Employee NPS has become a popular measure for employee engagement — but how useful is it and is a single measure of engagement the best way to improve the employee experience?

What is eNPS?

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a measure of how likely your staff members are to recommend your company as a place to work. It comes from the NPS measure more typically associated with customer satisfaction surveys and it asks employees how likely they are to ‘promote’ you on a scale from 1 to 10.

According to their answers, they’re then classified as ‘Promoters’ ‘Neutral’ or ‘Detractors’.

The eNPS score is then calculated by taking the percentage of detractors and subtracting it from the percentage of promoters to give you an eNPS score from 1-100.

Is eNPS the right metric for employee engagement?

We often get asked what the best single measure of employee engagement is, and while HR practitioners love eNPS because it’s a simple, standardized measure, it also has its detractors.

Organizational psychologists often criticize it as overly simplistic, failing to capture the complexity of an employee’s experience.

Here we look at some of the features of the eNPS, and their pros and cons for your business.

1. A lack of complexity

eNPS is very simple and quick to measure – you’re asking just one question. It can be represented numerically, making it easy to reference and compare. It’s also familiar to many people, and can be presented to stakeholders without too much introduction. Many professionals have a ‘feel’ for the NPS scale and know what constitutes a good or average NPS score.

That said, although eNPS can be used to measure success, it’s only really meaningful when compared to a previous score or to another organization’s results. On its own, it can’t tell you much.

eNPS is imprecise by nature. It’s a holistic measure, a snapshot that gives an at-a-glance status check of how your organization is perceived and how happy people are to work there. Its brevity is part of its appeal, but if you want to dive deeper, you’ll need to use a range of other methods.

2. Not a measure of engagement

You know your Promoters recommend you as a place to work, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily meaningfully engaged in their jobs. It’s even possible that unmotivated employees might be Promoters because the expectation of engagement is so low that they’re able to ‘zone out’ while at work and focus on other things.

3. A lack of direction

A common criticism is that eNPS gives you no indication of what is holding your employee experience back and how it could be improved. It can tell you roughly where you are, but not how you got there or how to move forward.

A low eNPS score does have value as a first indicator that there are fixes to be made. Think of it like a smoke alarm – it can’t tell you where the fire is, but it’ll certainly alert you to start looking. To generate improvements, you need to be able to deep dive into a specific area with a pulse survey to get more detail on what can be improved.

4. A target-driven mindset

eNPS is numerical, which is great for comparing and standardizing. But translating complex human experiences into numbers is something to be approached with caution. It can also encourage a ‘score-chasing’ where scores can be ‘gamed’ rather than encouraging the kind of behaviors that improve engagement.

Consider a range of metrics for employee experience

While eNPS has its pros and cons, it’s better to consider a range of measures when looking at engagement rather than a single all-encompassing metric

An accurate measure of engagement is made up of 3 main areas:

  • Organizational commitment
  • Job involvement
  • Satisfaction

Measuring each one of these and aggregating those scores will give you a far better picture of engagement than any one of them on their own.

If you are looking to increase engagement, check out how our employee engagement software can help

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