Capturing the right answers means asking the right questions. And to gauge how employees feel about their employer, the question is usually:
“How likely are you to recommend working here to a friend, family member, or colleague?”
It’s a query that forms the basis of most employee satisfaction surveys because it’s simple, clear, and measurable. And it’s the key metric used to generate that all-important Employer Net Promoter Score. Or, eNPS.
But what is the eNPS score, how can you measure it, what do you do with it, and—most importantly—why does it matter?
In this guide, we ask our own questions to learn more about the scoring system most organizations use to measure employee engagement. How can it work for you? Let’s find out.
What is eNPS score?
In 2001, business strategist Frederick Reichheld introduced the Net Promoter Score system (NPS). Designed to measure a company’s brand loyalty, the system asked customers just one question:
“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely would you be to recommend our [service/product/company] to friends or family?”
Then, using its fixed rating system and a predetermined formula (more on this soon), a single score was calculated. That score represented a company’s Net Promoter Score.
Simple, yet powerful, the concept was later adapted by employers for internal use. Its purpose? Like the NPS, the eNPS meaning was similar: it measured loyalty. But instead of customer loyalty, it measured the loyalty of employees to their employer.
And so, the eNPS, or employee Net Promoter Score, was born.
Same, but different
Like the NPS, the eNPS is designed to provide a real-time temperature check, which captures the in-the-moment sentiment of its respondents. But while the NPS directly targets specific customers and links historical data associated with their profile to their NPS score, the eNPS is anonymous. Keen to elicit an honest, open response without fear of any comeback, with an eNPS survey, there’s no link between a response and a known individual.
Despite this, NPS and eNPS scores often sync up. Yes, they focus on different groups. But a high NPS usually mirrors a high eNPS. Same goes for a low NPS.
The rating system
The eNPS works on a scale of zero to ten. Each employee chooses a number based on their response to the question: How likely are you to recommend our workplace to a friend or family member? The higher the number, the greater the level of satisfaction.
The ratings are then grouped into three categories:
- Promoters: A rating of 9 or 10
This group is very engaged and highly likely to recommend their organization to others.
- Passives or neutrals: A rating of 7 or 8
Despite being content, this group can be disengaged. Employees that fall into this category are unlikely to proactively put themselves forward as brand ambassadors.
- Detractors: A rating of 6 or below
Dissatisfied in some way, Detractors are unlikely to recommend their organization to others. They may even actively campaign against their employer.
Having tallied the number of responses in each group, the percentage of detractors is then subtracted from the percentage of promoters. The resulting figure represents the organization’s employer Net Promoter Score.
The eNPS score
Taken to extremes, an eNPS score can range from +100 (100% of responses fall in the Promoter category) to -100 (100% of responses fall in the Detractor category). But what’s considered a good score?
Well, according to SurveyMonkey, the average NPS score (which often mirrors the eNPS score) is +32. So anything around this figure could be considered good. Below +10 and there could be cause for concern. Above +80, and you’re doing really well.
Reasons to measure your eNPS
Those figures are interesting as a general guide. But their use is limited. An eNPS score captures a moment in time and not an ongoing trend. And it’s important to track how your own eNPS changes.
So, instead of benchmarking against other organizations, the most effective benchmark comes from within your organization. Which means regularly surveying your employees to check how happy they are. And then regularly calculating, analyzing, and responding to your eNPS.
That’s quite a commitment. So what do you get in return? Let’s look at some of the benefits.
It’s good for business
In a study conducted by Gallup, higher levels of employee engagement (the key focus of an eNPS survey) led to:
- 23% increase in profitability
- 18% increase in productivity
- 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement
- 81% lower absenteeism
- 18% reduced employee churn (in high turnover jobs), and
- 43% less turnover (in low turnover jobs).
Your brand becomes more attractive
Included in recruiting materials, a high eNPS score has the power to attract more credible and better-qualified talent to your organization. It also has an impact on public perception, eliciting higher levels of trust from potential future customers.
Referrals are go!
The advantages of employee referrals speak for themselves. We’re talking about a reduced time-to-hire, lower costs-per-hire, higher conversion and retention rates, and a better quality of candidates.
Linked directly to employee engagement, focus on your eNPS, and a healthy culture of referrals will follow.
One survey suits all
Those strategic advantages aside, there are a number of practical benefits of using eNPS’ pulse-style approach. These make it a viable option for every type and size of business, from small startups to enterprise organizations. Here are our top six:
- It’s easy
With just one question to answer, there’s only one final score to track and evaluate.
- It’s relatable
Satisfaction surveys follow a familiar format respondents will feel comfortable with.
- It’s accessible
Answering an eNPS survey takes seconds, resulting in a higher participation rate and a better ROI.
- It’s affordable
You can create and distribute an eNPS with minimal investment, no sophisticated tools or expensive software required.
- It’s consistent
Based on the NPS format, you can provide a similar experience and source similar metrics for your customers and employees.
- It’s sustainable
Thanks to its simplicity, you can monitor metrics over time to identify trends.
How to design and deliver an eNPS survey
An eNPS survey may be a simple concept, but it still takes thought and careful planning to get it right. Here’s what to consider when planning your own:
eNPS is primarily a single-question, quantitative survey. There’s beauty in this simplicity. But also something of the beast. You may know how your employees feel. But not why they feel that way.
Similarly, it doesn’t give much of a voice to the Passive contingent. To dig deeper, it’s worth adding at least one or two additional free-text, open-ended questions such as:
“Why did you choose your rating?”,
“What do you like about your job?”, and
“How can we improve?”.
Yes, qualitative data like this is harder to consolidate and analyze. But with the right tools or software, you can identify and track certain keywords (leadership, environment, development, and diversity, for example) and identify patterns. If you organize your results around this, you can then build targeted actions around areas that need improvement.
Creation and implementation
An eNPS survey can be designed using one of the many survey tools available. You’ll want your form to look appealing and include your branding. You’ll also need to be able to deploy your survey and collect, collate, and analyze the results.
So choose your tools with all of this in mind. There are all-in-one options available that will do everything for you. And, if you’re running a larger or fast-growing organization, this could be the best option. If you’re a smaller company with fewer employees, you may be able to manage the follow-up work yourselves.
How you deploy your eNPS survey depends on the culture and operating environment of your workplace. So ask yourself: What format will reach the majority of your employees in the most accessible and familiar way? The answer could be a pop-up survey on your intranet, a well-crafted email, a feature in a newsletter, or a link on your internal messaging system.
eNPS performs best as a standalone, pulse-type survey. This low-key, low-input approach is what eNPS is all about. And, not only does it produce a higher response rate it also supports the frequency of delivery required to make it a success.
To benchmark progress and track influencing factors (business initiatives, corporate events, organizational changes), a good eNPS should be regularly measured. So it needs to be easy to create, quick to implement, and ready to go whenever you need—no strings attached! But how often is “regularly”? The bare minimum is once a year. Twice a year is good, and so is quarterly.
That said, you don’t need to stop there. Why not factor it into employee reviews and exit interviews, too? And include it in a larger annual engagement or staff survey, if you run one. This gives you the chance to ask those additional, qualitative questions that add context and meaning.
Why are you carrying out eNPS surveys? Why so often? What will they achieve? Your employees will ask all of these questions and more. So you need to design and deliver an ongoing internal communications plan that provides the answers.
At the bare minimum, you should keep employees updated with the scores and let them know what you plan to do with the results. If you can, let them know the impact the changes are having, how it’s improving performance, and your plans for the future. If areas are performing well, let employees know!
Not perfect, but a good place to start
eNPS or employer Net Promoter Score has lots going for it. But it has its limitations. It provides a snapshot of perception. But, no real detail. And, without further investigation, it doesn’t offer enough detail to trigger informed change.
Similarly, its question has its limitations. An employee may recommend their company to someone else, but that recommendation won’t necessarily tally with their own personal feelings. Nor can one number accurately capture the complexity of your employees’ individual experiences.
That said, its simplicity and focus are what make it such a popular choice with employers and employees. It attracts a high response rate, winning over employees who are skeptical or have survey fatigue. And it captures lots of data with very little investment or input.
The key to the eNPS score success is to remember that employee satisfaction is a journey, not a destination. So take it for a ride. Run it regularly, ask additional open-ended questions when you need to, and keep communicating. That way, you’ll bring your employees along with you. And discover what you need to keep them by your side. After all, who wants to travel alone?
Improve your employee, partner and customer training with our enterprise-ready learning management system. Book a demo now and see why our diverse portfolio of customers consistently give us 5 stars (out of 5!)