Employees today expect leadership to ask for their feedback and input. They also expect leaders to be transparent in their response to feedback and use it to inform policies and procedures, workplace initiatives and 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 workplace. Organizations need to supplement these annual studies with nimble, efficient and actionable tools. One of the most powerful tools for routinely measuring workplace 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 short, simple survey that asks employees, “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?” To understand what’s driving employees’ responses, we also recommend including a follow-up question, such as “Explain why you chose the score you did.”
eNPS is powerful at gauging employee engagement, an essential element of workplace culture, in real-time. A strong eNPS score means employees are more likely to recommend their employer as a place to work. Employees who are compelled to recommend their workplace likely are more satisfied with their jobs, more loyal, and more committed to and invested in their work.
Recent research from Gallup found that when employees are more engaged, organizations experience better customer engagement, along with higher productivity, better retention and 21% higher profitability. eNPS effectively gauges employee engagement, which directly impacts the organization’s bottom line.
How to track eNPS
Organizations should measure eNPS at least twice a year, but ideally every quarter. 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 an effective counter to survey fatigue. It’s quick and easy for employees to respond.
The quantitative nature of eNPS allows organizations to use the score as a benchmark against their progress. When measuring culture with eNPS, organizations should strive for strong scores and continuous improvement. It’s a direct reflection of employee engagement and workplace culture health overall.
Organizations should also consider incorporating eNPS questions into employee reviews and exit interviews. Former employees can significantly alter the market’s perception of what it’s like to work for the organization. Using eNPS to spot trends in exit interviews enables the organization to act quickly to correct issues impacting retention.
In addition to tracking eNPS regularly, leadership should communicate with employees about current scores, why eNPS is essential to the organization and what they intend to do with the results. Transparent communication with employees will help establish trust between employees and leadership. Employees will feel heard and understood and, as a result, will be more likely to provide honest feedback. Collaboration, transparency and active listening are vital to shaping modern workplace culture.
What the score means
A number between -100 and 100 is used to express the organization’s eNPS score. A study from QuestionPro Workforce found that the average eNPS score is 14. We often advise clients that anything between 10-30 is considered a good score (50 is excellent), but the most important thing is to benchmark against historical scores and industry averages, if available.
The eNPS methodology divides respondents into three groups, depending on how they respond to the first question. 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 enables 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 workplace culture improvement.
Prioritize initiatives with eNPS
The biggest pitfall when measuring culture with eNPS is surveying employees and then doing nothing with the results. Only half of the employees surveyed in a recent study feel their organization considers their feedback when making business decisions. When organizations collect employee feedback but don’t do anything with it, employees lose trust in the organization and will be less likely to provide feedback in the future.
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.
Measuring culture with eNPS 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.
About Ayme Zemke, SVP, Client Services
Ayme Zemke leads Beehive Client Service. She has nearly twenty-four years of strategic communication experience at Twin Cities PR agencies. Ayme has led many client organizations through culture transformations with an employee-focused strategy that empowers growth from the inside out. She has the unique gift of seeing and understanding people’s needs and making meaningful connections that build trust. But that’s just part of what makes her a master of client service. Ayme’s clients and teams quickly learn that her insights get to the heart of what really matters to move businesses forward with purpose.