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How to Calculate Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

April 14, 2020

“How likely are you to recommend this business to a friend?” Companies have relied on that question and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology since 2003 to measure sentiment toward just about anything, from software to burritos.

With engaging and retaining top performers top of mind for most companies, HR departments have brought the concept of NPS to the workplace. The resulting metric, employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), has risen to importance on many HR analytics dashboards.

Today, eNPS represents one of the most popular survey methodologies used by HR teams. We’re excited to share that Lattice clients can now use our engagement software to measure eNPS. Read on to learn more about the metric, how it’s scored, and how it complements your engagement surveys.

Calculating eNPS

When asked if they’d recommend your company to a friend, employees respond using a scale of zero (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). While that sounds intuitive enough, calculating eNPS isn’t a matter of averaging scores. Based on their feedback, respondents are grouped into one of three categories: promoters, detractors, and “passives.”

Promoters, or employees who score 9-10, are your biggest advocates. They’re a major asset to your employer brand and recruiting efforts. These employees are more likely to share job postings on LinkedIn and within their network — they’re your company’s brand ambassadors.

Detractors aren’t just apathetic about the company’s prospects for success, they could hurt your brand in the long term. These individuals are unhappy enough to “gripe to friends, relatives, acquaintances — anyone who will listen,” wrote Fred Reichheld, NPS’s creator. Detractors score anywhere between 0 and 6, meaning they account for over half of the rubric. 

Lastly, passive respondents are neutral. They might like working at your company, but not enough to actively refer friends to it. If you could sum up their feelings as a LinkedIn status, they’re “open to opportunities” but not actively looking. Scores from 7-8 are considered passive and won’t factor into your final calculation.

Once you have your survey responses, subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. This calculation will yield your company’s eNPS. Keep in mind that an eNPS can be as high as +100 (the absolute best) or -100 (the absolute worst). Intuitively, anything below zero is cause for concern. If you use Lattice, our employee survey software will handle this calculation automatically. 

What NPS Measures (And What it Doesn’t)

Management thinkers love “silver bullet” approaches to work. After all, it’s why NPS was billed as the ultimate question when it was first introduced. But while it’s a useful tool for measuring employee satisfaction and loyalty, HR experts warn against using it solely to get a read on engagement. After all, it’s a measure of faith in the business, not individual happiness or productivity. In that respect, it’s a great metric for recruiters to track as they look to roll out or update referral programs.

Pete Sosnowski, Head of HR at Zety, uses eNPS as a “temperature check” on employees. He goes a step further by complementing it with more pointed questions. “You need to dive deeper into the issues to find the root causes. While it’s an important metric to track, it doesn’t tell the whole story,” he said. At a minimum, Sosnowski recommends following up eNPS questions by asking respondents to explain their scores.

Magdalena Żurawska, an HR Specialist at LiveCareer, echoed that sentiment. “Employee satisfaction consists of factors like your relationships with colleagues, quality of management, challenging and motivating projects, and culture,” she said. While eNPS tells companies which way the wind blows, it represents just one facet of the employee experience. 

A Holistic Approach to Surveying

Olivia Bair, Director of Global HR at Instapage, appreciates the value HR teams get out of eNPS. But for it to be really meaningful, she thinks it needs to be part of a much broader employee survey strategy.

“It's hard to sum up everything we do into just one question. We're about engagement, we're about career development, performance management, goal setting, and everything else that’s part of that employee lifecycle,” she said. Two questions she gets particular value from are “Do you believe in our CEO’s vision and mission?” and “Do you believe in the direction of the company?” Questions like those go further than satisfaction and speak to employees’ intrinsic motivation for coming into work.

In addition to experimenting with different questions, Bair encourages teams to test out different survey cadences. Depending on your company’s needs, that may mean trying pulse surveys, monthly questionnaires, or something completely different. “We've made the decision to hold engagement surveys with different topics on a quarterly basis, and we're seeing pretty good engagement. But we're always trying to see what we can do to change it up, to make sure that we're accurately capturing sentiment,” she said.

It’s important to remember that this extra survey data doesn’t replace eNPS. Rather, it actually empowers you to improve your scores. That’s a useful distinction to make when your leadership team has its heart set on measuring eNPS.

“Using questions around communication, trust, and fulfillment, we are able to backtrack exactly where employees think we’re falling short as a company,” said Gary Stevens, founder of Hosting Canada. “The pain points we try to focus on are those that are mentioned by the passive group in the NPS breakdown. Our hope is to isolate areas of improvement that could raise these employees’ scores to that of a promoter,” he said.

Lattice empowers companies to run engagement surveys, collect feedback, and build people-first cultures. In addition to our customizable and industry-vetted survey templates, our software now enables you to measure eNPS. To see how our surveys can help turn your company into a best place to work, schedule a demo today.