What's the difference: Favorable vs Non-favorable / eNPS approach?

What are the pros and cons of a eNPS approach in computation (i.e. 5 being a promoter, 1-3 being detractors) vs. the engagement surveys that cultureamp anchors on and what are the pros & cons?

Hi Shirly!

Jared here from the Culture Amp support team. Although I am not one of our wonderful People Scientists, I thought I might start the conversation around your question with the foundational reason as to why we measure Engagement the way that we do at Culture Amp.

Because of its complexity, engagement is best understood through a series of questions in a survey rather than a single question. Culture Amp’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Jason McPherson says, “In general, statisticians agree that well-constructed, multiple-item indicators are more reliable and tend to provide better external validity than single-question metrics.” In other words, asking a handful of questions on a specific topic will give you a more reliable and clear picture of what’s going on rather than just asking, “How satisfied are you at work?”. This is the reason we use our 5 engagement questions as our core measurement at Culture Amp.

The Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) was long regarded as the go-to metric for measuring employee engagement and typically consists of a single question about whether someone would recommend their company as a great place to work. While this is valuable information, recommendation on its own doesn’t capture everything about engagement. It’s important to get a holistic view of what different factors influence engagement so action planning is based on the whole picture and relevant data.

However, the recommendation question often used as part of measuring eNPS is one of the 5 engagement questions which means we can enable the eNPS calculation on this question in your Culture Amp results (calculated on a 5 point scale) and work with both approaches. This can be great if you might need to compare to a previous survey that used eNPS or are just interested in what it might be to add additional colour to your results.

Dr Jason went into a great deal of detail on the topic of eNPS and how it stacked up to our own approach to Engagement on the following blog post which might be helpful in answering your question as well: Understanding the employee net promoter score (eNPS) | Culture Amp

It would be great to hear from people across the community who may have used one or both of these approaches and what their experience has been.

When you have a large enough org, where quantitative analysis of engagement results can be statistically significant, I see value in assessing the impact of a set of inputs/drivers on a single/small set of outcome metrics. This is a really powerful example of that.

That being said, I see some real challenges with eNPS as that outcome metric.
Even in its original “customer” context, the intrinsic value of NPS is rather questionable and many organizations are using it simply because it has a well-established benchmark.
Furthermore, the direct translation of NPS from the “customer” domain to the “employee” domain, ignores the fundamental differences between customers and employees. While the metaphor of thinking about employees as customers is a useful source of inspiration for improving the employee experience, actually treating them as customers can be rather harmful.