Reflections on Scaling Up Employee Engagement: Ohana’s Role

Jake Plantz Blog

The Ohana Team had the pleasure of sitting in on a webinar, Scaling Up With Employee Engagement, hosted by Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up, and Santiago Jaramillo, founder of Emplify, an employee engagement and human results coaching software. The webinar focused on the central role that employee engagement plays in scaling a company.

Emplify focuses on making employee engagement a measurable statistic for companies. Using department-specific heat maps, a company can pinpoint where engagement is lagging.

After general introductions and discussion of the importance of employee engagement, the webinar shifted to focusing on the four key factors that leaders need to consider when scaling: people, strategy, execution, and cash.

1. People:

When you have disciplined people in your company, you will be able to adequately adapt to any changes that happen in the marketplace. It is the will of the employees that makes an employee great, not solely their talent.

2. Strategy:

Harnish used the example of a playground surrounded by busy roads. In this scenario, the parents would try to keep their children in the center of the playground rather than around the edges. However, when you put up fences, the kids have total freedom. Harnish related this to the importance of boundaries for employees. Employees must be able to make their own decisions free from micromanagement. Afterwards, it can be determined if those decisions align with the company values and goals. It is through these independent decisions that employees feel engaged and valued.

Note: At Ohana, we recommend making sure company values are also continually expressed to employees so they feel comfortable with that freedom.

3. Execution:

Gathering ideas and data from employees is critical to pinpointing problems with engagement that would hinder a company’s ability to scale. Jaramillo gave the example of how, after a few careful conversations with staff, a simple investment in a forklift for the welding department in a marine company boosted the department’s engagement 20% and allotted for potentially $400,000 extra revenue per year. Executing employee engagement strategies can be a tough pill to swallow, but Harnish clearly elaborated on why it is important in the next stage.

4. Cash:

It is critical when spending money that enhances employee engagement that it is not a cost but rather an investment. While keeping an eye on cash-on-hand metrics is important, Harnish said admittedly, it is equally important to look at your long-term cash flows, as with the welder’s forklift example.

Ohana’s Role

Throughout the webinar, the obvious sticking point for Ohana was the relevance of the Engage, Retain, Attract Score (ERA). The ERA score, measured out of 1,000, calculates the Ohana’s usage in terms of the number of users interacting with the app, the frequency at which they interact, and the ways in which they interact (posts, contests, high fives, etc.). Business leaders will not only be able to see the obvious effects that Ohana has had on morale, but they will be able to see the hidden benefits that the app has on their company’s ability to Engage employees, Retain employees, and Attract potential employees.

Another correlation with Ohana was the emphasis on engagement rather than satisfaction. With Ohana’s built in Pulse Survey Model, business leaders will be able to quickly gain feedback from their employees every two weeks on a variety of topical subjects. Furthermore, it will give employers the chance to see how their employee’s engagement has improved after sustained use of the app.

If you’re looking for a tool to connect and engage with your employees, check out Ohana! Ohana is a newsfeed-driven platform, available via mobile app and online, that makes sharing important company info quick and easy.