eNPS (employee net promoter score) is a metric and scoring system that employers use to measure employee sentiment and loyalty. It is based on the Net Promoter Score® – originally developed by Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld in 2003 – which organizations use to measure customer loyalty.
The eNPS is calculated by asking employees to answer this question: How likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?
Typically, the answer to this question is a number value, and a follow-up might be an open-ended question asking why they chose their rating.
HR departments commonly use eNPS as an indicator of how employees are perceiving the company at a moment in time, whether they are happy with the culture, and whether there is a high risk of attrition (i.e. if the score is low).
How to measure eNPS
To measure eNPS at your organization, start with a simple survey. Ask “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend or relative?” with a scale ranging from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely).
Once the survey has been taken, you can group respondents into three buckets:
- Promoters (score 9-10) – People who are extremely likely to promote your organization to others in their life. Your goal should be to get as many employees into this bucket as possible.
- Passives (score 7-8) – These respondents probably wouldn’t actively promote your organization, but they’re satisfied enough that they likely won’t detract from your reputation, either.
- Detractors (score 0-6) – Detractors range from not at all likely to recommend the company to just neutral, indicating some level of dissatisfaction. These employees are at a high risk of leaving and could even talk negatively about the company (and scare off potential hires).
To calculate the eNPS, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. In theory, your eNPS can range from -100 to 100.
There are a variety of options to distribute your eNPS survey. For instance, some general purpose tools such as Google Forms and Typeform can work well and be set up quickly. However, many HR systems also have performance and engagement features built in that can be used to continually run eNPS surveys. These include BambooHR, CultureAmp, and Leapsome.
Check with your HR system to see if they have an eNPS solution. If not, set up a simple form on a third-party site so you can get started with collecting this data ASAP.
Pros & cons of eNPS
Like any HR metric, eNPS has its pros and cons – which in many cases will depend on how you choose to use it.
Pros of eNPS
- Simplicity – There’s no question that eNPS is one of the simplest, fastest options for gauging employee engagement. It’s especially great when companies are new or just starting to track HR data.
- Helpful for recruitment – eNPS is essentially just asking current employees if they’d recommend the company to others. If the eNPS is high, that can be a great stat to include in recruiting materials.
- Inexpensive – Collecting and tracking eNPS can be inexpensive compared to other employee surveys. For example, some HR systems already include an eNPS solution, and other survey tools can be free or very low in cost.
Cons of eNPS
- Lacks depth and nuance – It can be hard to get actionable insight from a simple number, e.g. an eNPS of 50. What does that really mean? Can you get any real information from a one-question survey? Additionally, eNPS is a lagging indicator, meaning it focuses on a range of factors that happened in the past, vs. looking at leading indicators for the future.
- Might not be super accurate – On the organization side, teams could potentially “trick” the eNPS with well-timed perks and benefits. On the employee side, eNPS doesn’t necessarily say anything about engagement, just whether they’d recommend the workplace. Maybe they’re giving a high score just because they can slack off, get paid well, or they simply like their coworkers.
- Underestimates the extreme end – The eNPS scale groups all scores 0 – 6 into one bucket – detractors – but someone who selects 0 in the survey is likely to be much more destructive to your work culture than the 5 or 6.
eNPS best practices
As mentioned above, eNPS has positives and negatives, just like any other metric your organization may choose to track. If you do decide to use eNPS, here are some best practices to make it work for your business:
- Stay realistic – You can measure eNPS and gain valuable insight, but remember: it’s not the “North Star Metric” some people think it is. Try to stay realistic with how much emphasis you place on the outcome of your survey. After all, organizations and humans are highly complex, making it impossible to boil it down to a single metric.
- Supplement your survey – Another best practice is to supplement your eNPS with qualitative feedback and employee satisfaction scores (e.g. a quarterly eNPS plus weekly pulse surveys). This can help you get more actionable data to track over time.
- Be transparent – Sharing your eNPS data with employees and asking for recommendations on how to improve can help them feel trusted, valued, and engaged in the larger team. No one will know better how to improve this score than the survey respondents (employees) themselves. Transparency can also boost survey response rates by showing employees that their feedback is taken seriously.
- Track your data – What use is a metric to your organization if you can’t see how it changes over time? Be sure to track your ongoing eNPS data to see where improvements can be made (and to pinpoint what could have caused changes, whether positive or negative).
- Aim to improve – If you’re going to track eNPS, you might as well do everything you can to get it higher. Take those recommendations from employees and implement some of them to try and bump that number up!
The HR community is somewhat split on the value of the eNPS. That being said, for some teams, eNPS may be the best option they can run (or afford). If that’s the case, we hope this guide will help you to use the survey in the most effective way for your organization.
We’re always on a quest to find the one People KPI that every CEO or team should look at on a weekly basis. Have ideas? Let us know in the comments.
Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.