employee net promoter score passives

employee Net Promoter Score - turning passive employees into promoters

For eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) to work effectively it needs to ignore passive employees. But while it is the promoters and detractors that generate the employee Net Promoter Score, it is actually your passive employees that hold the greatest potential. Before I explain why, let’s remind ourselves how someone becomes a ‘passive’ employee.

How the eNPS calculation works

The employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a measure of how likely your employees are to recommend your company as a place to work. Employees are asked one question and answer that question on a scale of 0-10. Those who provide a score of 0-6 are classified as ‘detractors’, those who choose 9 or 10 are ‘promoters’ and those who opt for 7 or 8 are known as ‘passives’. To calculate the eNPS score passives are ignored and the percentage of detractors are subtracted from the percentage of promoters.

While this calculation is extremely effective at benchmarking employee loyalty, running an eNPS survey gives you so much more than just a score. It gives you an opportunity to start exploring the reasons behind these scores.

Life after an eNPS survey

Once you have completed an eNPS survey you will want to explore the reasons behind the scores. For example, if you have a high percentage of detractors you will need to quickly delve into the reasons so that you can take remedial action. Likewise, you will want to learn more about the positivity of promoters so that you can encourage that further. While follow-up approaches for these two groups will need to be carefully considered, they are relatively straightforward. You want to know the reasons for the negativity and the reasons for the positivity. Passives however are much more complex and because of this complexity, they are often overlooked.

What a passive employee could be thinking

‘Passives’ are on the fence. They have a relatively neutral opinion of your company. But the reasons for the neutrality could be vast:

  • They may like your company but had a recent negative experience that is holding them back.
  • They may be negative about your company, but their morals or fear of being reprimanded may have prevented them from pressing the score they really wanted to select!
  • They may just be a reserved character who doesn’t naturally have strong opinions either way.
  • They may not trust the anonymity of the eNPS survey.
  • They may simply be moderately happy at work.

This list could go on an on and as you can see, the reasons for a passive falling into this category are vast. But one thing that is certain – passives hold significant opportunity. They act as a bridge between detractors and promoters. If you can understand their decision to score a 7 or 8 you have an opportunity to convert them. And this conversion will be far quicker than those who are detractors. You also have an opportunity to prevent them from becoming a detractor, or from seeking employment elsewhere.

How to motivate passive employees

Whether through further employee surveys, focus groups or one to one conversations, you need to delve deeper into the minds of your passive employees.

Hot tip: With the follow up questions ensure there is no room for neutrality. You need to ask a question that will give a definitive answer. For example, ask “What single thing can we do to increase the likelihood of you recommending our company as a place to work?” rather than asking “Is there anything we can do to improve your experience at work?”. By being much more direct in your questioning, you will get more valuable answers.

When you know more about the reasons it will be time to make changes. For this to be effective you will of course need buy-in from your leadership team. In fact, they need to be onboard before you even embark on your eNPS survey. Without them understanding the benefit or purpose, you will struggle to follow through on any of the points your employees raise. And that is a guaranteed way of disengaging your employees!

The next step is to communicate. Not just the actions you have taken in response to the survey, but the survey results themselves. Transparency will earn respect and trust, particularly within a group of people who may typically be more reserved.

Finally, you may also want to reflect on your company culture. Particularly if you have a large percentage of passives. There could be many underlying factors that are preventing passives from becoming promoters. The little things that just niggle away at people. For example, an expectation to work longer hours or a disparity between team recognition. Even if these are just perceived scenarios, they will have a negative impact. Addressing these blockers and communicating that they have been addressed, will really help your passive employees view your company more positively.

Converting passive employees with the right software

If you would like to discover how our employee survey tools can help you run effective eNPS surveys and gather deeper follow-up insight have a look at our eNPS page and employee survey page for more information.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

I have over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector and have always been heavily involved in internal communication and employee engagement. I firmly believe that with the right engagement strategy in place, an organisation can achieve so much more.

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