In case you haven’t noticed, we believe Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) surveys are a great way to gauge employee satisfaction. We also think they’re a great launching pad to help you work to improve your employee experience, and in turn, employee engagement. If you haven’t made employee satisfaction a focus for your organization yet, 2019 is the time to start.
So, what does the process of improving your eNPS actually look like? To quote the venerable Nacho Libre, “Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.” But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page on a couple points.
How eNPS Measures Employee Satisfaction
The first of two questions asked in an eNPS survey is how likely employees are to refer their company as a place to work on a scale of 0 to 10. Based on the responses, the organization gets a score between -100 and +100 (the higher the number the better).
It’s important to note that this first question establishes a reference point for employers to see how they are currently doing. Knowing this number alone is not enough to improve employee satisfaction.
What is a Good Employer Net Promoter Score?
There are differing views on what makes a good eNPS. While some reasonable minds estimate that anything from -10 to 20 is acceptable, you almost certainly want to stay out of the negatives to keep your organization running smoothly.
Of course, like many things in life, it’s all relative. You should always consider company size and industry (among other factors) when evaluating eNPS results. Any score above 20 can be regarded as excellent for some while for others that threshold might creep as high as 50.
Perhaps a more useful way of looking at your eNPS score is to refer to your previous eNPS surveys. Is your current score better than your last? If so, it’s safe to say it’s a relatively good score—that is, relative to your last score—and it’s safe to say you’re doing something right. If your current score is less than it was, it’s likely an indication that you need to step it up.
How to Improve Your eNPS In 2019
So, how do you improve those scores? The simple answer is to spend enough time and resources to review employee feedback thoroughly, so you can discover which issues you need to address, and how quickly. Let’s discuss how that works.
As with grilled cheese sandwiches, timing is crucial with eNPS surveys. Have them too frequently, and they lose their charm, but if you only conduct eNPS surveys annually, a lot of the best feedback you would have received is gone. And why is it gone? Because even great organizations experience turnover, and that means employees who would have given you valuable feedback left your organization sometime during the year.
One of the benefits of an eNPS survey is that they are quick and easy to take. So, you shouldn’t shy away from conducting them more frequently—either quarterly or semiannually. Think of eNPS as an early-warning system for critical employee experience issues: The sooner you can identify problems, the sooner you can address them and show your people that you care and are working on improving.
After employees rate their organization, the second question asks them why they gave their organization that score. Our eNPS tool then uses keyword analysis to identify common topics within both positive and negative feedback groups.
If an employee is classified by the system as a promoter of their company (they rated the organization as a 9-10), their feedback is usually an indicator of what their company is doing well, which helps employers decide which programs and initiatives are worth continued investment. If an employee is considered neutral (7-8) or a detractor (0-6), their feedback may give employers the insight they need to prioritize areas in need of improvement.
Apply the Feedback
Remember, the keyword analysis is only a starting point. Sure, you may identify that unsatisfied employees are particularly unhappy with your benefits package, but you’ll need to peruse the responses carefully to figure out what exactly they dislike and what they need to be satisfied.
From there, it’s up to leaders to suss out the feedback that can help the organization grow and succeed. Obviously, feedback trends are a great place to start. For example, if the majority of unsatisfied employees say that your performance management programs are unfair, you should probably look into adopting new programs.
Beyond the trends and obvious red flags the feedback may present, you will find valuable nuggets of insights as you go through the feedback one employee at a time. Great ideas come from everywhere, and it’s worth looking at all the feedback—or even conducting an open meeting discussing some feedback trends—to extract even more information. Great leaders understand when it’s time to take cues from their subordinates.
Depending on the size of your organization, the process of combing through employee feedback may be exhausting, or it might even require a team effort, but it is the epitome of time well spent. The anonymous nature of eNPS feedback gives employees the platform many of them need to provide you with the honest and sometimes difficult-to-share feedback you need to improve.
Crucially, aside from the insights you’ll find that help your organization as a whole, those individual employees whose feedback is applied—and in turn, feel heard—are much more likely to be engaged in their work. Showing how much you care can be almost as important as the changes you actually make.
The not-so-simple answer to how you can improve your eNPS this year, then, is that only you can answer this question. Why? Because only you can dig deep into the feedback to understand what is going on within your organization. What are the clear areas for improvement or red flags that need immediate attention? What are the subtle nuances the feedback sheds light on? What great ideas do your less-vocal (and vocal) employees have brewing in their brains?
If you conduct frequent eNPS surveys and take the feedback given seriously, you’ll have the opportunity to capitalize on the good and eliminate the bad quickly enough to avoid any long-term issues. And you’ll set your organization up for long-term success, both in 2019 and beyond.