How to Survey Your Employees


You already know that your customers’ satisfaction is critical to the success of your business. But what about employee satisfaction? Does it matter how happy your staff is? And should you gather employee feedback? In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can use a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to assess your employees’ at-work satisfaction and loyalty to your brand, producing a metric called eNPS.

Happy employees, happy customers

Happy employees create a better product or service, and they also generate higher customer satisfaction. That’s why companies like Google offer their employees incredible perks and benefits (like free cooking classes and 15 days of PTO for first-year engineers). It’s why the supermarket chain Trader Joe’s offers its employees higher-than-average wages and encourages a team-minded environment. And it’s why Netflix gives free lunches to its employees and provides new moms and dads with up to 12 months of paid parental leave.

What are the results of these employee perks? Powerful, customer-driven companies with employees that are thrilled to be working there.

While we’re not suggesting that you pour all of your revenue into buying drinks for your staff every week or offering unlimited PTO, focusing on employee satisfaction and loyalty can produce real, revenue-boosting results for your business.

Tracking employee loyalty and creating enthusiastic advocacy

Employees who are engaged at work and enthusiastic about the company’s products or services perform better, stay longer, provide more feedback and innovate. 

While you might assume your employees are thrilled about your brand – and working for your company – there’s really only one way to know: give them a chance to tell you, confidentially. That’s where the employee Net Promoter Score comes in.

NPS-forward companies such as Apple and JetBlue have used eNPS to track employee engagement and create a culture that fosters enthusiastic advocacy. The results speak for themselves. In 2019, Apple came in second on a list of the 10 best companies to work for and JetBlue was rated one of the top four airlines to work for. 

Focusing on eNPS is certainly a good decision, business-wise. But how exactly do you do it?

Questions to ask on an eNPS survey

The most basic eNPS question asks, “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?”

Like a standard NPS survey, this first question is followed by an opportunity to provide open-ended feedback, “Please explain your rating.”

Another helpful question that some eNPS surveys ask is, “How likely are you to recommend this company’s product/service to a friend, coworker or family member?”

This additional question sometimes produces an even more accurate measure of an employee’s loyalty. An employee may enjoy working for you because of the benefits you offer or because of their coworkers – but these motivational factors don’t necessarily indicate that they really believe in your product or service (ouch!).

Promoters, passives and detractors

Like NPS, eNPS will divide your survey takers into three basic categories based on their scores. Promoters are employees that have rated you a 9 or 10. Passives are employees that have given you a 7 or 8. Detractors have given you a 6 or below. Once you have scores, use the following formula to get your eNPS.

Employee Net Promoter Score = % of promoters – % of detractors

Consider that eNPS can range anywhere from -100 (100% detractors) to +100 (100% promoters). When you look at your score and see a 39, for example, that doesn’t equate to getting an “F.” Thinking of it more like a profit margin than a grade will help to conceptualize what it means. A 39 is a decent score, but it can still be improved. 

Open-ended feedback

Still, open-ended feedback can be tricky to analyze. Instead of giving you a single number, your staff is providing you with potentially-endless variations of text-based comments that you’ll have to read and sort through. NPS software can be used to organize, filter, and highlight your feedback, thus simplifying the process of analysis.

Best practices for eNPS

The scary truth is that many industries produce a shockingly high number of employee detractors. One survey of more than 5,500 information workers showed an NPS of -23% and FranklinCovey, a Utah-based consulting and time-management company, found that its eNPS ratings ranged from -40% to 100%, depending on store location.

If you’re surprised (and not in a good way) by your eNPS survey, don’t panic just yet. The whole point of this process is to give you a metric that helps you improve.

Even if your eNPS is decent – or even great – you’ll want to step up your game to create even more enthusiastic brand advocacy and loyalty within your own company. 

Keep tracking 

Rather than obsessively focusing on getting a higher eNPS than other companies, compete against your own current score. How can you improve your own score over time? You need to regularly survey your employees, which you can do through an email or link, or on your website. These surveys are quick and easy to fill out and your employees usually won’t turn down an opportunity to voice their opinion. 

Unlike the standard annual employee survey, continual eNPS surveys produce trackable results that show how changes within the company are actively affecting employee loyalty.

Assess the results

Just as you would with a standard NPS survey, you’ll want to assess your open-ended feedback to identify common themes and keywords. For example, if you found that “communication” was a common keyword used among detractors, then you might note intracompany communication as a significant area for improvement.

Alternatively, if you find that your most enthusiastic promoters are employees who actually use your product or service, then you may want to find ways to encourage more of your staff to engage actively with your brand as customers. 

In any case, the open-ended portion of your employee feedback should give you powerful, actionable tools to help you create a company with happy, enthusiastic and committed employees.

Act on your feedback

Your eNPS score and feedback will produce powerful insights. But to produce a real, measurable impact, eNPS feedback needs a plan of action.

That may mean assigning one of your staff members to spearhead eNPS. It could mean developing a process for methodically and strategically assessing feedback. Or you might want to publish a regular report with eNPS results, offering your staff a transparent overview of what’s working, what’s not and where the company is headed.

In any case, a key part of any NPS survey is “closing the loop,” which means engaging with your score and feedback to make real, lasting changes.

Why eNPS?

Lengthy, infrequent employee surveys produce the same kind of flawed results as lengthy, infrequent customer surveys. They don’t track changes in the company, don’t produce practical and actionable feedback, and they are often trapped in departments where they never lead to action.

On the other hand, eNPS surveys follow the same simple guidelines as regular NPS surveys. They produce a single, trackable metric. They reflect how changes in your company are affecting employee satisfaction. And they provide actionable, open-ended feedback that can help you improve your business.

If you’re interested in creating an eNPS survey for your company, you’ll need an NPS software program to help you deploy surveys, organize results and store data for continuous tracking and comparison. 

Dedicated NPS software will also make future analysis of your data easier since most software will organize your results over time making a comparison of your trends easy. It also becomes much easier to dig deeper into your data. For example, it allows you to break down your eNPS score by the department.

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