calls for solutions to specific problems. This way they maintain interest and deliver on short-term, relevant issues, but also keep attention pulled back to this collaborative space for continuous improvement.
  4. They delivered on ideas. SCCU boasts a 40% implementation rate – this is only possible when they have senior level buy-in, a dedicated workforce, and urgency. But if they didn’t deliver on at least some of the ideas, there’s no way that they would have moved their OHI score. Participation must result in action.

To read the full story of how Sunshine Coast Credit Union turned their lowest scoring area into their highest scoring area, read the full case study.

About the Author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.

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