The productivity, profitability, and growth of a business are highly dependent on the performance and engagement of its employees. When an employee is passionate and engaged in their work, they produce better results and create a positive impact on the company. At the same time, when an employee is disengaged and uninterested, it not only limits their productivity but creates a negative impact on the company by hindering those around them. So, understanding these engagement levels of your employees in a measurable form can be incredibly beneficial for your business’s growth. It can allow you to understand insights about your employees’ experience and where your company fits into that, and what they can do to become even better, more engaged, and happier in their role. But how can you do that? An Employee Net Promoter Score, or eNPS, is a great tool that is widely used for this exact purpose. 

What is an Employee Net Promoter Score(eNPS)?

The employee Net Promoter Score(eNPS) is a measure of how likely employees are to recommend your company as a place to work. This simple survey is highly praised as a very useful tool for companies because of its ease of use while being very compact and measurable. The eNPS was built off of the Net Promoter Score(NPS) system which was developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix Systems in 2003 to determine the engagement and loyalty of their customers. 

This survey was designed to achieve this goal by asking 2 simple questions. The first being, “On a scale from 0-10, how likely is it that you would recommend our product/service to a friend or colleague?”, followed by an open-ended follow-up question as to why the specific score was given. The employee Net Promoter Score is based on this test but slightly changed to be catered to measure employee loyalty towards a company. The question asked with eNPS is, “On a scale from 0-10 how likely are you to recommend our organization as a place to work to your family or friends?” with the same follow-up question. This question not only shows you how your company is being represented to the outside world by employees but also how your employees view your company and speak on their engagement to their role. 


How Employee Net Promoter Score’s are Categorized

In the form of a quick survey, employees are asked about the likelihood that they would recommend the organization as a place of work to family or friends. They are given a scale from 0-10 to rate how likely they are to recommend employment at that organization. 0, being they would not recommend the organization at all and may even have negative input and 10 being that they highly recommend the organization and have positive things to say. The scores are then divided into 3 categories: Detractors, Passives, and Promoters.

1. Detractors(0-6) ⇒ These employees are especially dissatisfied with the organization and spread negative word of mouth.

An employee is categorized as a detractor when they give a score between 0 and 6. This means that these employees are not likely to recommend your organization as a place to work and may even have negative things to say about it. These are employees who are disengaged in their role in the organization and don’t feel connected to their work or to the company. This causes them to be less productive, less efficient, and will not produce as great results. They are more detached from their work and care less about the success of their work or the company. This type of morale also has a negative impact on an organization’s environment as a whole and can hinder other employees’ growth and productivity as well. 

To combat the negative effects of this morale, the first thing to do is find out why the respondent is feeling this way. Opening up communication and following up on them, asking questions, and making an effort to help them is very important, and can show these employees that you care about them and their feedback. Encourage honesty and provide support and care as you make an effort to get to the bottom of it. If given any feedback, it should be taken into consideration and understood by the organization. Many times, there are common problems that cause this disengagement in employees, and it is the executive’s or management’s responsibility to further advance any actions needed to be taken to create a better environment and workplace for that employee.

The cost of employing someone who is disengaged in their work is very expensive both financially and in terms of morale and productivity. Poor performance and negative morale are contagious and soon enough you can have more detractors than you originally had. Employees like this can even cost the company thousands of dollars financially as well.  So, doing what you can to increase engagement and satisfaction in detractors is a beneficial step in many ways; it will not only increase employee engagement and productivity, but it can also help your company’s reputation in the outside world and increase your employee Net Promoter Score.

2. Passives(7-8) These employees are neutral, neither emotionally invested nor disengaged.

Employees who responded with a score of 7 or 8 are considered passive employees. These employees are not necessarily disengaged but also are not going to promote your organization positively to friends or family, or even at all. They are very neutral in terms of their feeling towards the company and most likely cruisers; not performing above and beyond and have little motivation to do so, but also not performing poorly. They are generally satisfied with the organization.

For neutral employees like this, it is important to understand how to help them become more engaged and guide them in taking the next steps to become a promoter. Passives don’t add or subtract the employee Net Promoter Score because they are neutral, so you may think you don’t need to worry about them. However, this is not the case and is a common mistake that many organizations can make. These employees have the potential to either become a promoter with some effort or can decline and go the other direction. Oftentimes if a passive employee is neglected simply because they don’t affect the eNPS score, they will eventually fall and become detractors. 

It can be helpful to ask questions such as “what is holding you back from referring us to friends and family?” to understand why they are in the neutral position that they are in. You can learn what is stopping them from being more engaged and becoming a promoter and even what can help get them more engaged. Taking the time to focus on these passive employees to help them grow can help them feel more connected and engaged and guide them in taking steps to become a promoter, and being more satisfied with their experience at the organization overall.

3. Promotor(9-10) These employees are very loyal to the organization and spread positive word of mouth.

People who provide a score of 9 or 10 are considered promoters. These are people who would speak highly of your organization to friends and family. They are likely highly motivated by their role and their environment and produce successful results. These people not only spread positive words about your organization to the outside world but also have a positive influence inside the workplace by boosting morale and setting a good example of high achievement and engagement. These employees are also more likely to be loyal employees and stay with an organization longer than detractors.

While employers may think that there’s no need to pay extra attention to promoters because they are already happy, that isn’t true. It’s important to use feedback from promoters to know what it is specifically that makes them refer your organization to others. This can help you understand more clearly where you are doing well and what areas you may need to improve on. Even if they are satisfied now, neglecting these employees because they are already at a good place can lead them to become disengaged and fall to becoming a more passive employee.


How is the Employee Net Promoter Score Calculated?

The employee Net Promoter Score is calculated the same as the Net Promoter Score calculations, which is calculated as a whole number, not a percentage. It is a very standardized system that makes it easy to understand your numbers. It is calculated by subtracting the total scores of the detractors from the total scores of the promoters, divided by the total number of respondents, and multiplied by 100. The scale of scores for the eNPS test ranges from -100 to 100. 

For example, Company A sent out the eNPS survey to its employees and received 500 responses:

  • 215 employees responded in the 0-6 range, being Detractors
  • 60 employees responded in the 7-8 range, being Passives
  • 225 employees responded in the 9-10 range, being Promoters

When calculated, using the eNPS formula: 

  • [(225-215)/500] * 100 = 10. The eNPS for this organization is 10.

Again, with a range of -100 to 100, any score above 0 is considered “good” but there is still lots of area for improvement. A score of 50 and above is considered “excellent” and a score above 70 is considered “world-class”. Evidently, Company A from the example above has a “good” score but definitely can improve in creating an environment for employees to go above and beyond. To understand more about the employee Net Promoter Score, check out this video from Motivosity on Youtube. 


Employee Net Promoter Score Pros and Cons

The employer Net Promoter Score is a great way to measure employee satisfaction and is a useful and simple tool to track a regular frequency over time. However, it is just one simple metric and doesn’t consider many other factors in its scoring. After all, it is asking two simple questions. A test like this has its attractions, but its simplicity is also the reason why it is lacking in certain areas. There are many pros and cons to this metric that we will be looking into. 

Employee Net Promoter Score Pros

The employee Net Promoter Score is extremely simple and easy to use in order to distribute and obtain results. The reason why both eNPS and NPS are so widely used and successful is because they can get responses from people. Often, people opt out of surveys because they are time-consuming or tedious and they simply don’t feel inclined to fill it out. With a survey that is two questions long, people don’t have that issue, it’s convenient and quick. Companies are able to collect information and insight from employees easily and have high levels of participation. The more employees answer your survey, the more accurate your results will be. Because of the simplicity of this test, it is also very easy to turn those survey results into measurements for your company to use. 

Of course, with the employee Net Promoter Score, you are also able to understand your employee’s engagement and loyalty (of course). If you never ask, you’ll never know and this test makes it easy to get insight without a long traditional survey. This can help you open up communications and start conversations with them so that you are able to grow as an organization. 

The eNPS can help you identify areas that need changing and people that need more attention. It’s never too late to turn a detractor into a promoter, or a passive employee into a promoter. This is the opportunity to identify those areas of need and address them. Even identifying passive employees and providing what they need to take the next step to become more engaged in their work, have a more positive outlook on the company, and become a promoter. Any feedback you receive that is negative is an opportunity to improve and grow.

Employee Net Promoter Score Cons

Although one of the main pros of an employee Net Promoter Score is its simplicity and ease of use and measurement, that simplicity is also its own weakness. A simple survey such as the eNPS does provide a basic measure of employee engagement but does not tell you the underlying causes of that disengagement. In a broad sense, an organization will be able to recognize if employees are experiencing a poor or strong sense of engagement, but the test itself does not diagnose what is happening and what can be done to improve. It can give you information on where to start and what to focus on, but not how to proceed. It isn’t until further questioning and communications that you are able to get the more specific insight that you will need to proceed.

Because the eNPS is a score based test, it is easy to be driven by the number, rather than the drive to create an environment where employees can feel more engaged and satisfied. The simple and measurable numbered score is great for comparing and standardizing, but focusing too much on the number, rather than the people, can have a negative impact. It is not a simple task to translate human experiences into a single number, so doing this can sometimes lead to dehumanizing the survey responders and looking at them as a metric rather than an employee. Focusing solely on the score can also lead to a “score-chasing” mentality where the values of the organization, such as encouraging behaviors for the wellbeing of the employees, are compromised.


Consider Other Metrics

Even while the employee Net Promoter Score has certain drawbacks, it is still a useful tool for employers to help them move in the right direction to creating a more engaged and healthy environment for happier and more productive employees. To get a deeper understanding of your employee’s motivations and what exactly can help them become more engaged, the employee Net Promoter Score can be used alongside other metrics and measurements. Employers may consider using a range of other measures when looking at employee engagement, such as organizational commitment, job involvement, and even intrinsic aspects such as pride, energy, and optimism. 


What can I do with an Employee Net Promoter Score now?

Using the employee Net Promoter Score to understand the level of employee engagement is just the first step in creating the best working environment for your employees. Utilizing that information and continually working to make improvements happen is the most important and most difficult part. Once you are able to communicate with your employees and collect any other metrics you need, action should be taken. Executives, HR professionals, or committee leaders must create goals, strategies, and assignments to tackle the matter head-on.

Raising your eNPS and your organization’s engagement overall is going to take a lot of effort but it can ensure that your organization will be successful and last in the long run; as well as it being an environment your employees are satisfied with. It’s possible to turn those passives, and even detractors, into promoters, and to have an environment that encourages every individual to be engaged. It creates a happier and healthier company culture and has countless other benefits beyond just a higher employee Net Promoter Score.