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[Guest Post] Employee NPS: An Early Warning System for Managers

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I’ve talked before about Employee NPS (eNPS) as a great way to collect feedback on how your staff feel about the organisation.

However, as I’m not an expert in organisation design it’s been difficult for me to muster the arguments for replacing or even augmenting the existing very long annual employee engagement surveys so often used by organisations.

But recently I was chatting to Beatrice Hofmeyr, who is an expert in organisation design, and she was just as keen about eNPS, and for the same reasons!

Beatrice agreed to discuss using eNPS and how/why it is so effective.

Take it away Beatrice…

Engaged employees are generally enthusiastic about their work and their company. Happy employees approach the job with energy, which in turn delivers productivity, innovation and customer excellence for the company.

Recently Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is being recognised as a great early warning system for monitoring employee engagement. Annual employee surveys still have an important role to play but in today’s fast moving world early warning systems are critical.

Since April this year I have been researching what the best-performing Australian organisations do to stay on top, and specifically how they manage organisational restructures.

I've created a Business Leaders’ Practical Guide to Implementing Net Promoter.  Download it Here

You Need Two Types of Metrics

From that research I can say organisations that are heads and shoulders above the rest use two key early warning systems to tell leaders when organisational design needs to be reviewed:

  1. Business metrics; and
  2. Employee Engagement Metrics

Keeping their fingers on the pulse of these metrics means that they can make small, quick and effective “tweaks” before a major problem develops. As you can imagine this is much less painful for everyone than big bang organisation structure changes.

My research has also shown that after years of delayering and flattening of Australian organisations, the role of the middle manager has changed significantly. Managers have higher than ever accountability to design their own structures to make their units more efficient and get better results.

On top of this rapid changes in customer expectations, IT systems and the competitive landscape means re-structuring is necessary far more frequently than a decade ago.

The over 40 managers I spoke to felt that they need a more effective early warning system of when things are not working anymore. Everyone has business metrics in some form but business metrics measured together with eNPS make a very powerful combination.

The two combined can become that much needed early warning system.

What is eNPS?

The core eNPS question is

“How likely are you to recommend working at [ABC Company] to a friend or colleague?”

Without going into the detail of survey design and whether one should have extra questions to support the core eNPS question, I see the two key benefits of the eNPS as:

  • Frequent, short surveys: The eNPS is a very simple and short survey which means you can administer it to employees more frequently and with less survey fatigue. I think that a monthly survey to employees on a revolving basis is an excellent way for managers to have their finger on the pulse.
  • Sharing in Real Time: In an eNPS system the emphasis is on sharing feedback as quickly as possible with managers and team leaders. The closer to “real-time” data managers have the data, the quicker they can respond with effective “tweaks” that can quickly make a difference.

Lastly, anonymity is crucial to guarantee to employees that the results will be used appropriately. Without absolute rigour applied to the confidentiality of results eNPS becomes a useless tool.

About Beatrice Hofmeyr

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Dr. Beatrice Hofmeyr’s experience spans 20 years in the fields of Organisational Improvement and Business Transformation, across public and private sector organisations. Beatrice specialises in all aspects of Organisation Design including target operating model design, organisational structure, value stream mapping and performance metric design.

Email Beatrice at beatrice@hofmeyr.com.au.

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