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Employee Experience

What is employee net promoter score (eNPS) and how can it be used to improve employee engagement?

What is eNPS? How does it work? Is it an accurate way to measure how your employees feel about your company, and how can it be used to boost employee engagement?

What is eNPS?

eNPS – aka employee Net Promoter Score, or Employee NPS – is a way of measuring how your employees feel about your company.

It’s based on Net Promoter Score, which is a measurement of customer loyalty that was pioneered by Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld to measure customer experience.

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How do you calculate eNPS?

An eNPS survey asks one simple question:

‘On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this company’s products and services to others?’

Some companies like to be more specific and ask would you recommend it to ‘a friend, colleague, or family member’.

If they answer 9-10, they’re a promoter; if they answer 0-6 they’re a detractor.

You calculate employee net promoter scores by deducting % of detractors from your % of promoters. You ignore those who score 7-8, otherwise known as your ‘passives’.

This 11-point scale aligns to the classic customer NPS, and also offers more variance by looking at:

  • Promoters: Your most positive, motivated, and satisfied people
  • Passives: These employees are neutral. They're generally content but not fully committed to the organization
  • Detractors: This segment of your people won't recommend your business and are unhappy and disengaged to various degrees

If you only use 5 points, it changes the distribution and categorization of respondents and can inflate results artificially at both ends.

Why are some critical of eNPS?

Organizational psychologists often criticize eNPS as being too simplistic. They say it fails to capture the full complexity of an employee’s experience and needs other factors to be taken into consideration.

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. But it is a good place to start.

What are the benefits of eNPS?

Although eNPS won’t give you a complete picture of how your employees feel, it’s a great first question. Using eNPS alongside other key metrics, you can create a more holistic view of employee experience.

Overall, eNPS is very simple and quick to measure. 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.

eNPS is also easy to get started and set up because it’s just one question.

To get the most out of eNPS, ask your promoters follow-up questions, such as why they like you, and ask your detractors why they don’t. This kind of survey feedback gives you richer insight into what is driving employee engagement, especially when analyzed alongside other metrics.

How can eNPS be used to increase engagement?

eNPS alone won’t help to increase engagement. But showing that you’re listening and acting on employee feedback will. It helps to boost morale by showing employees that you care what they think.

And knowing their voice is heard helps them feel included and respected, especially when they see the organization take action to close experience gaps.

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How to use eNPS effectively

1. Find the right solution

Although the results should always be anonymous, using the right eNPS solution can help filter survey findings and reveal differences based on department, location, and demographic.

2. Use eNPS survey software as part of a wider program

This should include more depth on employee engagement and employee satisfaction to help you understand why certain employees are promoters vs detractors and take action to turn employees into ambassadors.

3. Run alongside a customer NPS

Often these two metrics are aligned. If you’re people are happy they tend to be more engaged at work, and more willing to go the extra mile to help your customers.

4. Understand how you can improve eNPS and brand loyalty

Run an employee NPS survey regularly to gauge whether you’re achieving continuous improvement.

5. Be transparent

Share the good and the bad. Sharing survey results with your employees and inviting their recommendations for next steps helps them feel trusted and involved in the improvement process.

6. Take action

Once you can pinpoint where the experience gaps lie, take action to close those gaps. Make sure to dedicate resources to implement change.

When it comes to employee engagement, one of the worse things you can do as an organization is to ask for feedback and then fail to take action from the results of that feedback. It makes your people distrust the organization and the process and they’re unlikely to participate in future surveys.

Overall, eNPS is a great first step to start asking for feedback from your people. Used as part of a wider program on employee engagement and employee satisfaction, it can be a valuable tool in the process of identifying and closing employee experience gaps.

Free eBook: How to improve employee experience by empowering your managers