What is Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS)? The Ultimate Guide
Used by organizations such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Apple, Netflix, or Verizon, employee net promoter score (eNPS) is a barometer for measuring employee engagement. However, is it fully equipped to gauge the overall engagement of your people?
"What is ENPS?" "How do you calculate it?" "Why should your organization regularly measure ENPS?" "What is a good ENPS score?" "How can it be used as an employee engagement tool, and how do you improve ENPS survey participation?"
If you have been searching for answers to these questions and more, you're just in time to read a comprehensive guide to eNPS (sort of an "everything you need to know about eNPS").
📖 What does employee net promoter score (eNPS) stand for?
Pioneered by Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld to measure customer experience, Employee Net Promoter Score, or eNPS, is a scoring system to help employers gauge their employees' satisfaction and loyalty to their organizations.
eNPS is an effective scoring system that helps companies monitor employee engagement levels and measure the impact of their people and culture strategies.
The eNPS score shows how workers genuinely feel about your organization by asking one central question,
"How likely are you to recommend us as an employer of choice to your family, friends, and network?"
Apple was a pioneer in using eNPS. The tech giant has sent recurrent eNPS pulse surveys for many years now to ascertain the likelihood of being recommended as a place to work by its employees.
In simpler terms, the employee net promoter score is the difference between your happiest and least happy employees.
➗ How do you calculate eNPS?
Like NPS, the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) uses a two-question survey method. The first question asks employees to rate, on a scale from zero to ten, how likely they'd recommend the organization they work for as a place to work or as an employer of choice.
The second question, which is an open-ended one, digs into the reasons behind the employee's ratings. After the eNPS survey is completed, the system produces a score based on the responses from the first question by sorting the ratings into three categories: promoters (with ratings of 9-10), passives, or neutrals ( with ratings of 7-8), and detractors (with ratings of 6 and below).
You calculate your eNPS scores by subtracting the % of detractors from your % of promoters while ignoring employees who are "passives (those whose ratings are between 7-8)."
This 11-point scale aligns with the values of NPS and provides insights by examining:
Promoters: They are your happiest, most positive, satisfied, engaged, and motivated employees. They are your biggest brand ambassadors and advocates.
Passives: This category of employees is neutral. They are neither the happiest nor the most minor sad. Unlike the promoters, they are typically content, but they aren't fully committed to the organization.
Detractors: Their ratings clearly show disengagement and dissatisfaction with your organization and won't recommend you as an employer of choice to their friends and families; neither would they recommend you to potential clients or business partners.
eNPS = % Promoters – % Detractors
ENPS calculation examples
Imagine your company has 60 employees.
20 of them are promoters, 20 are passives, and the remaining 20 are detractors.
Passive scores are not considered in employee net promoter surveys; however, the number of employees should show the total number of people working at your organization – promoters, detractors, and passives inclusively.
Deduct the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. This leaves you with 0% — meaning that your eNPS score is 0.
Let's say your company has 370 employees, and your most recent eNPS survey shows that your organization has 100 promoters (27%), 190 passives (51.4%), and 80 detractors (21.6%).
As mentioned above, passives are ignored in the following calculation stage.
Here’s the math:
Promoters – Detractors (27% - 21.6%) = 5.4%
This means your eNPS result is +5.4
Summarily, organizations should have more promoters than detractors, as a higher eNPS score indicates more employee engagement and satisfaction.
🏢 What is a good eNPS score?
The eNPS score of an organization may range from -100 to 100. Since every industry has a benchmark for a good eNPS score, each company must research the benchmark allocated to their sector to gauge the success or failure of their eNPS survey results.
As mentioned above, while eNPS scores vary in different industries, a rule of the thumb is that 30 is considered a good score, and any score above 50 is deemed excellent. So, if your company's first eNPS score was an 8.5, and your recent eNPS score increases to 30, it means you are doing well.
It's important to note that a low eNPS doesn't translate to low engagement levels. However, if your eNPS score increases regularly, your company is doing well and should keep at it. Likewise, if your eNPS score keeps decreasing, it's a signal for your HR team to identify the problems and map out improvement plans.
📈 5 Benefits of eNPS
Why is employee net promoter score (eNPS) important, you might ask? While it won't give you a complete picture of how your employees feel about your company, it's a step in the right direction of knowing what your employees are thinking and feeling about your company and identifying areas of improvement.
1. eNPS is very simple and quick to measure
The major benefit of employee net promoter score is its ease of use and ability to measure and get results quickly. In addition, managers don't have to research extensively or spend much time cooking up the right survey questions, and accompanying answers since employees only have to rate on a scale of 0-10.
2. eNPS is an easy metric to use
Another advantage is that eNPS can be represented numerically, making it easier to compare and reference. It's also being used by many people and makes it easy to get stakeholder buy-in, especially for companies conducting their first eNPS survey. Finally, eNPS can create a comprehensive view of employee experience when used alongside other key metrics.
Employers should also track their eNPS progression, especially when the organization changes, or to monitor job market and employee engagement trends. For example, the current trend for most employees is the ability to work remotely, especially from any part of the world. Therefore, a company with or looking to hire in-office employees should track how their eNPS progresses to determine if they want the same option (remote work) or a hybrid arrangement.
3. eNPS is straightforward
Unlike some employee engagement tools that workers might not be familiar with, eNPS is easy to explain and "sell" to employees. After all, You (the company) "just" want to know what your employees think about you and if they would recommend your organization as a place to work.
Another added benefit is that it removes survey fatigue. The feedback gotten from the eNPS survey tells a lot about employee engagement but requires minimal (action/tasks) from employees.
4. eNPS is affordable
Determining your employee's engagement levels shouldn't make you break an arm and a leg. This is why many organizations use eNPS because of its cost-effectiveness. Since all it takes is one email to launch, eNPS is easy to measure (financially and time-wise).
Additionally, its simplicity allows managers to check in with their employees regularly; hence, giving you continuous data on whether or not you're improving as an organization.
5. eNPS records more participation than surveys
Most employees hear surveys, and emotions like anxiety, stress, tiredness, and even nerves set in. The traditional survey method is extensive, frustrating, and time-consuming and causes survey fatigue. Thankfully, eNPS is the opposite!
With eNPS, employees need only to answer a question or two (How likely are you to recommend us as a great place of work to your family and friends AND/OR What's the reason behind your rating), which won't take much of their time.
Imagine your employees opening their emails and getting an eNPS survey with a message, "This won't take more than five minutes of your time." They say, "Okay, great!" And answer the questions in the blink of an eye.
⛔ What are the limitations of eNPS?
Organizational psychologists categorize eNPS as too basic. They say its simplistic nature fails to capture the entirety of an employee's experience and engagement and requires other factors to be considered.
While eNPS can measure employee engagement success, its importance is only seen when compared with a previous score or with another organization's results. Therefore, it can't tell you much as a stand-alone but can be very effective when used alongside other employee engagement tools.
Additionally, if your organization holds these tests too regularly, your employees and even the HR department could begin to take them casually. Finally, the eNPS survey doesn't reason for the low score. It only shows a problem but does nothing to offer solutions. This may make it difficult for the People and HR team to solve employee challenges.
🏆 How can eNPS be used to increase employee engagement?
eNPS alone cannot increase employee engagement.
However, showing that you are listening, identifying areas of improvement, and implementing employee feedback can do the magic.
Not only will it boost employee morale because it shows employees that you care about what they think, but it also tells them that their voice is heard. It makes them feel respected and included, especially when they see those areas of improvement constantly implemented.
But, measuring engagement is not enough.
We believe that a modern organization should actively create an environment to help their people to perform at their best. To create a modern workplace that employees love.
➡️ Learn how to go from engagement to employee enablement.
🏢 Benchmark: How do you compare to other companies?
As mentioned above, eNPS scores vary by industry. Some industries may never get more than an eNPS score of 20-25, and that's okay. And for enterprises with higher eNPS scores, that's okay too. However, nothing stops you from using your competitor's eNPS scores as a standard for measuring your employee engagement levels. This is also called "relative benchmarking"— benchmarking your company's score to the current industry standard.
The downfall of eNPS benchmarking
Benchmarking allows companies to know where they stand when compared to their competitors. The general notion is that if you're at the top, it means you are doing incredibly well. However, is this true? Are there other factors that measure employee engagement levels when using eNPS, or does everything boil down to the numbers?
1. Not every organization is the same
While benchmarking can be beneficial, it has its downsides, with the biggest as the actual comparison of organizations. For example, organizations in the same industry do not operate the same way.
That's like comparing a chaise lounge to a recliner just because they are both chairs or comparing strawberries to blueberries because they're both berries. There's a distinction!
2. Based on subjective factors
Also, benchmarking eNPS relies on the number of employees at the company, location of the company, the eNPS survey itself, the frequencies of these surveys, employee retention rates, etc. Thanks to the fluidity of these factors, it's difficult to pinpoint where you stand in your industry. But, most importantly, how do you improve if you are genuinely falling behind?
3. Makes it difficult to focus on important factors
Do you continue to obsess with your competitor's scores, or do you look inwards (within your organization) and focus on making the workplace better for your people? Constantly benchmarking your eNPS scores can make an organization focus on its competitors and numbers instead of its employees.
In addition, it can make companies easily forget the real reason behind conducting the actual eNPS survey: to understand where they stand in their employees' hearts and improve in areas where necessary.
When this happens, the eNPS survey loses its value quickly. External benchmarking gives you a rough idea of where you stand, but the results are inconclusive.
Therefore, we recommend that organizations improve themselves and make their employees more engaged and happy before comparing themselves to others. Rather than focusing solely on external benchmarking, give internal benchmarking a try. With internal benchmarking, it's easier to understand why you're succeeding or failing and what you can keep doing to get better.
❓ What questions should your eNPS surveys include?
The traditional eNPS survey consists of just one question in a bid to inform the company about employee engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty:
"On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our company to family and friends?"
What if we told you that your eNPS survey questions could be more than this eNPS question everyone asks?
Below are two question types you can additionally use in your next eNPS survey;
Product/service based eNPS questions
While the usual eNPS question ends at asking employees if they would recommend the company as a place to work, product/service-based eNPS questions dig a little bit deeper. These questions can help employers understand why promoters and detractors identify themselves as who they are and could get to the root of employee problems.
And while we recommend this eNPS survey question, please ask straightforward questions that can be answered quickly and without much research – in order not to displace the simplicity of eNPS.
An example of a question you could ask is, "On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to your friends and family?" This type of question shifts the attention from the company to a product or service. It can also be used when companies launch a new product and gain honest feedback from their employees.
After all, if your employees do not believe strongly in your product or use it, they make no sense to recommend it to their inner circles. In this instance, your employees are vital internal stakeholders, and the feedback from this eNPS survey question can help an organization improve its offerings.
Personalized questions for each employee type
eNPS surveys can be personalized when used alongside an employee engagement tool. While the responses received by the employer are anonymous, the survey tool can send out personalized questions to each employee type. Using personalized eNPS surveys, get specific answers from the respondents.
If you're planning to follow up after getting responses, ensure that the follow-up questions are also personalized to promoters, detractors, and passives, respectively.
- Follow-up question for promoters: "What is the best thing you like about the company?"
- Follow-up question for detractors: "What is the one thing we can do differently to improve your experience at the company?"
- Follow-up question for passives: "What is the one reason that holds you back from rating your employee experience at the company higher?"
Other questions to include in your eNPS surveys
The eNPS methodology now includes other aspects related to employee engagement, such as employees' loyalty, motivation, employer brand, employer value proposition, trust in their company's products or services, and overall satisfaction. Some of these questions include:
Employee Motivation: What was the primary reason for the score you gave?
Loyalty: If you were offered the same job but in another company, how likely you will stay in your current company?
Employer Brand: What can we do better to make the organization a great place to work?
Employee Satisfaction: Would anything hold you back from referring friends and family to the company?
Follow-up questions you shouldn't use:
- Are you happy with our new employee wellbeing program? (generates YES/NO answers)
- Do you see yourself working here in five years? (also generates YES/NO answers)
- What would be your reaction if we used new feedback processes/systems? (shows that you're focused on the optics and not interested in addressing the root cause of employee disengagement)
Pro-tips for conducting eNPS surveys:
- Keep it simple. Avoid asking questions that require lengthy answers.
- Avoid asking accusatory questions. The tone of your eNPS survey questions must always remain neutral.
- Avoid YES/NO questions or overly specific questions.
- Find a balance for the frequency of your eNPS surveys. If the survey occurs frequently, it begins to lose value. If it takes too long, it can become outdated or quickly forgotten.
🛠 How to put eNPS results into action
1. Use the data collected from the eNPS surveys to continually identify areas of improvement and do not forget to implement them.
2. Invest the time to read and understand the needs of your employees thoroughly.
3. Understand that your employees have various personalities and needs. What works for one person doesn't work for other employees in the company. Tailor your employees' personal goals, interests, and needs to them. A one-size-fits-all approach is a quick recipe for employee dissatisfaction.
4. Be transparent about your eNPS survey results. Sharing the good and the bad with your employees and asking for their suggestions helps them feel included and involved in the improvement process.
5. Don't just stop improving employee engagement, especially when there is a drop in the eNPS scores. Sometimes, a low eNPS score could be routine work, difficulties with carrying out responsibilities, or productivity issues. This is where employee enablement comes in.
Engaged employees are 59% less likely to seek out a new position within the next 12 months, while 33% of those who are looking for new work attribute the need for new challenges as their reason for leaving.
Employee enablement is a shift from telling your employees, "Hey, here's what you need to do good work" to "Hey, can I ask what you need to do your best work?" With this in mind, you can customize your eNPS surveys and pulse surveys to find answers to questions such as:
- What tools do you need to optimize your work?
- What's the duration needed to complete specific tasks?
- What are your learning needs?
- What does their work environment need to look like to increase productivity and maximize performance?
- What tools do they already have, and how are they using them?
- What tools or resources do they not have to increase their autonomy, boost their efforts, and help them put their best foot forward?
6. Conduct eNPS surveys alongside customer NPS. If your employees are happy and satisfied, they're likely more engaged at work. Therefore, engaged employees are usually willing to go the extra mile to help your customers and provide excellent service to them.
7. Using the right eNPS solution can help your organization filter survey results and reveal employee differences based on variables such as location, demographic, and department.
⏱ How often should you measure eNPS?
Measuring eNPS results could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, twice yearly, or annually. However, you should understand your business to determine the right frequency for conducting eNPS surveys. Factors to keep in mind when choosing the right frequency for your business include:
- How frequently you can create the survey, analyze, and react to the data garnered.
- The level of responsiveness from your respondents.
Zavvy's recommended eNPS survey frequency
Monthly surveys can capture time-sensitive changes and reactions in your company, ranging from new HR policies to new product launches, CEO announcements, management hires, or work conditions. While quarterly surveys are great, it can be difficult to capture real data. For example, did the eNPS rise because a woman was appointed as the company's CEO? Did the eNPS score reduce because the CEO published a press statement that certain employees didn't react well to?
Did the eNPS score rise because the company implemented a four-day work week system or the new remote work policy? Unfortunately, it can be challenging to determine the reason behind the rise or drop in eNPS scores when surveys are done less frequently.
The goal is to remind employees about eNPS surveys and constantly reiterate that it is an avenue to share their thoughts on their job satisfaction. Employees will take eNPS surveys seriously if you reinforce it as important to the business (after all, employee satisfaction is!).
📊 5 Tips for improving eNPS survey participation
Use eNPS survey software as part of a broader employee engagement program
The best eNPS results are obtained when paired with other employee engagement tools and programs. This would help you understand why certain employees are promoters, and some are detractors, and propel you to take steps in converting all of your employees into brand ambassadors.
Be honest about your eNPS results
Being transparent about your eNPS survey results (whether good or bad) makes your employees trust you and feel invested, rather than when you make it secretive and known to a few select people. Be courageous in acknowledging negative eNPS scores and working with your employees to improve low eNPS scores by investing in employee engagement.
Follow up with a pulse survey
Use pulse surveys if your most recent eNPS score shows a rise or decrease. Sometimes, more comprehensive or in-depth surveys are keys to unlocking the natural causes of employee disengagement and dissatisfaction and how to improve your eNPS ratings.
Communicate your reactions to the eNPS results
Communicating about your eNPS results is a show of transparency and one your employees would appreciate. Tell your employees about your reaction to the company's eNPS results and your intention towards them. A company's culture improves when there's effective communication and when employees know that their feedback impacts the company and its leadership. Doing this is a sure-fire way to improve your employees' interest in eNPS surveys.
Once you can ascertain the experience gaps, dedicate resources to implement change and close those gaps. As an organization, one of the worst things you could do to your employees is to ask for feedback and fail to take action. Not only does it make your people feel disrespected and unheard, but it also breeds distrust and makes them wary of participating in future surveys.
⚙️ Measure and improve eNPS, with Zavvy
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