Telling it like it is – why we share our eNPS® feedback, unvetted and company-wide

Making scary decisions, Part 1: First in our four-part miniseries, we look at why transparency is important in making SOUTHWORKS a great place to work

In this first article in our four-part miniseries on making scary decisions (or as we also say, making the big decisions needed to manage our hypergrowth as a tech business), we’d like to share our thoughts on our biannual employee net promoter score (eNPS) process, and why we publish the feedback exactly as we receive it with the whole company.

We held our most recent eNPS® this May – eNPS is a method for measuring employee satisfaction, based on the NPS system originally devised by Bain & Company that asks one simple question: How likely are you to recommend the company to a friend or colleague? We then add one further qualifying question: What makes SOUTHWORKS such a great place to work? The “likely to recommend” question, which you probably recognize as a universal favorite of customer surveys, serves as a powerful predictor for employee retention. The second question gives insights into their levels of energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. And as you would expect, the questions are asked anonymously as people tend to give their most honest, candid feedback that way.

This time around, in our fourth year using this process, our score was 54 points, meaning 54% of our employees were willing to recommend SOUTHWORKS while also giving a score of either 9/10 or 10/10.

To put that into context, a score between 10–30 is considered good, while anything over 50 is seen as an extremely positive score that not many companies achieve. Of course it’s nice to receive such positive feedback, but for us the results of our eNPS survey are about measuring progress and using the qualitative feedback to prioritize the initiatives and programs we’ll use to make SOUTHWORKS an even better place to work. And this is why we’ve decided to share, in raw format, the feedback we receive.

This latest score was 17 points higher than last time around, when we scored 37, which shows that turning the qualitative feedback into improvement actions has the power to quickly create demonstrable progress. However, we want to keep on improving life at SOUTHWORKS, and we can do this by understanding sentiment in the neutral scores (7-8). It’s the individuals giving those average scores who are not totally satisfied, and they’re the ones we want to work hard to make happier. Their feedback helps us see whether our initiatives are successful so we can do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t, while also creating the space for dialogue that collectively moves us forward.

This last part is important for our evolution as a company – we want to improve, but it’s not about being reactionary and making sweeping changes just because of one suggestion. It’s about maintaining two-way communication, getting to the bottom of why we’re getting that feedback in some instances, and coming up with solutions that address the root causes without creating new issues for others.

One thing we don’t pay too much attention to is the accepted benchmarks – the only company we ever compare ourselves to is SOUTHWORKS, because as we grow we want to make sure we’re always doing better than six months ago. It’s part of our culture to learn from the feedback we receive and embed this into our way of working so we can keep maintaining and scaling the process as we grow. One way we do this is sharing our survey results across the company – not our leadership’s interpretation of the feedback, but the raw data, just as we receive it (no names, of course). We’re not afraid to do this; in fact, it’s part of our culture of transparency, and we use it to harness the collective power of our team as we constantly improve our way of working.

Want to learn more about working at SOUTHWORKS? Check out our careers page for more about how we work and to see our open positions.