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eNPS: The Net Promoter Score for Employees

By Carly MacLennan
Illustration of Carl the yeti sitting at desk with laptop enjoying his day

“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?”

This question is the basis of eNPS, and the answers can reveal a goldmine of information to propel your company’s growth.

But what is this eNPS thing we speak of?

NPS vs. eNPS

Chances are, you may not have even heard of eNPS or employee net promoter score. But you’ve probably heard of its cousin, Net Promoter Score.

Net Promoter Score is a measurement of how satisfied your customers are with your company. It’s typically measured with a survey question like:

“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our company to your friends?”

image with text - You’re asking them whether they think your company is a great place to work or not.

This question has become a powerful tool for interpreting the endgame of a multifaceted customer experience. Someone who rates the company as a nine or a ten clearly had a great experience with your product, your people, your checkout process, everything.

You can use these numbers to categorize your customers into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.

  • NPS Promoters: These customers rated you nine or ten. They are enthusiastic about your product and probably do recommend you to their friends. They are contributing to your business’ growth.
  • NPS Passives: These customers rated you as seven or eight. Right now they are in more of a neutral zone. They might be almost ready to recommend you or you may be about to lose them. You don’t know.
  • NPS Detractors: These customers rated you six or below. For whatever reason, they had a negative experience with you or your product. They might even be writing a nasty online review.
image with text - But eNPS begins with the source of inspiration for new ideas, the face of interaction with your company, and the executors of all good ideas — your employees!

eNPS functions in a very similar way, and also impacts the experience of your clients. But eNPS begins with the source of inspiration for new ideas, the face of interaction with your company, and the executors of all good ideas — your employees!

The question we started this post with, though, varies slightly from NPS in the sense that you are not asking your employees whether or not they’d recommend your company’s product. You’re asking them whether they think your company is a great place to work or not.

Similar to NPS, eNPS respondents fall into the Promoter, Passive, and Detractor categories. But the ramifications of these distinctions play out a little differently.

  • eNPS Promoters: These employees rated you nine or ten. They are enthusiastic about their work, and it rubs off on other employees and customers. These employees are also likely to contribute new ideas and helpful insights.
  • eNPS Passives: These employees rated you seven or eight. They are kind of positive about your company, but there are things holding them back from being fully committed to your vision. Maybe they like your company, but not their team. Maybe their work-life balance is not sustainable. Follow-up survey questions can help flesh out why these employees aren’t all in with you.
  • eNPS Detractors: These employees rated you six or below. When the right opportunity comes, they will leave.

What your eNPS score means

When using something like Motivosity’s Listen product to gather information about eNPS, you can see the results of your survey as a simple, whole number along with the percentage breakdown of each category.

Your eNPS number = your Promoters - your Detractors.

So, if you survey 100 respondents, 50 of them are Promoters, 30 of them are Passives, and 20 of them are Detractors, your eNPS score will be 30.

30 = 50 - 20

Importantly, this number is not equivalent to the number of employees who recommend working at your company. In our example, that was 50% of your respondents. Instead, it offers a more nuanced picture of your company culture by subtracting the number of employees who are having a negative experience.

If your eNPS score is negative, you know that you have more Detractors at your company than Promoters. If this information surprises you, you may have a few very vocal loyalists who are reaping most of the benefits at your company, while the majority of your workforce feels disengaged.

Action Steps for Using and Addressing eNPS

1. Collect eNPS data at regular intervals

Great survey software will allow you to automatically send an eNPS survey to your employees on a regular schedule. You can set this as quarterly, or survey a subset of employees every month to decrease the burden on any one group.

2. Track your data over time

If your eNPS score was 50 in January, but 30 in April, that is an important downward trend to understand and address. Ideally, you will see your data trending upward over time as an indicator that you are doing a great job of keeping your employees happy and engaged.

3. Follow up with “why” survey questions

Ask about work-life balance, ask about their relationship with their manager, ask about their likelihood of recommending your product or service. All of these more specific questions can help you understand why your Detractors are unhappy, your Promoters are enthusiastic, and your Passives are on the fence. Even more, it can give you a better idea of how close your Passives are to becoming Promoters or whether they are more on their way to becoming Detractors.

4. Take steps to validate your employees as people

Apple was one of the first companies to recognize the power of inspiring their employees. They encouraged the independence, creativity, and passion in their store sales reps necessary to make their customers feel like they were getting personalized technology counsel instead of a walking commission. They coined the term, “Net Promoter for People,” encapsulating the idea that both your employees and customers are real people with feelings and needs.

You can also train your managers to treat their employees as partners instead of minions. Train them to thank their employees for a job well done, to give them enough autonomy to come up with creative and productive solutions to problems, to lead with an inspiring vision of what each team’s work could accomplish, and to offer a specific view of what each employee could become as an integral part of the company. Take steps to treat your employees like humans, and watch their enthusiasm soar.


Bain’s research found that only 19% of employees feel inspired and satisfied. If your company is like most, there is an opportunity for growth here. And the payoffs of your efforts are pretty exciting. Bain also found that employee Promoters garnered customer NPS scores that were three times higher than other employees could.

That’s good enough for us. Investing in your people is always a good idea. Apple’s eNPS score for March 2021 is 24. What’s yours?