What’s your learning & development initiatives’ Net Promoter Score®?"
What Is Net Promoter Score (NPS®)?
Fred Reichheld, a partner at Bain & Co consultants, is credited with creating a framework known as the Net Promoter Score, or NPS. Reichheld led Bain’s customer loyalty practice in early 2000, and he developed the concept based on decades of field experience in customer market research, advising senior executives on customer loyalty and growth, and publishing literature on the subject.
Initially, NPS was used exclusively as a customer loyalty metric and based on one question, “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” As Reichheld and his team developed the metric into a robust management model, companies across industries benefitted from gaining not only customer loyalty data, but they also were able to tap into product and service gaps and overall company health.
At its core, NPS measures customer experience and predicts business growth. It anchors and details a business’s customer experience management (CEM). When used in conjunction with other metrics collected throughout the customer experience, leadership gains actionable data to improve customer experience performance.
Among its greatest benefits, as noted by Net Promoter Network, is ease of use. It’s easily understood by employees across the organization, thereby engaging them in the customer experience.
Applicability to Learning and Development
In a previous Solutions Arts’ article, Overcoming Evaluation Obstacles, we outlined common barriers associated with Learning and Development (L&D) evaluation and how to overcome them. Among the obstacles we discussed were the limited staff time and required tools to effectively conduct learning transfer evaluation. If we substitute customers for employees, or learners, NPS becomes an effective, simple tool to gauge content value and learning transfer and integration.
NPS How-to for L&D
NPS is more commonly thought of and used in eLearning courses. Inserting an NPS survey at the end of an eLearning course (or via email following the course) is a great first step for many companies to test-drive the application. However, NPS can be applied effectively in other L&D and business initiatives. The following lists examples where companies have used NPS to analyze outcomes, measure integration and application, and improve iterations of future efforts:
Adam Ramshaw outlines five training evaluation questions to launch an initial NPS survey.
Let’s use an example from above to illustrate how to calculate an NPS and define the corresponding terminology.
We’ll use a typical 0–10 Likert scale to define respondent options.
Respondents select their likelihood level and fall into one of three categories:
Promoters respond with a score of 9 or 10 and represent those most likely to recommend the course.
Passives are those respondents who score 7 or 8. They’re unenthusiastic about the course, but unlikely to register disapproval.
Detractors fall within the 0–6 range and may actively devalue the course.
To calculate the NPS, subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. For example, if 75% of respondents were Promoters and 10% were Detractors, the NPS would be 65. The NPS can range from a low of -100 (if every learner is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every learner is a Promoter).
NPS isn’t designed or best applied as the only evaluation tool in L&D’s toolkit. It is one assessment tool that can easily be adopted and adapted in L&D’s evaluation strategy. If the goal is to gradually shift the organization to a data-driven environment to inform leadership, business goals, and initiatives and capture learner feedback, NPS offers opportunities to collect and analyze data in a simple format across the organization.
 Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.
 NPS History. (n.d.). Retrieved December 01, 2017, from https://www.wootric.com/net-promoter-score/nps-history/
 Ramshaw, A. (2017, September 27). The 5 Training Survey Questions You Must Include. Retrieved February 02, 2018, from https://www.genroe.com/blog/training-survey-questions/11413
Our clients and the training community ask us questions and often consistent themes emerge. From making learning stick to developing skills we once assumed every employee possessed, the challenges today’s businesses face can be transformed through a strong learning culture.
Every year, the learning and development industry presents exciting developments, time-saving innovations, and new research. Solutions Arts follows and tests theories, practices, and technologies, and our clients benefit from what we learn. We value sharing what we learn and the opportunity to discuss it here on our blog.