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eNPS – Employee Net Promoter Score

6 min read
The eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) is often used to gauge how employees rate their employers. What is it, how do you measure it, and what are its pros and cons?

What is eNPS?

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a way of measuring how likely your employees are to recommend your organisation as a good place to work.

Learn more about Net Promoter Score (NPS)®

It asks one simple question: On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend [company name] as a place to work? 

If that question looks familiar, it’s because the eNPS has its roots in the classic customer satisfaction question: On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend [product or service] to your family and friends?

And therein lies the first problem with eNPS: employees’ needs, mindsets, goals and purpose are different from those of customers. Employees have more investment– financial and emotional – in their jobs than in companies they buy from, and hence higher expectations. A single question is insufficient to reveal all the subtleties of employee feedback.

Calculating eNPS

Responses to the eNPS 0-10 satisfaction scale are graded into three categories:

  • 9-10 – Promoters: The most satisfied employees, happy and motivated
  • 7-8 – Passives: These employees are content enough, but not passionate about the business
  • 0-6 – Detractors: Dissatisfied employees who wouldn’t recommend the company

To calculate your company eNPS, first remove the Passives. Subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.

%Promoters – %Detractors = eNPS.

Thus, a company with 60% Promoters and 15% Detractors gives a score of 45.

eNPS scores can, theoretically, range from +100 (every employee is a Promoter and you have the perfect company) to -100 (every employee is a Detractor and your company is in trouble), with anything above 0 being an acceptable score.

A good eNPS score is between 10 and 30; above 30 is excellent.

In the context of employee engagement, disregarding the Passives, as the classic eNPS does, is a missed opportunity to discover why some employees neither love nor loathe the company. These are employees who would like to see some change, or improvement, therefore it’s vital their valuable feedback is collected by a metric other than the eNPS.

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The benefits of the eNPS

We’ve already highlighted some flaws in the eNPS, but that’s not to say it’s without merit:

  • It’s an easy metric to work with: One question, one score, little room for error and simple to track over time.
  • It’s quick: you don’t need to think up questions, and it’s ideal as a pulse survey to gauge employee reaction.
  • Most people are familiar with it: Satisfaction surveys are part of our everyday lives, and most of us know what they are and how to answer them.
  • Less survey fatigue = higher participation rate: It takes barely any time to answer an eNPS question, so more employees are inclined to do it.
  • It’s cost-effective: You can distribute eNPS (and reminders) via your company’s preferred communication channel.
  • There’s a neat parallel with NPS: It can be appealing to have similar metrics for your customer and employee experience.

The limitations of eNPS

eNPS gives you the what, but it doesn’t give you the why. It’s like a smoke alarm – it can’t tell you where the fire is, but it’ll alert you to start looking.

  1. It doesn’t focus on the individual: eNPS asks someone if they’d recommend the company to someone else, not about their own personal experience and how they feel about working for your organisation.
  2. It lacks complexity: eNPS cannot tell you what is holding your employee experience back or how it could be improved. You need to explore a specific area with pulse surveys to get more detail for potential improvements.
  3. It gives no direction: eNPS is just a snapshot of your company perception. It can tell you roughly where you are, but not how you got there or how to move forward. To dig deeper, you’ll need to add other metrics.
  4. It doesn’t measure employee engagement: Some Promoters may highly recommend the company because they are disengaged and happy getting away with working the bare minimum.
  5. It reduces human experience to a number: employee emotions, behaviours, failures, successes and aspirations are too complex to be measured by a single score.

eNPS and employee engagement

Nate Dvorak of Gallup gives the most elegant sports analogy for the relationship between eNPS and employee engagement:

Fans wear your jersey and cheer from the stands. Players put in extra practice, score points and give every last ounce of energy to win. eNPS tells you who your fans are. Employee engagement tells you who your players are.

Using eNPS for employee engagement

eNPS is a useful starting point for measuring employee engagement.  For deeper insight, include one or two follow-up questions, ideally open text that can be analysed by intelligent survey software: e.g.

  1. On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us as an employer?
  2. Why did you give us this score? OR
  3. What do you like about your job? AND
  4. How can we improve?

Extra questions have the advantage not only of giving the Passives their say, but also to find out why Promoters like the company, and Detractors don’t.

Alternatives to eNPS

A more tailored survey is the eSAT, or employee satisfaction survey. It uses a Likert scale and asks a simple question:

How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your job? 

How satisfied are you with your job?

You can customise the eSAT question to gauge satisfaction with different situations.

Best of all is an always-on, integrated employee experience (EX) program with built-in eNPS that gathers continuous feedback,  identifies problems before they spread and gives a more holistic view of your employees’ experience.

eBook: The Essential Guide to Employee Experience Surveys