The employee net promoter score and why it’s the only people number you need

This blog is for busy heads of people, business owners or other leaders who need a simple, ongoing way to measure employee engagement.

Engaging the workforce in 2020 has brought additional challenges, though whatever the circumstances, the links between a highly engaged workforce, productivity levels and the bottom-line are clear. In general, there’s still so much ambiguity around what engagement actually means within an organisation and how to measure it.

Is employee engagement engaging?

Purple Cubed’s simple definition of employee engagement is... 

“The right people, doing the right things, exceeding expectations, enthusiastically.”

We believe that engagement goes beyond happiness – including purpose, a sense of contribution and an enthusiasm for both.

Some people think they can measure (and affect) engagement via a one-off survey, often conducted in house, in which case people tend to say what they think bosses want to hear, or externally in a very complex way with reams of reports no one has time to read, let alone action.

As far as actually engaging an individual, the ‘annual engagement survey’ isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (or the code it’s programmed in). It’s a fact find, a quick temperature check of the areas that need addressing along the employee journey which will form the beginnings of a strategy, though even then we’d recommend a deeper dive via some group and/or individual conversations.

If you only track one thing, make it ENPS

A few years ago, we worked out ‘the unlimited engagement score’. This is one simple number informed by various ongoing metrics and algorithms. However, you can only access that if you use our Talent Toolbox software, which, incidentally, also provides a simpler metric, the ENPS.

If you work in a service industry, you’ll probably be familiar with the customer net promoter score (NPS). This is the percentage of customers that would recommend a company/ product/ service to a friend or colleague, rating it as 9 or 10 (the promoters), minus the percentage rating it at 6 or below (the detractors) on a scale from 0 to 10 where 10 is high. The ENPS – employee net promoter score - works in the same way. Asking “How likely are you to recommend us as a great place to work?” provides insight into how your people feel about working with you, their loyalty and willingness to be employer brand ambassadors, and your likelihood of retaining them in the future.

Final scores can range from -100 to +100. So if 25% of your people rate you 1-6 and 25% rate you 9-10, then your aggregate score will be 0. Which is OK, though provides an opportunity for improvement. A score between 10 and 30 is good and anything over 30 is great.

The only downside of ENPS is that it doesn’t tell you why e.g. what your people do and don’t like about working with you, so a deeper dive will be required. That way you can start to plan and drive positive change. Depending on variances this might be a localised solution such as dealing with a leadership issue, or something more widespread.

It's got to be digital

Tracking your ENPS must be done digitally – otherwise it becomes another clunky, manual process where mechanics outweigh usefulness in terms of time spent and speed of collation. Perhaps you can build it into your digital comms hub as a question that people can answer whenever they feel moved to do so. Or perhaps you’ll request completion on a regular basis. Either way, you’ll be able to ‘slice and dice’ your results by region/area/location/team/job title and so on so you can quickly pinpoint areas where attention is needed. This avoids blanket initiatives in favour of a remedial tailored approach.

It’s important to share and discuss scores and subsequent next steps so that people know you’re listening and are committed to action.

In conclusion

ENPS is extremely useful because it’s cost effective, fast, relatively easy to do and can be tracked over time. Outcomes are short and easy to understand. And it’s a simple yet powerful trigger for promoting more substantial fact finding and taking subsequent action when needed.

If you’d like further advice or would like to speak to someone, please get in touch.

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