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The Employee Net Promoter Score is something you’ve probably heard about. A lot. But is NPS really relevant to your organization? To your people strategy? To employee engagement? Is it possible you’re already using it without even knowingRead on to learn more about NPS and its place in employee engagement from a source entrenched in the HR field.  

What is the Employee Net Promoter Score

The Net “Promoter” Score – as it relates to employees and engagement – is an incredibly simple yet effective method for assessing employee sentiment.  

It’s a measurement that consists of one question: “Would you recommend our organization to others?”   

Employees answer this question by using the Likert Scale rating system.   

With the 10-point Likert Scale as an example: 1 implies being very unlikely to recommend the organization and 10 indicates being highly likely.   

The goal of the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey question is to gather honest employee feedback, and then to look at responses in a statistical way so that you can see the overall level of employee satisfaction in your organization. And take action accordingly. 

How Do You Interpret Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)? 

Interpreting employee answers is surprisingly straightforward. Feedback falls into three categories. 

  • Promoters are employees who give an answer of 9 or 10. These people are your top ambassadors. They’re loyal to your organization and the products and services on offer. They’ll sing the praises of both. In an ideal world, employee ambassadors would make up the bulk of your workforce. They’re your most connected people. So you really want to pay attention to any movement in your employee Net Promoter Score.    

An academic paper published by the European Journal of Economics and Business Studies offers more detail. Its author Maya Yaneva writes: In the Promoter category are the employees that are loyal enthusiasts, who are committed to their company and urge their friends to do the same. They can be the best advocates and can influence many other potential employees to come their way. They are more productive, more likely to stay with their company for at least a year, less likely to have accidents on the job, and less likely to steal from their company. These employees have most of their performance-related workplace needs met. 

  • Passives are people who answer in the neutral range. On a 10-point Likert scale that equates to an answer of 7 or 8. These are employees who would neither recommend or advise against your organization

The same scholarly paper cited above describes Passive employees as being satisfied but less enthusiastic; [they] can be easily wooed by the competition. They are [a] company’s greatest uncertainty, as they may be productive but they are not connected to their company. They are more likely to miss workdays and more likely to leave their company. These employees have some of their performance-related workplace needs met, but have many needs unmet.

  • Detractors are employees who answer at the low end of the Likert scale, giving a score of 6 or less. These are people who wouldn’t recommend your company and might even advise against it. This score represents your employee engagement danger zone. 

Yaneva’s paper exploring Employee Satisfaction vs. Employee Engagement vs. Employee NPS describes Detractors as the employees that can be [a] company’s worst critic and can influence many other current and potential employees. They are typically unhappy employees trapped in a bad relationship [with their employer] because of convenience, lack of alternatives, inertia, or other reasons. They are physically present but psychologically absent. They are unhappy with their work situation and insist on sharing that unhappiness with their colleagues. These employees have most of their performance-related workplace needs unmet. 

employee net promoter score infographic

Keep a close eye on Passive and Detractor scores. These responses represent opportunities for your organization and leaders to shift sentiment toward higher levels of employee engagement

For peak levels of employee engagement, use a survey provider with robust reporting to see which areas of the business are most in need. Download WorkTango’s employee engagement info sheet here for more information on our methodology and technology.



Three Quick Steps to Calculate Employee NPS 

Your employee Net Promoter Score can be calculated in three quick steps. 

  1. Issue a survey that includes the eNPS question. 
  2. Once results are in, sort answers into the appropriate Promoter, Passive or Detractor category. 
  3. Subtract the total number of “Detractors” from the total number of “Promoters”.  

The number you’re left with is your eNPS. 

Tracking these scores over time will tell you if your employee engagement is headed in the right direction. 

Build eNPS Into Your Employee Engagement and Pulse Surveys

The employee Net Promoter Score is an intentional positive step in the progression of employee satisfaction and organizational success. 

Building eNPS into your employee surveys draws out what you need to know.  And if frequent pulse surveys are used, when you need to know it. 

You can introduce the eNPS question into your company-wide employee engagement survey. Tracking results over time will let you see how employee sentiment is progressing in aggregate, across your entire workforce.  

If scores are static or on the decline, you may want to dig deeper. Layering or correlating your eNPS with other employee engagement survey questions will help pull back the curtain to reveal opportunities for improvement. 

WorkTango’s robust platform makes it easy to weave eNPS into your existing surveys or help you start from scratch. Check it out here.

You can also build the employee Net Promoter Score query into more frequent pulse surveys. This lets you see shifts as they happen which in turn, gives you the ability to flag and address problems quickly.  

Employee responses can be viewed by department or location, by teams of more than five employees (to ensure confidentiality), by demographics such as age or gender, by job or tenure or any combination of these and other factors.

employee net promoter score - employees collaborating

Why use eNPS?

Well for starters, an engaged employee is personally and professionally invested in their organization.  Scores of studies report how organizations with high levels of employee engagement have higher retention rates and lower absenteeism, display more creativity and innovation, efficiency and productivity, and have healthier financial and operational success than organizations with lower engagement levels. 

As  HR Bartender has stated: “We’ve heard it before – HR pros need to speak the language of business. Net Promoter Score is the language of business. So, let’s use it to talk about engagement in a business context.”  

And there are many reasons why. 

Benefits of Using Employee Net Promoter Score

  1. It’s quick and easy. One question is all it takes. It almost seems too simple, and yet, it’s effective. It doesn’t require a long list of survey questions. One question gets to the heart. And the heart is all you need. 
  2. It’s effective for growth. Building a community of passionate, engaged employees is a sure-fire plan to developing positive customer relationships, which is what leads to raving customer fans. And this is what will allow your company to grow and succeed. 
  3. It reinforces, empowers and engages more employees. When a shift or gap in your employee Net Promoter Score surfaces and intentional follow-up actions occur, employees see that you’re listening and feel valued. 
  4. It helps you understand and strengthen employee voice. When you make your employees’ happiness a priority, you learn about who they are and what they need. This helps you serve them better, which in turn helps them to better serve your customers.  
  5. It also helps to reinforce your brand as an excellent employer. Engaged employees form a strong bond with their organization. “Promoters” tend to bring more talent to the table through referrals, even after they’ve retired or moved to another organization. And because people naturally trust the recommendations of those they know, the referrals from employee ambassadors will bring you greater recruiting opportunities. 

Where NPS originated and How eNPS is Different 

In December 2003, Frederick F. Reichheld revolutionized customer relations by writing  “One Number You Need to Grow” for the Harvard Business Review. His submission introduced the Net Promoter Score, a concept that triggered a global focus on customer loyalty.  

More and more organizations are learning that when we treat our employees as well as we treat our customers and use technology and principles that have been successful in the consumer world, that’s when we can start seeing amazing results.  

At WorkTango, we’ve been using the employee Net Promoter Score metric for our customers for years, and it offers a great level of insight and measurement of employee sentimentin a simple way. We include eNPS in our weekly employee pulse surveys. 

Schedule a demo today to talk to an expert and see what your organization’s eNPS looks like.

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At the end of the day, happy employees are great; loyal employees are greateremployee ambassadors are unstoppable.