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NGO Organizational Health Assessment

NGO Organizational Health Assessment(OHA)

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Organizational Health
  3. History of NGO OHA
  4. News
  5. Service Plan
  6. Research Results
  7. Case Study
  8. Participating in NGO OHA
  9. Event Snapshot
  10. Acknowledgement
  11. Reference

1. Introduction

With the belief on the importance of organizational health to the organization’s sustainability, HKCSS and some social service organizations have engaged in the health concepts some years ago. Back in 2012, with the support from McKinsey & Company (Hong Kong), 8 different types of NGOs took a health check and confirmed that the organizational health concepts are somehow applicable to NGOs. With such inspirations, the HKCSS and HKU ExCEL3 jointed hands to further investigate the concept and modify some of the indicators for a more relevant assessment tool for NGOs, the "NGO Organizational Health Assessment" (OHA). Later in 2018, 5 NGOs were invited to conduct a pilot test on the new OHA to see if the tool could better provide relevant and reliable information to assess and improve organizational health. The data collection and analysis, which lasted for half a year, was completed in early 2019. To further promote NGO organizational health, and to enable interested NGOs to adopt the concept in organizational development, the HKCSS Institute has launched different training courses, sharing sessions and a free version of OHA online assessment for interested agency members of the HKCSS and other NGOs.

Objectives of the OHA Project

  • To promote the organizational health concept in the social welfare sector
  • To provide a health assessment tool for NGOs to conduct health check to as a grounded mean to steer organizational development
  • To establish a sector-wide NGO organizational health map for benchmarking as the industry’s reference

2. What is Organizational Health?

As per the study of McKinsey & Company, the health of an organization depends on its capability in continuously aligning its direction and strategy with its people, executing effectively with the right capabilities and management processes and renewing as per the change of the external environment. The three clusters could be devised into nine elements (Figure 1) namely, direction, leadership, culture and climate, accountability, coordination and control, motivation, capabilities, external orientation, innovation and learning and their corresponding management practices for further investigation. The assessment of organisational health is based on employees’ observations. The three clusters and nine elements provide a simple yet powerful blueprint to describe essential components of organizational excellence for long term success and sustainability.

Figure 1

圖一


3. History of NGO OHA

The development of NGO Organizational Health Assessment (OHA) was inspired by McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index (OHI), which was developed and mainly adopted in the commercial world.

In 2009, the Hong Kong Red Cross firstly adopted the OHI concept when using the consultancy service delivered by McKinsey. Later in December 2011 to May 2012, with the support from McKinsey, 8 other NGOs took part in conducting health check by OHI. The 8 NGOs are

  • The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong
  • The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
  • Treats
  • Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service
  • New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
  • Caritas - Hong Kong Social Service
  • Senior Citizen Home Safety Association
  • The Boys' Brigade, Hong Kong

A forum was conducted in April 2012 in conveying the aggregate health results with individual NGO’s sharing. The 8 NGOs concluded that the OHI could stimulate their staff to be aware of their organizational health and provide powerful evidence to drive improvement strategically. Some expressed that they would make organizational improvements based on the health check results. Participants of the forum also expressed that if they would have the chance to participate in organizational health checks via the coordination of HKCSS.

In 2015, HKCSS collaborated with The University of Hong Kong’s ExCEL3 to develop an organizational health assessmentwhich is more NGO-focusedbased on OHI framework

Another follow-up forum was held in 2016. Several NGOs, such as the Hong Kong Red Cross, the Hong Kong Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association, and the New Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, shared their health improvement programmes and results.

Cooperation with HKU to create concise surveys fitting into the NGO setting.

In 2016, HKCSS cooperated with HKU ExCEL3, and formed an expert group and research team to work on designing a more relevant organizational health assessment for the NGO sector.

The academic team firstly collected opinions from 57 NGOs via questionnaires about the NGO organization management based on McKinsey's OHI.  The expert group and working group then refined some of the management practices in the original framework according to the actual situation of the sector, and adjusted the questionnaire accordingly in terms of content and language used to enable the new assessment tools to better explain the current state of the health situation of a NGO. The number of questions in the questionnaire was reduced from 164 to 92, with 37 management practices reduced to 33. The 9 health elements remain unchanged. With such modifications, the new trial version of NGO OHA was launched in mid-2018.

Outcomes Practices
Direction 1. Shared vision
2. Strategic clarity
3. Employee involvement
Leadership 4. Authoritative leadership
5. Consultative leadership
6. Supportive leadership
7. Challenging leadership
Culture and climate 8. Open and trusting
9. Internally competitive
10. Operationally disciplined
11. Creative and entrepreneurial
Accountability 12. Role clarity
13. Personal ownership
Coordination and control 14. People performance review
15. Operational management
16. Financial management
17. Professional standards
18. Risk management
Capabilities 19. Talent acquisition
20. Talent development
21. Process-based capabilities
22. Outsourced expertise
Motivation 23. Meaningful values
24. Inspirational leaders
25. Rewards and recognition
External orientation 26. Customer focus
27. Competitive insights
28. Business partnerships
29. Government and community relations

Innovation and learning

30. Top-down innovation
31. Bottom-up innovation
32. Knowledge sharing
33. Capturing external ideas

In 2018, 5 NGOs were invited to do a pilot test of the new OHA. The 5 NGOs are:

  • Caritas Social Work Services Division- Youth and Community Service
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong (ELCSS-HK)
  • TWGHs Jockey Club Rehabilitation Complex
  • Sai Kung District Community Centre
  • The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong

Results presented in mid-2019 had demonstrated that the OHA is a reliable and useful tool to reflect the health status of the organization and provide references on future organizational development. In terms of using the new tool, participating NGOs and staff reflected that it was easy for them to grasp the idea, and most of them could finish the questionnaire in 30 minutes.

In processing the pilottest results, Dr Norah Wang from The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong was invited to conduct a test on the reliability and validity of the new questionnaire, and the result was satisfactory. Based on the questionnaire results and qualitative comments from the 5 NGOs, the tool was further fine-tuned:

  • Language used was further fine-tuned to fit in local NGO context
  • The latest number of management practices is 33, with less relevant ones taken out
  • Number of questions in the questionnaire was revised to 98NGO OHA 的重要里程碑



6. Research Results

2012

Under the assistance from McKinsey & Company (Hong Kong), 8 different NGOs participated in a pilot test to validate whether OHI is applicable to NGOs, and to create a sector-wide NGO organizational health map to understand strengths and areas for improvement of NGOs. Via the test, more references and evidence can be provided to the NGO sector for grounded discussions over the organizational development and direction. The 10-month pilot test, which included online questionnaires and inter-level interviews, was launched in 2012. More than 1,055 NGO staff participated in the test.

(Participating NGOs included: Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong, The Boys' Brigade, Hong Kong Caritas - Hong Kong Social Service, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service, New Life Psychiatric Re habilitation Association, Senior Citizen Home Safety Association, TREATS)

Results

In general, 8 NGOs scored high in the areas “External Orientation” and “Accountability”, whereas “Coordination and Control” and “Innovation and Learning” were areas that NGOs had rooms for improvement (Figure 3). As the participating NGOs differed greatly in terms of size, experience and service area, their organizational health varied as well (Figure 4). The distinctiveness was especially obvious in the area “Culture and Climate”. The following are the major highlights regarding the respondents’ comments on areas “Coordination and Control” and “Innovation and Learning”.

“Coordination and Control” and “Innovation and Learning”

In the area “Coordination and Control”, respondents generally agreed that organizations had a sufficient degree of monitoring over its core business, one of which was to record staff’s work performance systematically and continuously. However, respondents disagreed that the organization’s staff appraisal system could efficiently find out the causes of problems and bring out timely follow-up actions. Respondents might think the organization’s staff appraisal system and review process were ineffective in reflecting items such as staff’s personal strengths, weaknesses and potentials. Additionally, in terms of risk management, only one-third of the respondents agreed organizations were able to manage risks effectively. Respondents might think organizations were not dedicated enough to explore potential risks and threats, as well as developing an emergency response protocol.  

In the area “Innovation and Learning”, respondents generally agreed that organizations were not able to generate high quality creativity that can support organizations in achieving its goals. Sharing and exchange of knowledge and ideas were not common as well. Respondents opined that there were few innovation-related management practices in organizations, and seldom would organizations introduce and adopt new ideas. There were also little cross-team practices within the organization’s system and procedures.

Figure 3 (available in Chinese Version only)

圖三

Figure 4 (available in Chinese Version only)

圖四

2018

HKCSS invited 5 local NGOs and service units* to test for the new trial version of OHA, which was developed by HKCSS and ExCEL3 jointly based on the Mckinsey and Company’s framework to assess NGO’s organizational health. With a view to aiding the NGO sector and participating organizations in grasping their organizational health condition clearly, the new version of OHA refined some of the indicators from the original framework according to the actual situation of the sector. Questions of the questionnaires were also adjusted and presented in a more concise and understandable language for the NGO sector. (*Caritas Social Work Services Division- Youth and Community Service, Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong, TWGHs Jockey Club Rehabilitation Complex, Sai Kung District Community Centre and The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong)

Results

Organizational Health:

There were 1,267 NGO staff joining the NGO OHA test, taking up 60% of the total number of staff of the participating NGOs. In general, the 5 NGOs scored higher in areas “External Orientation”, “Accountability” and “Motivation” (Figure 3 & 4). However, it was worth noting that there were rooms for improvement regarding some of the practical measures. For example, in the area “External Orientation”, respondents reflected that organizations had close ties with the government and the community, but more efforts can be put into strengthening relations with customers and business partners.

In the area “Accountability”, regardless of the presence of a clear system within the organization, most of the staff had a sense of accountability for their job duties. In the area “Motivation”, respondents pointed out NGO staff had a high degree of self-initiatives and personal passion towards their jobs, but organizations and supervisors were likely to overlook the need to inspire, pass and practice a set of comprehensive organizational values, which were crucial for driving staff’s, board members’, donors’ and other supporters’ joint efforts.

Comparatively, areas “Coordination and Control” and “Innovation and Learning” were scored low. In the area “Coordination and Control”, respondents generally believed there were quite a number of staff monitoring systems in organizations, but organizations lacked concerns over operation efficiency, risk and financial management. In the area “Innovation and Learning”, respondents generally believed that their organizations had a slower pace in initiating change and improvements compared to other NGOs. Organizations seldom took references from experiences of other NGOs and the sector, nor would they often encourage discussion and creative ideas from staff. The survey result was similar to that of the 2012 pilot run which 8 NGOs participated (Figure 3). As the sizes and service areas of the participating agencies were distinctive, the test result could not be generalized as the overall phenomenon of the NGO sector.

Applicability of NGO Organizational Health Assessment (OHA) Trial Version:

Results of the 5 NGOs demonstrated that the OHA is a reliable and useful tool to reflect the health status of the organization and provide references on future organizational development. In terms of using the new tool, participating NGOs and staff reflected that it was easy for them to grasp the idea, and most of them could finish the revised questionnaire in 30 minutes. In processing the pilottest results, Dr Norah Wang from the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong was invited to conduct a test on the reliability and validity of the new questionnaire, and the result was satisfactory.

NGOs' Result (available in Chinese Version only)

機構結果

To download article: Click Here



8. Participating in NGO OHA

Application Eligibility:

  • Only for non-profit organizations.
  • HKCSS Agency Member: Participation and registration of the survey are free of charge. As part of the package, each participating agency member will obtain a basic report. Course tuitions and special report fees, however, are not included.
  • Non-HKCSS Agency Member: Participation fee is HK$ 6,000 (for organizations with 500 staff members or less), with a basic report included; Participation fee for organizations with 501-1,000 staff members is HK$ 8,000; Participation fee for organizations with more than 1,000 staff members is to be further negotiated.
  • Each participating organization should have at least 50 or more full-time employees. A minimum number of 50 responses from each participating organization is also required for the survey.
  • Organizations who have participated in NGO OHA before can only make a new registration one year after the last registration.

Application Procedure:

  1. Complete appropriate application form (to be released) and submit to HKCSS Institute by email institute@hkcss.org.hk, with subject “[NGO OHA] Register as Participating Agency”. Details will be released by email after we have verified your application.
  2. Participate in 2 courses (12 hours in total)
  • Session 1: Induction to NGO Organizational Health for Sustainability
  • Session 3: NGO Organizational Health and the Administration of OHA Tool
  1. An account for the online OHA platform will be created by HKCSS for each participating organization. Questionnaires will be released via the platform and participating staff are expected to complete the questionnaires within a designated period of time. Organizations will obtain a basic report afterwards.

Service Plan

Click Here

Document download (to be provided later):

  1. Questionnaire sample
  2. Report sample 1
  3. Report sample 2
  4. User manual

Participating Organization Admin login (to be provided later)


9. Event Snapshot

2019 Sharing Session

​​​​​​"Seminar on NGO Organizational Health Assessment Framework" was held on 5th March 2019, inviting some of the working group members including Ms Christine Fang and Mr K.M. Chan to introduce organizational heath concepts, and share the overall OHA result. Representatives of the 5 participating agencies were also invited to share their experiences regarding participation and application of the test result.

(Participating Agencies included: TWGHs Jockey Club Rehabilitation Complex, The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong, Sai Kung District Community Centre, Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong, Caritas Social Work Services Division)

For more snapshots: please click here.

2016 Forum

"Forum on Good Practices in Building Organization Health and Capacity for NGOs" was held on 25th April 2016. In addition to the survey result announcement, NGO organizational health and capacity framework were briefly introduced. A number of NGOs’ supervisors were invited to share on the good operation practices described in the framework based on experiences of their organizations. Guest speakers included Mr K.M. Chan, Ms Christine Fang, Ms Elizabeth Law, Mr Kwok Lit-tong , Dr Norah Wang, Mr Suen Lai-sang, Mr Frederick Lai, Ms Nancy Tsang, Mr Raymond Chiu, Mr Joseph Ngai, Ms Bonnie So, Ms Sania Yau)

For more snapshots: please click here.

2012 Sharing Session

"NGOs Organizational Health - A Way to Better Achieve the Mission of Your Organization" was held on 10th October 2012. A number of participating NGO’s heads and more 120 participating staff from across 60 NGOs shared their experiences and challenges from the perspectives of reflection, application, public image and follow-up. Mr Joseph Ngai, the Senior Partner and Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company (Hong Kong), gave out a sharing on OHI, and findings and recommendations regarding the test. Other guest speakers included Ms Elizabeth Law from the Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong, Ms Sania Yau from New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, Ms Kris Tong from TREATS, Mr K.M. Chan from Hong Kong Red Cross and Ms Irene Leung from the Salvation Army.

For more snapshots: please click here.


10. Acknowledgement

Expert Group

  • Mr K.M. CHAN

HKCSS Institute Steering Committee Members &
Founding Director, Governance and Management Excellence (GAME) for Public Benefit

  • Ms Lilian LAW

Ex-Executive Director, The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong

  • Ms Christine FANG

Founding Director, Governance and Management Excellence (GAME) for Public Benefit

  • Ms Bonnie SO

Secretary General, Hong Kong Red Cross

  • Mr Frederick LAI

Director, Caritas Social Work Services Division

  • Mr Raymond CHIU

Chief Executive Officer, Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service

  • Prof Cecilia CHAN

Si Yuan Professor in Health and Social Work,
Chair Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration

  • Dr Norah WANG

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Research Team

  • Ms Christine FANG

Founding Director, Governance and Management Excellence (GAME) for Public Benefit

  • Dr Norah WANG

Ex-Senior Project Manager, HKU-HKJC ExCEL3

  • Ms Michele W. RAPHAEL

Ex-Project Manager, HKU-HKJC ExCEL3

  • Ms Lois LAM

Head, HKCSS Institute

  • Mr YEUNG Hiu Lam

Ex-Project Officer, HKCSS Institute

  • Ms Kiki WONG

Ex-Project Officer, HKCSS Institute

HKCSS Institute OHA Working Group

  • Mr K.M. CHAN

HKCSS Institute Steering Committee Members &
Founding Director, Governance and Management Excellence (GAME) for Public Benefit

  • Ms Lilian LAW

Ex-Executive Director, The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong

  • Ms Christine FANG

Founding Director, Governance and Management Excellence (GAME) for Public Benefit

  • Ms Lois LAM

Head, HKCSS Institute

Contributing Organizations

(by alphabetical order)

  • Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service
  • Caritas - Hong Kong Social Service
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong Red Cross
  • New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
  • Sai Kung District Community Centre
  • Senior Citizen Home Safety Association
  • The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong
  • The Boys' Brigade, Hong Kong
  • TREATS
  • TWGHs Jockey Club Rehabilitation Complex

Special Thanks

  • McKinsey & Company (Hong Kong)
  • HKU ExCEL3

Acknowledgement

(by alphabetical order)

  • Ms Angie CHAN
  • Mr Charles CHAN
  • Ms Fanny ONG
  • Ms Irene LEUNG
  • Mr Joseph NGAI
  • Ms Kris TONG
  • Mr KWOK Lit-tung
  • Ms Nancy TSANG
  • Ms Queenie CHAN
  • Ms Sania YAU
  • Mr SUEN Lai-sang
  • Mr Victor LI
  • Mr Tony YAU

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