People & Leadership

What is eNPS? A guide on Employee Net Promoter score

Learn why an Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is an important tool in the battle to recruit and retain talent.

An Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is an important tool in the role of recruiting and retaining talent.

As businesses manage the continuing effects of what has been called the Great Resignation, and working from home suits many but leaves others feeling disconnected, understanding employee sentiment is particularly valuable for business leaders.

According to recent research, almost two thirds (64%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are finding it difficult to retain staff, so anything that enables business leaders to get a sense of how their teams feel about their jobs is useful.

“Knowing your Employee Net Promotor Score is vital to understanding your employees’ motivations,” says Lorraine Barker, director of Energy HR.

“A high eNPS aids recruitment—your employees are more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work, plus you can use this information in your recruitment marketing.

“Retention wise, maintaining a happy, engaged workforce has been proven to increase productivity, lead to lower levels of absence and a high score will even carry on providing value after an employee has left through alumni advocacy.”

In this article, you’ll learn what eNPS is, how to calculate your eNPS score, what it tells you about your three key types of employee, and its pros and cons, benefits, and limitations.

Here’s what we cover:

What is an Employee Net Promoter score?

Just as a Net Promoter Score indicates how likely consumers are to recommend a product or service to others, eNPS measures the likelihood of your employees recommending your business to other people as a good place to work.

It’s also regarded as a way of measuring staff loyalty.

Very simply, it involves asking employees: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend this company to a family member, friend or colleague as a good place to work?”

The score is the percentage of those who say yes, minus those who say no.

eNPS is popular because it takes a complex, nuanced issue and boils it down to a single number.

This simplicity means that it’s often more likely to be completed, as compared with more complex, time-intensive surveys.

eNPS: What are the three categories?

Each of these categories—promoters, detractors, and passives—is determined by how they’ve scored your company on a scale of one to 10.


Promoters have given you a score of 9 or 10 out of 10 and so they’re your biggest fans.

These advocates are a major asset to your business, and they can act as brand ambassadors or recruiting officers.

They’re more likely to share positive news about the company on LinkedIn and other social media as well as spreading good things about you through word of mouth.


Passives (also called neutrals) are those who have scored you 7 to 8.

They’re probably unenthusiastic about their job and you as an employer but aren’t unhappy enough to rate them badly.

It’s possible that some might want to do this but might be concerned that they’ll be identified and will suffer as a result.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that they’re generally content but there’s one aspect of work that they don’t like – perhaps the pay, their line manager or even the office itself.

A reorganisation or new job description might leave them feeling disengaged but not sufficiently dissatisfied to be actively seeking another position.

However, passives would be open to new jobs and might well be casually checking employment sites and LinkedIn to see what’s out there.

Either way, these people will probably not be going the extra mile for you, and they won’t be actively promoting your business to others.


Detractors have scored you 6 or below.

These are employees who will badmouth you to friends, family and possibly even customers and suppliers.

In effect, they’re counteracting your marketing and public relations activities. They might even be sharing their experience anonymously on product review websites and employment websites such as Glassdoor.

In fact, as Fred Reichheld, a partner at Bain & Company, the business consultancy and the creator of the Net Promoter Score in 2003, put it, “Detractors” will “gripe to friends, relatives, acquaintances—anyone who will listen.”

Most likely, they will not be aligned with your strategy, and they have little faith in your leadership.

Obviously, the greater proportion of detractors you have, the more likely it is that you need to focus on:

  • Listening to your teams
  • Developing a more positive company culture
  • Thinking about the way your business is organised.

How to calculate your business’s eNPS

In reply to the question about how likely they are to recommend your company as a place to work, staff use a scale ranging from 0 to 10 where 0 equals “not likely at all”, and 10 indicates “extremely likely”.

Based on their scores, you then put staff into one of three categories: promoters, detractors, and passives.

When doing the calculation, you start by disregarding your passives.

You then subtract the percentage of your teams that are detractors from the percentage that are promoters to get your score.

Here’s an example.

Say your company employs 25 people and every one of them answers the question.

You find that you have 7 passives, 11 promoters and 7 detractors.

To do the calculation, you ignore the passives.

The 11 promoters represent 44% of your staff, while the 7 detractors account for 28%.

You then subtract the 28% of detractors from the 44% of promoters, leaving you with a score of plus 16.

This is a pretty good result since most companies would want to achieve at least a positive score, with more staff having good things to say about them than those who will badmouth them.

What are the benefits of eNPS?

Simplicity is one key advantage.

There’s just one question and it’s one that is familiar and accessible. It produces a single, easily understandable metric.

Carrying out this kind of survey is quick and easy for you and for your staff. You don’t have to spend time thinking up questions and they only have to give one answer.

Because of this, it tends to have a higher participation rate than many staff surveys.

It’s also cost-effective to implement as there’s no need to employ consultants or take time away from work for focus groups, team meetings or writing up extensive reports.

What are the limitations of eNPS?

Its simplicity can also be a drawback—there’s no depth or nuance in the findings.

You can identify three clear categories, but you don’t know who your detractors or your wonderful brand ambassadors are, and you don’t know why certain team members are scoring you a 0 or a 10 or anything in between.

You have no idea of their specific concerns.

You’re only measuring staff at a particular point in time. It might be that a week after giving you a 3 they feel better about work or a few days after awarding you a positive score something happens that makes them feel angry and disillusioned.

On the other hand, they might just be having an off day when your survey pops up.

A good net promotor score by an employee doesn’t necessarily mean they’re engaged and hard-working.

They might be willing to promote your company because they believe that you have a laid-back attitude to work.

They might not feel committed to playing their part in delivering your strategy but they still rate you highly because of your staff canteen or the fact that your office is in a nice location.

Comparing eNPS and NPS

Although both of these surveys measure how willing participants are to engage in promotion – of your company in the first case and of your products in the second – there are distinct differences.

But consider the similarities first.

Essentially, both are simple measures of satisfaction based on one easily understood question and their outcomes are immediately obvious.

However, the audiences are different – one goes to employees and the other to customers and these two groups base their decisions on different criteria.

One is looking at what you sell while the other measures how you treat your staff and the two might not be related.

For example, your business might produce a great product and deliver excellent customer service and so your NPS will probably be impressive.

On the other hand, you might treat staff poorly and therefore your employer version will be low.

Finally, feedback from an NPS survey is usually associated with a particular customer.

This is someone for whom the company already has data such as what they buy, how much they spend and which categories they fit into.

With the employee version, as is usual with employee feedback, the system works on the basis of anonymity. As mentioned above, this can be a downside.

Claire McCartney, senior resourcing and inclusion adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) points to the CIPD Good Work Index, which she says provides a valuable overview of what UK workers value in a job and can be drawn on to determine how organisations can enhance their employer brand and engagement more holistically.

Claire says: “The benchmarking report measures job quality across various dimensions and its annual snapshot gives a definitive view of what good work looks like.

“It suggests that employees should not only be fairly rewarded but also have a good work-life balance and be given opportunities to develop.

“It also highlights the importance of fostering a healthy, supportive work environment that gives employees a voice to shape their working lives.”

Final thoughts on eNPS

Quick and cost effective to implement, easy to participate in, eNPS surveys are a great way of assessing the morale of your teams.

However, they have their limitations and so it’s best to carry them out in conjunction with other staff surveys and consultations.

As is the case with any type of staff survey, even if you think that you’re the best boss in the world, you need to be prepared to hear bad news with a mix of resilience and humility and to respond to the findings, whatever they say.

“Achieving or maintaining a good eNPS takes hard work over time,” says Lorraine Barker of Energy HR.

“If your score is low, however, it’s vital swift action is taken to find out why.

“Run follow-up sessions, conduct an employee survey, benchmark your salaries and benefits against your competition and communicate, communicate, communicate.”