What REALLY Matters to Employees?

Last week, I talked about employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), why it is important, what the TaskUs eNPS methodology is and how we have created an employee-centric culture that results in consistently high employee satisfaction scores. Today our eNPS score of 63 is on par with Apple, Harley-Davidson and Lego - the companies that set the bar for employee engagement - and our eNPS scores are unrivaled in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

What Does (and Doesn't) Matter to Employees?

Employees have not always been happy at TaskUs. In our first ever eNPS survey we earned a score of 4. This was a massive wake up call to our leadership team. We figured our primary responsibility in doing an eNPS survey was to listen to what employees said and then act on their feedback quickly. After the survey, we realized we had more work to do than we could have ever imagined. But before we took action, we needed to understand the data, and we started studying it to uncover the factors that led employees to be promoters.

We took a dozen factors that we believed might make employees more satisfied, surveyed our employees on these and analyzed the data to see their impact. Surprisingly, we found most of these factors had little to no impact on eNPS. For example, we found that base wage, variable compensation, company tenure and shift schedule all had zero correlation with the likelihood that someone would recommend TaskUs as a place to work.

So what did matter? The top four factors that made employees more likely to be promoters of TaskUs were:

1. Commute Time. In the Philippines, it is not uncommon for employees to travel two hours to work, each way. We found employees with a 25-minute or shorter commute were 27% more likely to be promoters than those with a longer commute time. As a result, we now screen all applicants for commute times that are 25 minutes or less (in the markets where we are legally allowed to do so), all other things being equal.

2. Product Affinity. Most companies in our space support big conglomerate companies. These faceless corporate behemoths are tough to relate to and even tougher to work for.  At TaskUs, we support products and services that our employees use everyday. That is good because we found that employees who support brands for which they have an affinity are 11% more likely to be promoters. This includes things like mobile apps, social media services and ride-sharing companies. TaskUs teammates use the applications they support. In fact, we have two teammates who met their significant others on Tinder and they support the Tinder campaign at TaskUs!

3. Involved in a Company Club. We also found that employees who are involved in a company club and organizations outside of their daily work are 24% more likely to be a promoter. We invest in all sorts of company groups and clubs - from dance squads to chess clubs - and we foster as much team bonding outside of daily work as possible.

4. Favorable View of Their Team Lead. Not surprisingly, the most important factor in employee satisfaction is the employee's relationship with their manager. There is an almost 1:1 correlation between eNPS and the employee's view of their manager. In other words, every point higher an employee rates their manager on a scale of 1-10, translates to a one point increase in that employee's eNPS score. This is also the most difficult metric to improve and does not just mean investing in nice facilities or benefits. Knowing the power of this metric, we have invested heavily in our proprietary Team Leader Academy to equip our front line managers with the skills they need to build the right relationship with their employees.

Interpreting the Data

Once you have your eNPS survey data in hand, remember that it is both quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative results are fairly straightforward, while the qualitative results take time and effort to understand. As an example, commute time is easy to quantify and solve, but the benefits derived from being a member of a group or club are far less tangible and require further analysis.

The best way to approach the qualitative results is to look for consistent patterns in the comments, find what employees like best and invest in those things. As an example, you may find that groups and clubs turn detractors and passives into promoters and help promoters stay engaged. You may also find that something like a continuing education series appeals more to your employees, so the important thing is to find what works for your organization.

A Common Trend in eNPS

An interesting trend we often see in our survey results is verbatim comments that do not always align with what TaskUs knows leads to higher employee engagement. There are always statistical outliers, and as the quote from poet John Lyndgate goes, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."  Always bear in mind that an employee-centric culture is about creating an environment where employees thrive in their professional lives. It is not about giving everyone everything they want all the time.

Up Next

Once you launch an eNPS survey, you will have lots of information about what your employees value most. You will also get comments from employees that don't actually match with things that research has proven to lead to higher employee satisfaction. Next week I will talk about the things that don't matter, and the results will surprise you.

Bryce Maddock

CEO and Founder
July 18, 2017