Maximizing Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) Beyond Just Metrics

 A triangle connects a woman's mouth to another person's ear to show word-of-mouth and symbolize eNPS

Employee Surveys HR Analytics Recruiting Survey Design Talent Acquisition

How to explore beyond employee net promoter score (eNPS) as a basic employee happiness metric and shape the workforce dynamics that influence it.

Is there one metric that can measure employee experience at a high-level?


Can it give you a full picture of your employee experience and help you build an effective talent acquisition strategy?

Not exactly.

Every month, there are at least 4,500 Google searches for employee net promoter score (eNPS). That’s a lot of competitive employers using the same metrics and tactics to measure employee engagement and influence their recruiting strategy.

While eNPS quickly assesses employee satisfaction, it does have its flaws. So, what if we told you that there is a much more effective and strategic way to measure employee satisfaction?

The Great Place To Work® Trust Index™ Survey is a tool that can actually help you improve employee engagement, not just measure it.

Why use an Employee Net Promoter Score?

Employee net promoter score (eNPS) is an 11-point scale that measures an employee’s likelihood to recommend their company as a good place to work.

Employees that mark a 9 or a 10 are called promoters, 7 and 8 are passives, and 0 through 6 are detractors. A company’s eNPS is determined by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. A good score is anywhere between 10 and 30, and a score of 30 or greater is considered excellent.

Calculating eNPS can help employers:

  1. Get a snapshot of employee sentiment
  2. Gauge whether employees will recommend their organization to someone in their network, which can increase referrals and broaden job candidate pools
  3. Benchmark their workplace against other organizations with a widely-used metric.

What are the limitations and drawbacks of the eNPS?

Employee net promoter score tells you the “what” — but not the “why” or the “how.” It doesn’t answer questions that would help you improve your score, such as:

1. Why would employees recommend (or not recommend) their workplace?

eNPS only gives employers a surface-level look at employee sentiment and does not provide context on what impacts that sentiment. It doesn’t shed light on what specific leadership behaviors, programs, benefits, or policies are driving your promoters, passives, and detractors to refer (or not refer) your workplace to others.

2. Which employees are more or less likely to recommend their workplace?

eNPS doesn’t consider demographic groups like age, race, gender, tenure, managerial level, or business unit. It only provides a surface-level look at employee happiness.

What is your eNPS for Asian frontline managers? Millennial hourly employees?

eNPS doesn't reflect the nuances of your workforce or help you identify differences in employee satisfaction across groups.

Some employee populations may be having a less positive experience at work, but eNPS won’t tell you that. With the impact that employee happiness has on candidate referrals, not having demographic information could make it more difficult to create a diverse workforce.

If you don’t know how likely women or Gen Z employees are to refer your workplace to their friends, how will you be able to create a referral program that hires for diversity?

3. What is influencing passive respondents?

Passives are the employees who fall in the middle of the eNPS scale. Their responses may not factor into your eNPS score, but their employee experiences are still worth paying attention to.

Excluding passives, or what we can call the “moveable middle" from the equation overlooks a critical segment of employees who have a neutral opinion about the company.

While detractors and promoters are usually the focus of attention, passives represent a substantial portion of the workforce. Their opinions are a valuable source of insight into ways to improve employee engagement and retention.

Employee net promoter score tells you the “what” — but not the “why” or the “how.” It doesn’t answer questions that would help you improve your score.

Turn passives into promoters

The Great Place To Work Trust Index Survey generates valuable insight for employers to understand and engage passives or the “moveable middle.”

With our survey, employers can take advantage of understanding the passives in an eNPS by:

  1. Identifying the reasons for the neutral score: Employers can ask follow-up questions with pulse surveys to understand why employees are not highly engaged or satisfied with their job. Do they want more development opportunities? Are expectations unclear? Or does the company fail to recognize them for their work?

  2. Addressing areas of improvement: Once the reasons for the neutral score are identified, employers can work to address those specific areas of improvement. For example, if employees feel they are not getting enough recognition for their work, employers can implement an employee recognition program to show appreciation.

  3. Converting passives into promoters: Employers can take steps to convert passives into promoters by engaging with them, listening to their feedback, and addressing their concerns. By actively engaging with passives, employers can show that they value their opinions and are committed to making improvements that benefit all employees.

How can you measure beyond your eNPS?

With Great Place To Work’s Trust Index Survey, you can understand what makes employees tick. Our survey has a statement similar to the one that forms the basis of the eNPS:

“I would strongly endorse my company to family and friends as a great place to work.”

But unlike the eNPS, the Trust Index measures employee experience over a variety of statements and focus areas, and you can filter responses to zero in on the experience of different employee groups.

A leader tasked with improving referrals and employee retention needs more than just an eNPS. Analyzing your employee’ experience and view of the organization with an analytical survey like the Trust Index gives employers more than a snapshot.

With data from Great Place to Work, employers can see what is impacting the experience of both thriving individuals who want to stay and individuals who may need more support or are looking for job opportunities elsewhere.

Can the Trust Index generate an eNPS?

Customers with full access to Great Place To Work’s custom demographic capabilities can measure their eNPS by adding an 11-point scale demographic option and ask the standard eNPS question.

This demographic, combined with the Trust Index’s statements and analytic capabilities, enables employers to see what statements correlate to higher scores, as well as the changes passives and detractors want to see in their workplace.

Using the open comments section in combination with demographic filters can provide rich qualitative data about your promoters, your detractors, and your passives. You can see, in their own words, what makes or breaks their experience at the organization.

Trust Index Survey screenshot demographic segmentation

Image: Comments from hourly, male employees regarding what would make their experience better

How to act on and improve your eNPS

Once you’ve surveyed employees and obtained your initial score, you’ll probably want to start improving it.

Here’s a simple, straightforward plan for improving your eNPS with the help of Great Place To Work:

  1. Communicate the survey results and action plans to employees to demonstrate that you are listening to their feedback.
  2. Continue to survey your employees regularly to see how your eNPS changes over time.
    1. Distribute additional pulse surveys to measure your action plan’s effectiveness and to uncover your primary eNPS drivers
    2. Identify which demographic groups are having a less consistent experience and listen further with tactics such as pulse surveys, 1:1 interviews, and focus groups

No matter your score, you can use it as a baseline measurement. When you reach or exceed your target score, you can use it as a recruiting tool: include it on your careers page, add it to your outreach emails, and mention it in candidate interviews. HR managers can keep eNPS in their back pocket when plugging your employer value proposition.

Knowing your employee net promoter score is useful, but it should be part of a broader recruiting strategy. With the added tools of our survey demographics and analysis, you will know how to improve your score, get more employee referrals, and hire more top talent.

Create a workplace worth bragging about

Flip your passives to promoters with Great Place To Work. Our Trust Index Survey can show you the full picture behind your employee net promoter score. To learn more, contact us today.

Seth Willis Ruby Storm Green