Chances are your company is already using the NPS (Net Promoter Score) to assess customer satisfaction and loyalty. But have you thought about using the same tool to measure employee satisfaction? You should.
The NPS is a simple metric for scoring and tracking customer satisfaction by asking customers one question: “How likely are you to recommend our product [or service, or company] to a friend or colleague?” A similar question can be used to assess how likely employees are to recommend their employer, giving an indication of overall staff engagement and loyalty.
Why use the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
Engaged employees are good for business. They’re more productive, they boost the engagement and satisfaction of those around them, and they deliver a better customer experience. It’s therefore important to understand how engaged your employees really are.
This is often done using costly, time-consuming (and universally disliked) big employee surveys. The eNPS, however, gives you a solid basis for understanding employee engagement and loyalty in a much simpler, more cost-effective way.
How does it work?
Like the NPS, eNPS involves asking employees one simple question: something like “How likely would you be to recommend us as an employer?” or “How likely would you be to refer a friend or contact to work for us?”
Employees then respond by choosing a number from 0–10, with 0 being not at all likely to recommend the company, and 10 being extremely likely. Employees are then categorised according to the scores they gave:
To calculate your eNPS score, you simply subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters (ignoring the neutral Passives). So, if 20% of your respondents are Promoters and 20% are Detractors, your eNPS score is actually 0.
That seems low!
If you’re at all familiar with customer NPS scores, your eNPS will seem low in comparison. That’s because employees are likely to give a harsher score than customers – employees are typically emotionally invested in their job, so they hold their employer to a higher standard than the companies they buy products or services from.
eNPS scores can range anywhere between -100 (in which case, you’ve got serious problems) and 100. In practice, anything above 0 is okay. An eNPS score of 10–30 is good, and anything above that is excellent.
What are the potential pitfalls?
As you can probably tell, the eNPS is a beautifully simple tool that’s extremely easy (and affordable) to implement. You can see why more and more employers are using it! By tracking your eNPS over time, you can identify trends in staff engagement, which can be especially helpful if you’ve introduced changes in the business and want to see how they might be affecting staff engagement.
But eNPS isn’t perfect. As with any opinion survey, there’s a danger that staff might not answer truthfully – especially if they think there might be ramifications for giving negative feedback. That’s why it’s so important to ensure responses are anonymous and make that clear to employees. Even then, some employees will think it’s easier, or nicer, to tell the company what they think it wants to hear. Bottom line: on its own, your eNPS might not be an accurate reflection of employee engagement.
In addition, eNPS is only truly helpful if you use it correctly. One of the biggest mistakes I see employers make is to only ask employees the question once a year, which makes it difficult to spot meaningful trends. It’s far better to either ask all your employees every two or three months, or ask a smaller sample of the workforce on a monthly basis.
Worse still, some companies don’t get the most out of eNPS because they don’t share the data with managers across the company. And when managers aren’t aware of potential issues, they aren’t able to do anything about it.
But, for me, the biggest issue with eNPS is that it doesn’t tell you the why. Sure, it gives you a nice, clear number that can be easily interpreted and benchmarked – which obviously has some value. But it doesn’t tell you why your employees gave the scores they gave. It doesn’t tell you what they like about working for the company, and what they don’t like. Without that knowledge, you’re powerless to effect positive change.
Making your eNPS survey more effective
So, to dig into the underlying issues, you need to ask your employees some additional questions. But we don’t want this to end up like a bloated, generic employee survey – thus destroying what’s so great about eNPS. Luckily, you only need to expand the survey ever so slightly to get better insights.
I always recommend my clients expand their eNPS survey to three questions:
Or you could simplify it even further and ask just two questions:
Either way, you get the main advantage of eNPS (a simple score that can be tracked over time) alongside free-form answers that can deliver valuable insights. Asking these additional questions can really help you understand the drivers behind your score, and pinpoint actions for the future. It tells you what employees really value about the company, and helps you identify areas for improvement.
Importantly, the key to getting the very most out of eNPS is to act on what the data tells you, and continue to monitor your progress to see how your actions improve your score.
In conclusion, eNPS is a fantastic starting point for monitoring employee engagement. But with a little additional questioning, you can get so much more from it. By adding an extra question or two, you can glean powerful insights that will help you boost employee engagement, loyalty and retention in the future.
Where to go from here
If you would like to know more about measuring HR effectiveness, check out my articles on:
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Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.