Since the launch of the HPO Framework in 2007 many organizations worldwide have embarked on an HPO transformation, often using the HPO Diagnosis and HPO Questionnaire as the starting point of their voyage to high performance. In the past 15 years we were able to follow many of these transformations and their performance effects on individual organisations (often in longitudinal research) and on complete sectors. Many of our findings we have shared in a multitude of academic and managerial articles.[i] In this article (May 2023) an overview is given of the performance effects of applying the HPO framework in sectors and on individual organisations. All effects have been documented in published academic articles, and therefore have undergone rigorous peer review.
HPO in specific sectors
In this section an overview is given of the results of HPO research conducted in specific sectors worldwide.
|Tanzanian banks with the highest HPO ranking had the best financial performance.
|The regions of the bank with the highest HPOs cores had the best financial performance.
|Vietnamese banks with the highest HPO scores had the highest financial performance.
|Universities with higher HPO scores had more resources to address the needs of faculty, staff, and students; a higher number of research publications; better update alumni career records; conducted more conferences; and undertook more research projects.
|Increasing the high-performance level of a Flemish for-profit company decreases the time it takes to fulfil its bottleneck vacancies.
|Tanzanian manufacturing firms with the highest HPO ranking had the best financial performance.
|The mine with the highest HPO score achieved the best corporate social responsibility and financial performances.
|The supermarkets with the highest HPO scores achieved higher revenue and margins.
|The swimming pool with the highest HPO score had the best financial performance and client satisfaction.
|The region of the temping agency with the highest HPO ranking showed the highest revenue growth over the past six years.
Underneath more detail on each study is given:
- Employees from ten banks in the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam received and completed the HPO Questionnaire. The subsequent average HPO scores, calculated for the ten banks, were ranked and matched with their financial performance. The final matching showed that Tanzanian banks with the highest HPO ranking also had the best financial performance. Tanzanian banks with the lowest HPO ranking displayed the worst financial performance.[ii]
- Despite the fact that the regions of the Dutch bank used the same procedures, processes and systems and offered the same products and services, they still achieve different financial results. A closer look revealed that management and employees of the different regions in the Netherlands focused on different things. The units that were paying specific attention to the HPO characteristics performed the best.[iii]
- Managers and employees of multiple banks in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, completed the HPO Questionnaire. The banks with the highest HPO scores, especially for factor Continuous Improvement & Renewal, showed the highest financial performance.[iv]
- Teaching staff of multiple universities in Pakistan filled in the HPO Questionnaire and also several performance indicators of their institutions (such as number of publications and research projects). Statistical analyses showed that those universities that scored high on the HPO characteristics also scored high on the performance criteria.[v]
- In preparation for a webinar, organized by the Flemish Department of Employment on the attractiveness of organizations, respondents were send a survey with which they could indicate the high-performance level of their organization and how long it took for their organization to fulfil its bottleneck vacancies (e. the time between posting a vacancy on the job market and fulfilling that vacancy). Statistical analysis showed that there exists a linear and positive relationship between being an HPO and the time it takes for such a company to fulfil its bottleneck vacancies.[vi]
- Employees from ten manufacturing firms in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, filled in the HPO Questionnaire and their scores were averaged. The subsequent HPO ranking was matched with the financial performance of the ten manufacturing firms. This matching showed that the Tanzanian manufacturing firms with the highest HPO ranking also had the best financial performance, while Tanzanian manufacturing firms with the lowest HPO ranking reported the worst financial performance.[vii]
- A comparison of two mining companies in Peru showed that the mining company with the highest HPO scores applied more corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and achieved higher organisational performance.[viii]
- The Dutch supermarket industry is dominated by a small number of powerful companies which capture the majority of sales and which compete fiercely with each other. This competition is mainly quality based, in the sense of offering increasingly more products of higher quality and striving for better distribution mechanisms. The HPO Questionnaire was used to analyse the strength and performance of supermarkets. It turned out that the supermarkets with the highest HPO scores indeed achieve better financial results, both in terms of revenue and margin achieved, than those of supermarkets with lower HPO scores.[ix]
- The HPO scores and financial results of two Dutch swimming pools were compared, with as outcome that the highest-scoring swimming pool had the best financial results of the two swimming pools and also the highest reputation as a client-oriented swimming pool.[x]
- The five regions of a large temping agency in the Netherlands were compared on their HPO scores and financial results. It turned out that the region with the highest HPO scores also achieved the highest revenue growth in the past six years.[xi]
HPO at individual organisations
In this section an overview is given of the performance effects of an HPO transformation at individual organisations.
|ARK Data Centres
|Improved quality of service delivery.
|Doubling of turnover and profit.
|More trust between the partner companies in the Consortium, resulting in more delivered products with less mistakes, and higher client satisfaction.
|144% revenue growth.
|Center of International Affairs
|Higher quality of services, higher ownership among staff for the results of the department, and higher satisfaction among the students and the other departments of the University with CoIA.
|Significant behavioural changes: more dialogue and information exchange within the organization, a more approachable CEO, and a clearer common goal to strive for.
|Negative effects of the economic crisis were so much muted that the organization became no. 1 in the industry.
|Low absenteeism, less hiring of temporary workers, no overloaded and healthier staff, higher patient satisfaction, more development of staff in a better learning environment, more efficient processes and meetings.
|IBK achieves more than budgeted, whereby a financial return of 5% is realized.
|Iringa University College
|In Top 10 of best East-African universities; large growth in students and high-quality teachers.
|Financial stability achieved.
|Negative effects of financial costing policies muted so organization could survive better than similar healthcare organizations.
|Negative effects of economic downturn in the financial services industry mitigated in such a way that the organization grew both in revenue and employees (and received prizes for this) while similar financial organizations suffered.
|Significant growth in revenue.
|Top position in the industry achieved (in respect to financial margins).
|300% revenue growth.
|Nursing home care institutions
|More focus on what is important and less ad-hoc firefighting, more professionalism and higher capabilities, less hierarchy and more heterarchy (more responsibility to lower levels), more cooperation between departments, more focus on clients, the three institutions have become better workplaces where people have more fun.
|HPO Framework prevented the organization of ‘growing kaput’ by not only causing the growth of the organization to be managed in the right direction but also helping the organization to growth rapidly in a controlled manner.
|Increased revenue growth.
|All seven distributors experienced a growth in quality of employees and internal organization.
|Several distributors experienced (strong) financial growth, while other distributors were able to deal adequately with the negative economic circumstances in their local markets.
|Achieved highest client satisfaction in the industry.
Underneath more detail on each study is given:
- ARK, one of UK’s leading provider of high integrity data centres, used the HPO Framework to make sure the quality of its internal organization could keep pace with the rapid sales growth the company was experiencing. In a series of HPO Diagnoses, with in between the company working on the HPO attention points, the company was able to manage and even speed up its growth while improving the quality of service delivery.[xii]
- ATLAS, a British consortium of IT companies working for the British Ministry of Defence, used the HPO diagnosis to increase the quality of its cooperation and to achieve the results that were agreed upon with the Ministry. To this end, the consortium conducted several HPO diagnoses over a period of four years and during the intermediate periods worked on the HPO attention points. The consortium noticed: better relations, more trust and more communication among partner organizations; increased engagement of employees; significantly more applications delivered to a larger number of users worldwide; and external recognition from British governmental committees as being an example of successful cooperation on a grand scale.[xiii]
- In its quest to become a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030, Zambia realized the need to create a strong economy and increase its gross domestic product. One way to achieve that goal, which the Zambian government applied, was to create high-performance organizations. The application of the HPO Framework at the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) significantly improve its financial and operational performance in two years, while enhancing two-way communications, employee morale, customer service, and its reputation for efficiency and integrity.[xiv]
- The Centre of International Affairs (CoIA), part of the Rotterdam University of Applied Science, was charged with the coordination of all policy, knowledge, information, communication, and support processes related to internationalization and international students. CoIA had the ambition to become the centre of expertise regarding internationalization, with smooth and tailor-made services for study programs and students. To support this ambition, a HPO transformation was undertaken. Within five years the HPO status was achieved, and CoIA reported higher quality of services, higher ownership among staff for the results of the department, and higher satisfaction among the students and the other departments of the University with CoIA.[xv]
- In an era of increasingly saturated markets and ever tightening competition, multinational firms are diversifying their product portfolios, exploring new areas of operation, standardizing to achieve economies of scale, and generally enhancing the quality of their organization. To be able to do this successfully, a European multinational embarked on an initiative to transform itself into an HPO. Within six months the organization realized significant behavioural improvements, including enhanced communications and employee engagement, and was able to set a course for sustainable renewal.[xvi]
- The Dutch unit of Grohe, a large European manufacturer and supplier of kitchen and bathroom fixtures, decided to conduct two HPO diagnoses. As a result of working on the HPO attention points, the management of the company stated that the organization had gained a renewed spirit and that the winner mentality had returned. Specifically: the company achieved an increase in openness and action orientation because departments now came together routinely to jointly discuss and take action; many new products had been introduced successfully, and there was a new successful market approach. Sales and profits doubled and market share was won in a difficult competitive market.[xvii]
- A longitudinal study of five years was performed at the Tactus Intensieve BehandelKliniek (IBK), a closed treatment clinic of Tactus Addiction Care in the Netherlands, in which a diagnosis and analysis of the institute’s status was performed twice. The research results show that the HPO transformation approach yielded many financial and non-financial benefits for this healthcare institute.[xviii]
- A private university in Tanzania, Iringa University College, wanted to increase the quality of its internal organization and, therefore, conducted two HPO diagnoses, two years apart. In the intermediate period, the organization worked on its HPO attention points. At the time of the second HPO diagnosis, the college reported the following increases in performance which it attributed to working with the HPO Framework: it now ranked among the top ten peer East African universities; it achieved national and international recognition and awareness; it recruited and retained more students; it raised the quality of education; it expanded its facilities considerably; it attained higher employee satisfaction; and it became financially stable.[xix]
- LIMOR, a Dutch healthcare provider, used the HPO Framework to ward off and contain the negative effects of external turbulent developments, such as the changed financing method used by the Dutch government. This could have potential disastrous effects on not only the financial position of healthcare organizations but also on their ability to provide care to their clients. The HPO Framework helped LIMOR to create a sense of urgency in the right places so people focused on the right things in the right manner, resulting in the organization performing considerably better than comparable healthcare organizations.[xx]
- Longfellow Benefits, a broker (i.e. intermediary) located in Boston USA that advised companies in choosing the best Health and Welfare Plans, Retirement plans and Executive Benefit programs for that company, applied the HPO Diagnosis in order to find out if and where an already successful company could improve. The first diagnosis yielded several improvement points on which the company diligently worked, even though the severe financial and economic recession that befell the industry. The second diagnosis showed Longfellow had maintained its HPO status and had even been able to grow in personnel, clients and revenue. The company won the Boston Best Employer Award several years in a row.[xxi]
- Nabil Bank Limited, the first foreign joint venture bank of Nepal, conducted two HPO diagnoses over a time span of two years. During these diagnoses, the performance of Nabil Bank was compared with its peer group of Nepalese banks. This comparison showed that both for return on assets and non-performing loans, Nabil Bank was the best bank in the peer group.[xxii]
- NEH, a banana grower and exporter in The Philippines, noticed that, after working on the HPO diagnosis attention points, an HPO mind-set had arisen throughout the organization: commitment to one goal and one team, with dialoguing a key activity; an increase in the net productive area from 50 hectares per year to 250 hectares; an improvement in the quality of the bananas from 50 to 90 per cent Grade “A”; and an improvement in revenue.[xxiii]
- The HPO Framework was applied at three Dutch nursing home care institutions. In a period of three years the HPO Diagnosis was performed at the three institutions. This yielded information on their status on the way to high performance and attention points which they needed to address to help them further along their journey. Based on an analysis of the transformation process, the experiences and lessons learned from each institution were identified and summarised.[xxiv]
- Red Bull the Netherlands was a young, fast growing company with a serious risk of ‘growing kaput.’ The company had problems managing the current sales in the right way – increasingly mistakes were made in the ordering, delivering and receiving payment for shipments – let alone achieve the ambitious growth objectives of doubled sales in the next three years. The management team decided to use the HPO Framework to strengthen the internal organization in such a manner that current and future growth could be managed in the right direction and the company could grow in a controlled manner. The HPO Framework indicated the areas where strengthening was needed and by addressing these areas in an expeditious way, Red Bull the Netherlands not only achieved the desired growth but even surpassed it without experiencing quality issues.[xxv]
- A group of seven sales and service locations of Swagelok, a North American manufacturer of fluid system components, applied the HPO Diagnosis twice over a period of two years and in between worked on improvement opportunities identified per specific location. During the second diagnosis the effects of applying the HPO Framework were evaluated and it turned out that this application had different outcomes depending on local circumstances. Some locations experienced a growth while other locations used the HPO Framework to battle the consequences of adverse economic circumstances. All locations however agreed that the HPO Framework had been instrumental, in a positive way, to the development of their organization and its people, and for several locations this already resulted in increased financial performance.[xxvi]
- Realizing the need to improve its processes in order to better serve its customers and meet its financial goals, the management of the Customer Relations department at Ziggo, a Dutch provider of media and communications services, turned to the HPO framework. Management developed a strategy for empowering employees to attain departmental goals and cultivating teamwork, all while measuring and communicating results. In five years, the department has seen sustainable improvements: employee satisfaction is up, profits have almost doubled, and the once-struggling department has achieved an all-time high customer satisfaction score for its industry of 7.5 out of 10.[xxvii]
The HPO Center is the sparring partner for organizations that truly want a breakthrough in improving performance. We never just tell you what you want to hear, but hold up an honest mirror. Based on the scientifically proven HPO concept, colored by robust dialogues with your managers and employees. Are you interested, do you have questions or would you like to learn more about our experiences in your sector? Then contact Marco Schreurs (or T. 035-6037007).
[i] At the time of writing this article we have published more than 120 academic articles on the subject of high-performance and HPOs.
[ii] Yusuph, H. (2010), Assessment of HPO in banking performance, Master thesis, Tumaini University College, Tanzania.
[iii] de Waal, A.A. (2012), What Makes a High Performance Organization, five validated factors of competitive advantage that apply worldwide, Global Professional Publishing Ltd., Hawkhurst.
[iv] Waal, A. A. de, Duong, H. and Ton, V. (2009), High Performance in Vietnam: the case of the Vietnamese banking industry, Journal of Transnational Management, 14:179–201.
[v] Irram, M. and de Waal, A. (2023), High performance research at Pakistani universities, forthcoming.
[vi] de Waal, A. (2022), “Measuring Organizational Attractiveness”, International Journal of Management and Applied Research, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 1–20.
[vii] Godfrey, S. (2010), An Assessment of High Performance Organizations (HPOs) in the Manufacturing Industry in Tanzania, Master thesis, Tumaini University College, Tanzania.
[viii] Waal, A.A. de and Orcotoma Escalante, G. (2011), “Does the application of corporate social responsibility support a high performance organisation in achieving better results? The case of mining multinationals in Peru”, International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management, 3, 1: 33-49.
[ix] de Waal, A., van Nierop, E. and Sloot, L. (2017), “Analysing supermarket performance with the high-performance organization framework”, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 45 Issue 1, pp. 57-70.
[x] de Waal, A. and Linders, S. (2008), “Hoe ziet de excellente sportaccommodatie eruit? [What does the excellent sports accommodation look like?], Sport & Strategy, 2, 4: 38-39”.
[xi] Waal, A.A. de and Meingast, A. (2011), “Determinant Factors for High Performance in the Temping Industry”, Problems and Perspectives in Management, 9, 4: 35-46.
[xii] de Waal, A.A. (2020), High Performance managerial Leadership, best ideas from around the world, Praeger, Santa Barbara.
[xiii] de Waal, A.A. (2012), What Makes a High Performance Organization, five validated factors of competitive advantage that apply worldwide, Global Professional Publishing Ltd., Hawkhurst.
[xiv] de Waal, A.A. (2018), “Achieving high performance at Zambia’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission”, Global Business and Organisational Excellence, Vol. 37 Issue 4, pp. 14-26.
[xv] de Waal, A. and Kraaijveld, E. (2022), “Learnings from a successful transformation to a high-performance organization: a longitudinal case study”, SN Business & Economics, Vol. 2, Article 177.
[xvi] de Waal, A. and Hanna, D. (2016), “HPO Model + HPO Framework = Organizational Improvement for a European Multinational”, Global Business & Organizational Excellence, Vol. 35 Issue 5, p30-43.
[xvii] de Waal, A.A. (2012), What Makes a High Performance Organization, five validated factors of competitive advantage that apply worldwide, Global Professional Publishing Ltd., Hawkhurst.
[xviii] de Waal, A., Kroes, G. and ten Have, L. (2023), Transforming a healthcare institute into a high performance organization: a longitudinal case study, forthcoming.
[xix] de Waal, A. de and Chachage, B. (2011), “Applicability of the high-performance organization framework at an East African university: the case of Iringa University College”, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 148-167.
[xx] de Waal, A.A. (2017), “A longitudinal study into the effectiveness of the HPO Framework: The case of a social care and rehabilitation organization”, Journal of Advances in Management Research, Vol. 14 Issue 3, pp.352-374.
[xxi] de Waal, A.A. (2020), High Performance managerial Leadership, best ideas from around the world, Praeger, Santa Barbara.
[xxii] de Waal, A.A. and Frijns, M. (2011), “Longitudinal research into factors of high performance: the follow-up case of Nabil Bank”, Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 4-19.
[xxiii] de Waal, A.A. and de Haas, J. (2018), “Longitudinal research into the effects of the high performance organization framework: the case of NEH the Philippines”, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 67 Issue 6, pp. 985-999; de Waal, A.A. and de Haas, J. (2019), “Creating high performance partnerships in Asia: the case of NEH the Philippines”, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 14 Issue.
[xxiv] de Waal, A., Mollema, E., Willemstein, E., Slagter, I., Schreurs, M., Hodes, M. and Boudewijn, P. (2023), Achieving high performance in healthcare institutions: a longitudinal perspective, British Academy of Management Conference, Brighton, September 2023
[xxv] de Waal, A. and Schreurs, M. (2017), “HPO geeft Red Bull vleugels” [HPO gives Red Bull wings], Holland Management Review, Vol. 34 No. 174, pp. 27-35.
[xxvi] de Waal, A.A. (2017), “Evaluating High Performance the Evidence-Based Way: The Case of the Swagelok Transformers”, SAGE Open, October-December, pp. 1-15.
[xxvii] de Waal, A. de, Mooijman, E. and Ferment, M. (2015), “From crisis to all-time high performance: using the HPO framework to improve customer relations at Ziggo”, Global Business & Organizational Excellence, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 6-18.