Employees today expect leadership to ask for their feedback and input. More importantly?  They expect leaders to listen and take action. Leaders should be transparent in their response to feedback and use it to inform policies and procedures, culture and organizational initiatives and the employee experience.

Annual employee engagement studies, while important, are extensive, require careful planning and can take months to evaluate. These studies are effective at tracking high-level trends but don’t allow for a quick response in an always-evolving organization. 

Organizations need to supplement these annual studies with nimble, efficient and actionable tools. One of the most powerful culture metrics for routinely evaluating organizational culture is the employee Net Promoter Score® (eNPS). 

Using eNPS to track employee engagement

eNPS is an extension of the popular customer NPS metric. It’s a simple, one-question survey that asks employees, “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it that you would recommend this company as a place to work?” To understand what’s driving employees’ responses (positively or negatively), we also recommend including a follow-up question, such as “Explain why you chose the score you did.” Then, be ready to act on the input you receive.

Learn about organizational culture assessment methods. Download the chart.

eNPS is a powerful culture metric used to gauge employee engagement in real-time. It’s a direct reflection of employee engagement and organizational culture health overall. A strong eNPS score means employees are more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work. Employees who recommend their organization to others are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, loyal, and committed to and invested in their work.

Recent research from Gallup found a connection between strong employee engagement and positive business results. These results include a 23% increase in profitability, 18% increase in productivity, 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement, and reduced turnover in both high and low turnover organizations. It’s pretty simple. When employees are engaged, they help businesses thrive.

How to track eNPS

Organizations should measure eNPS at least twice a year, but ideally every quarter. The quantitative nature of eNPS allows organizations to use the score as a benchmark against their progress. The questions can easily be added to an existing, ongoing survey, or sent as a standalone survey. Since eNPS only requires employees to respond to one or two questions, it’s a great counter to survey fatigue. It’s quick and easy for employees to respond. 

Incorporating eNPS questions into employee reviews and exit interviews is another option. Former employees can have a significant impact on the market’s perception of what it’s like to work for the organization — both positively and negatively. Using eNPS to spot trends in exit interviews enables the organization to act quickly to correct issues impacting retention and brand reputation.

In addition to tracking eNPS regularly, leadership should communicate with employees about current scores. They can explain why eNPS is essential to the organization and what they intend to do with the results. 

Transparent communication with employees helps establish trust between employees and leadership. Employees who feel heard and understood will be more likely to provide honest feedback. Transparency and active listening are vital to shaping strong organizational culture.

What the score means

An  organization’s eNPS score can range from -100 to +100. According to SurveyMonkey’s global benchmark data of more than 150,000 organizations, the average NPS score is +32. We often advise clients that anything between +10-30 is considered a good score (+50 is excellent and +80 or higher is best-in-class). However, the most important thing is to benchmark against historical scores and industry averages, if available. 

The eNPS culture metric divides respondents into three groups. It asks: “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it that you would recommend this company as a place to work? Respondents who answer 0-6 are detractors, 7-8 are passives and 9-10 are promoters. A simple formula calculates the organization’s eNPS score by considering the number of promoters and detractors. 

Adding a follow-up question allows organizations to identify what is driving employee responses and determine any themes among detractors and promoters. For example, you might find that detractors often mention the lack of transparency from leadership. Identifying themes like this helps the organization prioritize initiatives that support continuous culture improvement. 

Learn about organizational culture assessment methods. Download the chart.

Prioritize initiatives with eNPS

The biggest pitfall when measuring culture with eNPS or any survey tool is requesting employee input and then doing nothing with the feedback. Employees will lose trust in the organization and be less likely to provide honest feedback in the future if organizations collect feedback but don’t do anything with it.

Before distributing eNPS surveys, determine how you will activate the results by answering these questions: 

  • Who needs to see the results? 
  • Who needs to be involved in discussions about changes to enact in response to the scores?
  • How will priorities be established?
  • Which employees can you engage to brainstorm ideas on how to improve?
  • How will leadership communicate the findings and actions taken back to employees?

Having a documented plan will help the organization prioritize the steps they need to take after collecting feedback.

Using the eNPS as a culture metric is an effective and simple way to gauge strengths and improvement opportunities in real time. It provides helpful guidance to improve the employee experience continually, positively influencing recruitment, retention and engagement on behalf of the business.

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