Using Employee Net Promoter Score to Measure Employee Happiness

5 min read

Happier employees mean happier customers. Engaged, satisfied employees work harder and are better at interacting with customers. They’re also less likely to quit. Lower turnover means that experienced staff stay around longer, and you spend less money training and recruiting new staff. Not only is it nice to have a pleasant working environment, it also makes financial sense.

How do you know how happy your employees are? Waiting to see how frequently employees resign seems a losing strategy. You need to be able to identify areas of concern early and rectify any emerging issues.

This is why employee Net Promoter Score, or Employee NPS works so well. Just like NPS surveys for customers, employee Net Promoter Score is an ongoing process that asks employees for their opinion and delivers actionable results for continuous improvement.

Launching an employee Net Promoter Score program is easier than you think. This is especially true if you already use NPS externally, because you have all the tools you need, and the methodology is well understood. Let’s look at how you can set up an employee Net Promoter Score program to measure and improve employee happiness in your company.

employee net promoter score icon

The employee Net Promoter Score Survey

Employee Net Promoter Score is calculated by asking employees one big question:

NPS survey example

On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this organization as a good place to work?

Employees who respond with 6 or lower are “detractors” while 9 or higher are promoters. Those in the middle are “passive”.

It’s important to keep employee satisfaction surveys anonymous, and stress the anonymity to respondents. If employees feel safe expressing their true feelings, you’ll get more relevant results. You also want to prevent backlash from managers to employees that ranked lower. Keeping the survey anonymous protects employees.  

To calculate the employee NPS, subtract the percentage of employees identifying as detractors from the percentage of employees identifying as promoters. Scores can range from -100 (all detractors) to +100 (all promoters). The plan is to continually improve and increase your score.

employee nps icon follow up

Follow up Questions

Compared to your customers, employees are much more likely to complete surveys. This means you can ask a few more follow up questions to dig deeper into the thoughts of your team. Here’s a few of our favorite:

Why did you give the score you did?

Get the reason behind the employee NPS score. Why do employees feel the way they do? Keeping it open ended encourages employees to share anything important to them.

Product NPS

Separate out the work environment from the product you’re selling. You might have a great office culture with bean bag chairs, flexible working and professional development plans, but if employees aren’t keen on the product you’re selling – they won’t stick around long.

Ask “How likely would you be to recommend our product to family and friends?” and complete the same NPS calculation to find your score from -100 to +100.

Employees should be your biggest advocates. If they don’t believe in what you’re selling, good luck finding customers who will!

How can we improve?

There’s no one better to ask what you can do to help than your employees themselves. They know what would make the biggest difference in their lives.

Start, Stop, Continue

This is a three part question that tends to draw out very specific suggestions. Ask employees what you as a company should “start” doing, “stop” doing and “continue” doing. “Start” pulls out ideas for new initiatives, “stop” identifies unnecessary or disliked processes and “continue” highlights things that are going well.  

Do you want us to follow up with you?

While employee surveys are generally anonymous, sometimes respondents reveal something that requires a response. For example, if they aren’t getting along with their manager, feel their last raise was unfair or are considering a new career path.

Giving them the option to leave their name and get a response from a senior manager is a nice way of starting a conversation about difficult topics. They might not have felt comfortable bringing it up in other formats.

how often shouly you send eNPS surveys

How often should you survey employees?

Employee happiness isn’t a one time initiative. It’s an ongoing process to keep employees engaged and satisfied. If you can’t remember the last time you asked employees how they felt – you better get on it!

We recommend quarterly surveys. That’s infrequent enough that employees aren’t tired of being asked, and there’s time for changes to be made. But it’s frequent enough that issues won’t slip through the cracks. You’ll also be able to easily see trends throughout the year and keep a focus on improving.

If you work with OKRs, employee NPS fits nicely into the quarterly rhythm.  

Improving Response Rates

Employee NPS works best with high response rates. If only the very engaged or the very disappointed fill it out, you’ll have a biased sample.

Most important in getting high response rates is the way senior management discuss the survey. If they stress the value of receiving feedback, and give time for team members to complete the survey within work hours, employees will catch on.

It’s also critical that survey responses lead to real improvements. If employees continue to fill out surveys and see nothing change, they will become disenfranchised with the process and stop taking it seriously.

Improving employee NPS

Once you send out the survey, and the responses start pouring in, the work begins.

Most survey software will calculate the score for you automatically. Your job is to find out the why behind it. To do this, read through the responses and look for a few telling signs.

Team NPS

Is one department significantly underperforming?  It might be time to dive deeper into the management of that team and see what’s not working for them. Alternatively – if you’ve got a very happy team, make sure to praise the manager and learn their top management secrets.

Common Themes

When reading through responses, see if there are common threads amongst them. Compensation will almost always come up (very few people are every satisfied with what they are being paid). But what other concerns permeate through multiple employees responses? Maybe everyone is frustrated by the slow release time. Maybe the office space is too small, or too loud for people to work in.

The squeakiest wheel gets the grease, and rightly so. These common themes are the most effective in improving your eNPS.

Detractors and Promoters

Separating unhappy employees from employees can help with analyzing responses. What do your least happy team members talk about in their surveys? The disgruntled group is probably the most honest about what’s getting them down, so there’s a lot of value in their replies.

But don’t forget about the promoters! Their happiness tells you something too. See if you can use their insights to improve life for the detractors. The most commonly mentioned reasons for promoters can also be used for recruitment and your careers page.

Put a finger on the pulse of your business

Starting an eNPS program isn’t difficult, but it is extremely valuable to your business. Knowing what your employees are feeling is critical to building a healthy company.

Understand your employees better with NPS by Nicereply.

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