Factors That Contribute To The Employee Net Promoter Score

By Brittany Head, PhD - December 04, 2019

In a previous article, we discussed the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), what it is, and how it is derived. In brief, the eNPS is a question about referral behavior. It asks employees, “How likely are you to recommend the company as a good place to work?” and asks respondents to rate the likelihood on a 0 - 10 scale.

This question is sometimes used as a one-item measure of engagement in place of asking about the four engagement indicators: intent to stay, pride in company, referral behavior, and intrinsic motivation. While it does not provide the level of detail revealed by those four indicators, the eNPS score is sometimes used as a proxy for employee engagement.

While the eNPS can function as a one-item measure of engagement, it does not always give a completely accurate picture. In this article, we’ll look at the factors that influence the employee net promoter score, and why it is not always an equivalent measure in place of the indicators of engagement.

Increasing your eNPS score hinges on improving the employee experience. Learn how to build a better experience with our free guide, The Employee Experience Playbook.

Factors That Contribute To The Employee Net Promoter Score

The elements of the experience that influence the indicators of engagement also are reflected in the eNPS:

  • resources
  • manager relationship
  • work/life balance
  • communication
  • diversity and inclusion
  • opportunities for growth and development.

An employee who perceives deficits in any of these areas is less likely to recommend the company to friends or family as a good place to work, which can allow the eNPS to serve as a proxy for engagement indicators.

But this is not always true.

In some cases there can be a disconnect—employees who are generally satisfied with their work experience may perceive that, while it works for them, it might not be the best fit for everyone. In my experience, I’ve seen some companies that have a lot of inherent strengths—the organization is high-performing and the employee population is very engaged—but when we get to the eNPS score, it’s lower than the engagement indicators would predict. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it could be that employees who assign a lower eNPS score recognize that the organization is a unique place to work that would not appeal to everyone.

Where the other metrics for engagement are high, raising the eNPS score is a matter of reviewing the employee value proposition: Is it broadly attractive to the general pool of talent? For example, there may be a perception that the organization pays well but it’s hard to survive and won’t be a good fit for everyone.

This can often be addressed with greater visibility of programs and initiatives that employees may not be aware of. For example, highlighting cases of employees who have worked their way up in the organization or calling attention to mentorship or pipeline programs can demonstrate that there are growth opportunities, and signal that the organization supports committed employees. Providing employees with this type of information may make it easier for them to recommend the company as a good place to work.

Elements Of The Employee Experience That Drive eNPS Scores

As noted above, the employee net promoter score is sometimes used as an analogue of employee engagement. We know the factors that drive engagement: feeling rewarded and appreciated, seeing future opportunity for growth in the company, and the perception that the employee is part of a purpose-driven organization. These pillars of the employee experience also factor in to eNPS scores. Whatever is driving engagement will likely drive eNPS ratings as well.

As with the engagement indicators, broader surveys to collect feedback about the important parts of the experience will reveal the barriers to engagement that can impact the eNPS. What is the workplace like? Do employees feel empowered and supported in what they do to execute the work? Do they feel motivated? Survey questions will gauge employees’ level of enthusiasm and reveal what is helping or hindering their excitement about the job—and their willingness to recommend the company as a good place to work.

Linking The eNPS & The Employee NPS

Many organizations are interested in not only measuring the eNPS, but also employees’ rankings of the NPS—the Net Promoter Score from which the eNPS derives. In other words, these companies are interested in not only how likely their employees are to recommend the company as a good place to work, but also how likely employees are to recommend the company’s products or services to friends, family, and colleagues, using the same 0 to 10 scale.

The value in measuring employees’ NPS ratings is that it creates a fuller picture, and can reveal whether employees really understand and buy in to what the company is all about. Do they understand that the company is a disruptor that has built a better mousetrap, or that it’s a mom-and-pop shop whose value proposition rests on going above and beyond for the customer? Employee NPS scores can show how well employees understand the brand’s unique value proposition (UVP).

While eNPS and NPS scores tend to have a high correlation, a disconnect between scores on the two measures can reveal underlying issues. Either employees have pride in being associated with the brand but their work experience does not match external perceptions of the company, or employees lack understanding of what the brand is really all about.

In the first case, improving the experience and giving job applicants a clear picture of the work experience inside the company can help close the gap. If the issue instead is that employees don’t have a clear understanding of the company’s UVP, then communication and education about the company’s core values will help employees understand it and become brand ambassadors. In general, very strong brands tend to also have strong eNPS scores, because employees have a clear understanding of what the company represents and how they fit into the picture.

While the eNPS is not the end-all measure of employee engagement, it is a helpful piece of information that can reveal issues that might otherwise be difficult to see. (Tweet this!) As such, it is another useful metric to include on surveys—particularly if the organization is trying to build a talent-referral network.

How To Improve eNPS in Your Organization

At Perceptyx, helping companies identify and overcome barriers to productivity and profitability is our goal. With custom surveys paired to our people analytics platform and expertise in all aspects of survey design, strategy, and communication, we can help you measure your eNPS and identify the barriers to engagement in your organization. Get in touch and let us show you how.

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