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employee net promoter score

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS): What You Need To Know

By now, most adherents of people analytics are familiar with Employee Net Promoter Score or eNPS. eNPS is a measure of employee advocacy derived from employee answers to the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend [your organization] as a place to work?”

A storied descendant of a customer-directed NPS measure, eNPS has now been at the heart of HR metrics for decades. Just as the original NPS helps inform a company’s unique value proposition and brand positioning to build connections to customers, the eNPS can help organizations shape their employee value proposition and improve their employer brand.

Research shows that employee advocacy and related measures of employee engagement are related to important organizational outcomes such as employee attrition, productivity, and shareholder return. Organizations that use both the NPS and eNPS usually see a positive correlation between the two measures, validating Apple’s insight that employees who are promoters are more likely to influence customers to become promoters as well. This synergistic relationship between the eNPS and the NPS also supports the service-profit chain model: a positive employee experience helps generate a positive customer experience.

Understanding Employee Net Promoter Score Methodology

What’s unique about both the NPS and the eNPS is the finer grain of the measure, which is a product of the methodology. Unlike the standard five-point scale of “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree,” NPS and eNPS measure responses are on an 11-point scale, where zero equals “would not consider recommending” and 10 equals “would absolutely recommend.” Responses are then converted through the process detailed below to yield a score on a 201-point scale.

The eNPS is a summary measure. It can help organizational leaders quickly gauge the overall level of advocacy expressed by employees. It sorts individuals into three groups:

  • Promoters: These are the most engaged and enthusiastic employees. They recommend the organization as a great place to work — hands down, no (or at least very few!) questions asked. More than that, they’re happy to share their opinions with anyone interested in listening.

  • Passives: These employees are generally satisfied too. Like Promoters, they would recommend the organization as a good place to work. However, their enthusiasm is somewhat diminished.

  • Detractors: These employees are generally disengaged. This group is composed of those who hold the least favorable perceptions of an organization. Unlike the Passives, they are more likely to become actively disengaged and negatively influence those with whom they interact.

the eNPS sorts people into three groups

How to Calculate eNPS

eNPS measures responses to the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend [your organization] as a place to work?” on an 11-point scale from zero to ten. A zero equals “would not consider recommending” and a ten equals “would absolutely recommend.”

Those who respond with nines and tens are Promoters, while sevens and eights are Passives, and zeroes to sixes are Detractors.

To compute the eNPS score, just subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. 

eNPS = % of Promoters - % Detractors

eNPS ranges from -100 (all Detractors)  to 100 ( all Promoters). An equal distribution of Promoters and Detractors would yield a score of zero. 

What Is a "Good" Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)?

There seems to be general agreement on what makes a good eNPS. According to O.C. Tanner, for example, an eNPS in the range from 10 to 30 is generally considered good. A score above 50 is excellent. Above 70? Stratospheric!

The Perceptyx benchmark database, which collects Employee Experience (EX) data from more than 15 million employees in global organizations, reports that the global eNPS benchmark rose to 14.9 in 2022 — up from 13.8 in 2021. This aligns with other reports that place the average eNPS at 14 across all companies collecting employee data that measure eNPS.

Such a number may at first appear low. However, it’s important to remember that any positive number is good news. A zero indicates an even split between enthusiastic and dissatisfied employees. 

The eNPS score is the difference between the proportion of Promoters and Detractors. All organizations, especially large ones, are bound to have plenty of both. These numbers indicate that a healthy majority of Perceptyx customers’ employee responses are Promoters. 

eNPS scores vary widely across industries. 

eNPS variation across industries

Variation is also apparent when comparing country-level scores or those representing different job classifications. Finally, variation is most apparent within organizations at the division or function level.

One last point to consider is that eNPS scores tend to be more favorable than customer-oriented NPS scores. There are many possible reasons for this. Whereas customers may return to certain organizations for goods and services, employees return each day for work. This may represent a greater investment in the organizations on the part of employees compared to customers and therefore encourage more positive responses among them. 

Employee Net Promoter Score: Pros and Cons

There are several benefits of measuring eNPS:

  • Relationship to the Employee Experience (EX): Perhaps the primary advantage of eNPS is that it is a valid, single-item proxy for employee engagement, which can provide insight into the broader employee experience.
  • Speed to results: Because eNPS data can be collected and analyzed quickly, discussion and action can begin sooner. This allows for faster identification of potential problems among employee populations.
  • Familiarity: Many executives and managers are familiar with the customer-oriented NPS. This can make the eNPS easier to introduce and add to scorecards.
  • Simplicity: As a single item, it is easy to track over time. Additionally, an organization can collect meaningful data with only a small investment of time on the part of potential respondents. 

Simple is a strength — until it’s not. There are a few drawbacks to using the eNPS. These include:

  • Incomplete methodology: A common criticism of the eNPS methodology is that it leaves out what it considers Passive employees. “Passives”  typically represent a large portion of overall headcount, and most “passive” employees tend to rate elements of their EX quite positively. In this way, the eNPS might present an overly stark rendering of employee perceptions as a whole.
  • Performs better in large groups: Group size is relevant to most statistics. However, eNPS is a summary measure. Important differences, which would have otherwise been detected between groups using more robust measures of employee engagement or EX, can easily be overlooked given the eNPS calculation.
  • Limited actionability: The eNPS focuses on measurement at the expense of action. It can indicate how an organization is performing with respect to employee advocacy, but it doesn’t help to address the reasons why or provide insight into what to do next. For this, more questions must be asked as follow-ups. 

Now That You Know Your eNPS — What’s Next?

Knowing your Employee Net Promoter Score is an important first step toward improving employee satisfaction and engagement. Here's how you can proceed once you have that information:

Engage Detractors, but Focus on Promoters

    • Focus on Promoters: While engaging Detractors, don't lose focus on your Promoters. They are your biggest assets and can influence the work culture positively. Encourage them to take on leadership roles and mentor other employees. They can share their positive experiences and inspire others to contribute effectively.

    • Collect feedback from Detractors: Collect qualitative feedback to better understand Detractors' concerns and pain points. When feasible, utilize methods such as one-on-one meetings, anonymous suggestion boxes, and follow-up surveys for comprehensive insights to address their concerns. 

    • Monitor changes: Keep track of changes in eNPS score among Detractors — especially after implementing the remedial actions. But remember, the best way to improve and maintain a high eNPS is to gain more Promoters. Focus on what works.
Maintain a Regular Cadence of Feedback and Action

    • Plan regular surveys: Plan for no less than two administrations in sequence to track the effectiveness of your actions. This will help maintain consistency in measuring eNPS.

    • Communicate results and actions: Regularly communicate the results of your surveys and the actions you're taking to address any concerns. This open communication builds trust and shows your commitment to improvement.

    • Evaluate trends over time: Monitor changes in the eNPS over time. This will help identify long-term trends, indicating the effectiveness of your strategies.
Make eNPS a Part of Your Ongoing Employee Listening Strategy

    • Include eNPS in overall strategy: Incorporate eNPS into your holistic employee listening strategy. This ensures the feedback is used in driving various initiatives, not just gauging overall satisfaction.

    • Cross-Reference with other metrics: Use eNPS in conjunction with other metrics like employee turnover rate, productivity, customer satisfaction, and indicators drawn from other employee-listening efforts. This will provide a more complete view of organizational health.

    • Act on employee feedback: Use the information gathered from your listening strategy to inform change management initiatives. The feedback received can guide the creation of new policies and practices that enhance employee satisfaction and engagement.

By using eNPS effectively, you can create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and heard. Employee voice is a leading indicator of many change management initiatives and also informs the success of such endeavors. All measurements should become a part of an integrated and holistic listening strategy.

Want to Know More About Your Company's eNPS?

The Perceptyx People Insights Platform is optimized to accurately process and report eNPS data. Our consultants can help your company incorporate eNPS data into an employee life cycle survey program with an analytics engine that allows you to collect data easily and report on it instantly. Get in touch and let us show you how eNPS can help your organization see the way forward more clearly.

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