One of the most important elements in creating an excellent experience for your customers is actually your employees. It might not seem obvious at first, but it makes sense once you think about it—your employees are the ones providing the customer experience every day. If they’re unhappy, unmotivated, and disengaged, then their drive to solve problems and provide delightful experiences for your customers will be low to non-existent.
But how can you know how happy and engaged your employees are at work? This is a difficult concept to measure. And of course, it’s also a bad idea to assume that you already know the answer to that question, because you could be quite off the mark in your assumptions.
This is where the employee Net Promoter Score comes into play. It’s the best way to measure employee engagement and gather employee feedback so you can know for sure what the employee experience at your company is really like. And once you know your current state, you can find effective ways to make improvements and increase employee satisfaction—and watch your customer satisfaction rise as well.
What is employee NPS (eNPS)?
What is the employee Net Promoter Score, exactly? It’s a way of measuring how your employees feel about their experience working at your company. The eNPS survey is based on the Net Promoter Score system, created by Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld to measure customer loyalty and satisfaction. While NPS focuses on the customer experience, eNPS focuses on the employee experience. But both use the same kind of methodology to measure loyalty and satisfaction.
There are several benefits of the employee Net Promoter Score system. It’s a reliable and easily replicable measure of your employee experience, which is otherwise challenging to measure. It’s also a good measure of employee engagement levels, which is vital because highly engaged employees are more productive, loyal, and profitable. And it’s a simple system that begins with just one question, so it doesn’t take your employees long to offer their feedback even on the busiest of days.
How to measure employee NPS (eNPS)
The eNPS survey starts with one simple question: “On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] as a place to work?” This is the most classic form of the question, which most big companies who use the eNPS system ask about the employee experience.
Bain has also found that asking employees how likely they are to recommend your company’s products and services to their friends and colleagues is a good indicator of employee loyalty and engagement. That makes sense—if your employees don’t think your company is offering something they’d tell the people they know to purchase, there’s likely a whole host of issues that need to be fixed.
Whether you use one or both of these questions, how to calculate eNPS remains the same (and it’s also calculated using the same system as your NPS score). You send out a survey to your employees asking them to rate you on a scale from 0-10, and gather their answers. Anyone who rates their likelihood to recommend as a 9 or 10 is a Promoter, those who rate you a 7 or 8 are Passives, and anyone who responds with a 6 or below is a Detractor.
Next, you calculate your eNPS score by deducting your percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. For example, if you received survey responses from 1000 employees and had 200 Passives, 500 Detractors, and 300 Promoters, your overall eNPS score would be 20.
Scores vary widely between industries, but a good basic standard is that any eNPS score over 10 is acceptable. If your score is above 50, your company is doing an excellent job at creating a great employee experience. And if your score is negative, there’s work to be done.
It’s important to note that if you use both the eNPS and the NPS systems, your employee scores will likely be lower than your customer scores—sometimes significantly. That’s because employees tend to have very high standards for the place where they work and spend most of their time, while customers only interact with your brand on occasion. A discrepancy in these scores is normal for most businesses.
Each of the three kinds of employees—your Promoters, your Passives, and your Detractors—have a different but still strong impact on your company overall. And each provides a different kind of insight into your employee experience as well.
Promoters are very valuable employees in your company. They’re active advocates for your business and highly recommend your company as a place to work and/or purchase products and services. They consider your customer service excellent, your products high-quality, and find their work interesting and engaging. That’s great news!
The more employees you have in this category, the more successful your business will probably be. Your Promoters have many benefits to your business. They have high engagement rates typically, meaning they find the work they do has meaning, they enjoy the work, and they’re committed to producing at their highest level. They’re also loyal to your company and have high retention rates—they’re probably not shopping around for a new role at another company. And they are often open advocates for your business, telling their networks how great a place it is to work and how excellent your products and services are.
Your company can learn a lot from your Promoters.
They can offer you details about why they enjoy working at your company so much so you can use it in your recruiting efforts.
They can also offer examples of things that are working well in their team or department that can be replicated in other areas to increase engagement rates across the board.
And cultivating these employees as informal recruiters or advocates for your company can be powerful in attracting job candidates and growing your sales.
While Passives aren’t included in the calculation of your eNPS score, that doesn’t mean they’re not important. They’re employees who have rated their likelihood to recommend your business to their networks as a 7 or 8, which might seem quite high initially. After all, if they’re rating you an 8, they must be happy with some aspects of the company.
But in reality, these employees might not dislike their jobs and your business, but they don’t love it either.
They’re passively satisfied for now and mostly content with their work, but they’re also not strongly committed or loyal.
If something better comes along, they won’t hesitate to jump ship.
And while they aren’t discontent with their roles, they’re also not passionate about performing at their absolute best every day.
While your Passive employees aren’t as harmful as your Detractors, their employee experience still has a lot of room for improvement. Working to convert your Passives into Promoters can raise your eNPS score and your employee engagement levels, and it’s a much easier task than switching Detractors to Passives. You should focus on this group’s employee experience strongly if you want to improve your eNPS score in the most efficient way.
Detractors are your dissatisfied and unhappy employees. They’ve rated their likelihood to recommend your business to those they know as a 6 or below. And there’s a good chance they aren’t just unhappy, but vocal about their unhappiness to their colleagues and friends.
These employees hurt your eNPS score and also might be dragging down your employee engagement levels overall as well. No one enjoys working alongside or managing someone who actively dislikes their job. And their retention and turnover rates are probably the highest among all your employees as they’re eagerly looking for ways to leave.
But your Detractors, while they have plenty of negative impacts on your business, also have a lot of valuable information to tell you about your employee experience. They’re the ones who will tell you what factors are actively impairing and damaging your employee satisfaction and loyalty levels, and that honest feedback is very valuable. It can tell you what the biggest issues are in your organization, and that’s how you begin to fix problems. While it can be difficult to hear this kind of critical feedback, it’s also important to listen with an open mind so that you know what you need to do to get better.
It’s also vital to look at patterns in your Detractors.
Are you frequently hiring people who don’t have the skills or experience to do their jobs properly and so they become frustrated?
Are you hiring lots of people who just aren’t a cultural fit?
Or is something amiss in your company culture that needs to be fixed before you lose more employees?
These trends and data can tell you a lot.
Why eNPS matters
Measuring your eNPS score isn’t always an enjoyable exercise, especially if your scores are low. But it’s a worthwhile metric to add to your employee survey tools because it makes a difference to not only your employees, but your customers and your bottom line.
Companies with highly engaged workers grew their revenues 2.5 times more than companies with low levels of engagement, according to research by Bain. And your business will gain 10% higher customer loyalty and engagement levels when your employees are highly engaged. That’s why measuring employee engagement levels with eNPS is valuable.
Plus, eNPS has several unique benefits that make it a good option for businesses looking to improve their employee experience.
It’s easy to work with
Since eNPS is a single number score that is easily calculated, gathering and analyzing your data is simple compared to more elaborate surveys like Employee Opinion Surveys. You can also easily track trends over time and survey employees frequently, so you will know quickly whether your efforts at improvement are working.
It’s easy to understand
If you’re thinking about using the eNPS system, you’re probably also already using the customer Net Promoter Score as well. That means your stakeholders and executives, and possibly your employees, already have at least some understanding of NPS and what it means. And even if they don’t, it’s a simple concept to grasp so everyone can get on board quickly.
Adding the employee Net Promoter Score to your employee survey toolkit is not a big investment, especially if you’re already using the NPS survey system. It is a quick survey to create, simple to send, and easy to analyze your data once your replies are in. It’s especially simple when you use a survey tool like GetFeedback, where sending surveys and getting real-time, sophisticated data analysis is simple.
eNPS and other employee metrics
eNPS surveys have a high response rate because they’re so simple to respond to. With only one question asked, employees know it won’t take much time out of their day to reply. But this same simplicity is also a limitation because it doesn’t give you a complete picture of employee engagement levels and the overall employee experience. For example, employees might highly recommend your workplace to their friends because you offer great benefits, but still lack commitment and engagement because they don’t find their work interesting or meaningful.
Employee Net Promoter Score surveys should not be your only means of gathering employee feedback. There is still room for other kinds of surveys as well, such as an annual Employee Opinion Survey and pulse surveys. Those more detailed surveys can be combined with eNPS to give you deeper insights into the entire employee experience. And that’s how you create a strong Voice of the Employee feedback system.
You can also send eNPS surveys more frequently than EOS surveys or other, longer employee surveys as well. Since it’s so short, you can use it as a pulse survey as frequently as once per month to keep abreast of any current trends or arising issues in the employee experience. Your eNPS survey should also always include an optional second question that’s open-ended and asks employees the reason for their score so you can gain more insights if they choose to answer.
How to improve eNPS
Wondering how to use your eNPS data once your survey results are in? That’s the right question to be asking. Just sending out the survey and calculating your score aren’t enough to make a difference in your employee experience—you need to figure out what you’re doing right and where you’re going wrong, then develop a plan to make real and lasting improvements.
This is where you need to create your own eNPS action plan based on your results. Here are a few of the most effective strategies for improving your eNPS score and your employee experience as well.
Engage your leadership team
Change in any organization typically begins at the very top. Employees can ask for changes, but real and lasting change will only happen when leaders are on board. You might uncover issues from your eNPS survey that require shifts in how your company recruits new hires, trains and develops your employees, and how your workplace environment operates.
And these changes won’t happen unless your leadership is fully on board. Engaging them in the right way can ensure changes are made that lead to real improvements, and you should see the results in your eNPS score soon.
Think critically about company culture
Company culture is about more than just your mission statement. There are layers and layers to your workplace culture that might be hiding below the surface so they’re hard to recognize.
Expectations like working very long hours, being available during paid time off, promotions that go to the well-connected instead of the highly deserving, and other issues can cause serious dissatisfaction among your employees. You’ll need to recognize these issues and address them head on to create a healthier company culture where employees are engaged and happy.
Listen to employee opinions
One big mistake many companies make is sending out employee surveys like the eNPS, asking employees to fill them out, and then deciding that the feedback they receive is inaccurate or too difficult to act on. This happens because making real changes can be very challenging, and it’s also hard to change entrenched attitudes. But it’s still a serious error.
Employees eventually notice that none of the feedback they’ve passed on is actually causing any changes. They become discouraged and stop providing feedback, and your eNPS can actually go down because they don’t feel heard or acknowledged. And that’s a poor employee experience in itself. Instead, make a commitment to actively listen to feedback and make real changes where possible.
Say thank you
This is a simple step, but one that’s often overlooked—say thanks to your employees! Thank them for taking the time to fill out your eNPS survey and any other employee surveys you send them.
Feedback is a gift, and your employees took time out of their busy day to give it to you. A heartfelt thanks will leave them feeling appreciated and encourage them to participate in your next survey as well.
Using the employee Net Promoter Score system has many significant benefits for your employees, your business, and your customers as well. If you’re looking for a way to gather actionable feedback from customers and employees alike, check out GetFeedback’s sophisticated, holistic CX platform.