To retain workers in a tight labor market, agricultural employers are investing millions in everything from healthcare to housing. But how do you know how to target your limited resources at the areas that will have the biggest impact on retention?

The Net Promoter Score was introduced by Fred Reicheld in 2003 after several years of customer satisfaction research. Reicheld found that not only could you reduce your customer satisfaction surveys to a single question, but you could also use it to predict growth. “In fact, in most of the industries that I studied, the percentage of customers who were enthusiastic enough to refer a friend or colleague—perhaps the strongest sign of customer loyalty—correlated directly with differences in growth rates among competitors.”

The Net Promoter Score question is, “How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend?”

We wondered whether this simple, powerful metric could be used to effectively measure employee satisfaction, not just customer satisfaction?

A study and Tedx Talk by Alex Edmans that looked at how employee satisfaction influences financial performance found that “firms with high employee satisfaction outperform their peers by 2.3% to 3.8% per year in long-run stock returns – 89% to 184% cumulative – even after controlling for other factors that drive returns. Moreover, the results suggest that it’s employee satisfaction that causes good performance, rather than good performance allowing a firm to invest in employee satisfaction.”

Edman’s study used results from a 57-questions survey, including credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. It’s unlikely that one could reduce that survey to a single question and expect similar results. But in the spirit of not letting “perfect” be the enemy of “good,” if you’re currently not measuring frontline employee satisfaction at all, we think the Net Promoter Score (NPS), along with two key follow-up questions, is a great place to start. This is the classic NPS question:

"How likely are you to recommend this employer to a friend?"

Respondents are asked to rank their response from 0 (Not at all likely) to 10 (Extremely likely). Those ranking you a 9 or 10 are your “promoters,” those ranking you 7 or 8 are “passives,” and those ranking you 6 and below are “detractors.” To get your NPS score, subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters.

Then, to gather actionable data from this survey, Bruce Temkin recommends you follow up with two more open-ended questions:

“Why?”

and

“What would it take to raise our score by just one point?” (if the number is lower than 10)

Then, analyze your results. Shep Hyken recommends asking yourself these questions:

“What is causing promoters to give you the nine or 10? What do the detractors dislike about your company or the service? What are the people in the middle, the passives, passive about: the service, product, etc.? What drives a promoter is likely to be different than what might turn around a detractor. And, don’t just focus on fixing the detractors. Temkin says, ‘By focusing on what causes promoters, you will get the opportunity to engage the organization in uplifting discussions – instead of just beating the drum about what’s broken.’”

As powerful as these results could be, Temkin cautions, “Instead of obsessing about the specific metric being used, companies need to obsess about the system they put in place to make changes based on what they learn from using the metric.” 

If you’re looking for a cheap and effective way to survey hundreds of Spanish-speaking workers, test out our new survey tool in the Ganaz app. You can test it out for free with up to five workers (or try it on your friends!), then it’s $1/worker/month after that with unlimited messaging (including map location sharing) and the ability to discontinue anytime. We’d love to hear what you think and how we can improve it!

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