Over time, measuring employee engagement and producing a Net Promoter Score (NPS) for employees have been large part of how many organisations measure culture. While they’re increasingly being replaced by deeper insights, with an appreciation of complex systems, and a more nuanced understanding of strengths-based approaches to drive more direct and impactful actions, they are still important in some contexts. For example, they are still often hardwired into executive remuneration. So, we’ve heard the feedback, and have updated our mwah. Culture Dashboard to include these scores to bridge the gap between current applications and emerging ones.
Here’s some history and an outline of the differences.
Engagement – from 1994
In 1990, William Khan wrote his engagement theory, “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work.” In that paper, Kahn identified three main factors that can effect how much an employee can meaningfully connect with a company’s culture, mission and the day-to-day tasks of their role. The three were ‘safety’ (evolving from the original on work psychological safety from the 1940s), ‘meaningful work’, and ‘availability’ (which was largely physical environment of the work, and accessibility to the worker).
From there, it was often substituted in place of productivity, as there was an accepted line drawn between being ‘engaged’ to contributing well.
Formally, scoring employee engagement kicked off in 1994.
Since then, there’s been a thousand models. 3 factors, 4 factors, 5 factors and 7 factors, and there’s no perfect answer.
Type ‘employee engagement’ into google, and you’ll have 526,000,000 responses in just .33 seconds.
Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) – from 2003
The origins of NPS is an article by business strategist, Frederick Reichheld, titled “the One Number You Need to Grow”. It was externally focused on sales and marketing, not on employees.
In that article he wrote, “The path to sustainable, profitable growth begins with creating more promoters and fewer detractors and making your net-promoter number transparent throughout your organization. This number is the one number you need to grow. It’s that simple and that profound.”
Gradually that idea moved across to employees – if we measure customers like this, we can measure employees too – and we had the Employee Net Promoter Score, or eNPS for short.
Scoring and applauding your advocates and ambassadors, but understanding that every detractor carries the reciprocal negative impact and quells your business of the voices of your champions.
Both Engagement and eNPS are valuable for benchmarking, and if you’re at the beginning of your work on culture, that can be very important. As you start to engage the Board or Executive in culture work, benchmarking can be a good place to start – “we’re better or worse than xyz”.
Complex Systems Measurement
Of course, we’d argue that in the age of big data, and a far deeper understanding of the complex human system that is organisational culture, we should use complex system measurement wherever possible.
Understanding all the perspectives, elements, networks and angles, means you can line culture up to your customers, your team, your work, and your strategy. You can make sure you have the culture that delivers the right environment for the right team to do the work that matters most in the best possible way.
Hence, we built the Culture Dashboard.
Predominantly, the feedback on needing an Engagement and NPS, came from the HR people in our client group and across the community. With these scores often intertwined into executive remuneration and board reporting, it needed to be readily and easily available.
So, we listened and it’s there.
As of this week, we have Engagement and eNPS are available as additional indices on our mwah. Culture Dashboard.
Of course, we took both up a notch, basing the scoring on the best possible research, and some incredibly cool and engaging visualisations.
And, as you’d expect, both can ‘talk’ to all other aspects of the Dashboard – so fully integrated data, ensuring you have ready internal access to consider unique teams, geographies, cohorts, and issues.
Next cab off the rank is Psychological Safety and Psycho-Safety Risk Indices.
We again took the feedback about needing data based on the best possible research, enabling the most practical and impactful actions.
Both are deep in test with key clients right now, and will be released in early 2024.