Case Study #1: How ooba homeloans reduced employee absenteeism by 50% in their Claims team

Thato Matlala (HR Business Partner at ooba homeloans) shares her insights into their company’s struggles, solutions and growth.
Case Study #1: How ooba homeloans reduced employee absenteeism by 50% in their Claims team

One of our longest-standing customers (and one of our biggest SMB’s using Hi5), ooba homeloans, has seen some growth in terms of their employee performance, company culture, and of course in the marketplace 🤑

Our Customer Success team has been working very closely with ooba’s Human Resources Business Partner, Thato Matlala, to really understand the organisation’s pain points and help them find ways to grow their culture.

Since 2018, ooba’s teams have been using Hi5 as a tool for employee recognition tied to the values of their company. Through their newly redesigned Performance Management ecosystem, which was in pilot phase, employees were rewarded based on the recognition they had received from co-workers.

The use of Hi5 during the pilot phase led to an organisation-wide adoption of Hi5. ooba has an extremely driven sales team and call centre, so what’s really great is that employees are not only recognised for the numbers they bring, but for living and behaving in a way that is aligned to the ooba values of Knowledge, FUN, Partnership and Challenge.

🎥 Check out ooba’s customer testimonial video here.

Since their implementation of Hi5 integrated during and post pilot, ooba has seen a reduction in absenteeism of nearly 50% in their Claims team. High absenteeism is oftentimes a symptom of low employee engagement — a study done in the US shows that when employee engagement is high, the number of absentee days usually decreases by 30%.

According to these calculations and using average employment stats in South Africa (average of 10 absent days and salary of R257,184 p/a), ooba could see a return on investment (ROI) of more than R1,000,000 ($60 290,69) per year because of their reduction in employee absenteeism!

ooba could see a return on investment (ROI) of more than R1,000,000 ($60 290,69) per year because of their reduction in employee absenteeism!

About ooba

ooba homeloans is South Africa’s leading home loan experts and are disrupting the South African home ownership market. They offer home loan comparisons and prequalifications, as well as insurance, to help more South Africans become home owners.

“Nearly 90% of bond applications submitted to the banks with an ooba homeloans prequalification are approved.” — Private Property

Here’s a glimpse into their company culture:

Below is the text from the case study interview we did with Thato. Enjoy and let us know your feedback!

1️⃣ What’s your name, and what do you do? What does your role entail?

I’m Thato Matlala. I am part of a team that looks after People and Culture. My role involves partnering with managers and business to support them in achieving their people and business goals.

2️⃣ What company do you work for and what does your company do?

At ooba (, we’re proudly contributing to the growth of our country and the economy by transforming the South African homeownership market. Not only do we empower people by ‘opening doors’ to a secure financial asset for them and their families, but we also help them protect their assets through our competitive range of insurance products.

We do this by being a pioneer and the leading brand in home loans origination for South Africa.

We’re a growing and innovative business offering meaningful work with rewarding careers. At ooba, we believe in empowering our people by the introduction of innovative technology enablers and progressive people practices.

3️⃣ How many people work at your company?

There are currently 397 full-time employees.

4️⃣ How long have you been using Hi5?

We started using Hi5 on 01 August 2018.

5️⃣ What were the challenges you were facing before you started using Hi5?

There were three separate but interlinked issues:

1. We wanted to create a culture of recognition amongst our people and to improve our Recognition Program.

2. We needed a platform that our people could easily access to recognise their colleagues or managers in real-time.

3. Our Performance Management is tightly linked to how we live our company values, so we needed a platform that would enable us to weave our values into our daily activities.

6️⃣ How has using Hi5 in the company helped you to meet these challenges?

Our success in implementing Hi5 is because we have always regarded Hi5 as a strategic partner and we continue to walk this journey with them.

7️⃣ Can you see a noticeable difference in your team / culture?

We piloted our new Performance Management strategy with Hi5 as one of the strategic partners. The Pilot was successful and we were able to improve not only performance in the teams, we saw an improvement in relationships within and across the various teams.

8️⃣ Do you have any stats showing the ROI of implementing Hi5 at your company?

In the first year of piloting our Performance Management strategy with the teams, we had two promotions and recorded a 50% reduction in absence for one team and a 32% reduction in absence in another team. We continue to see improvements amongst the different touch points of our employee journey.

9️⃣ Would you recommend Hi5 to other companies?

Yes. I would definitely recommend it. If Hi5 is implemented as part of a larger ecosystem or strategy, it is definitely a platform to keep!

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