Burnout impacts professionals in all industries, but it’s becoming particularly rampant in health care, with providers and administrators constantly struggling to juggle insurance and documentation requirements with business operations and patient needs. As a team lead, manager, or clinic owner, you undoubtedly want to protect your staff from burnout—while also optimizing their performance to maximize revenue. After all, your therapists won’t have a practice to work in if you don’t earn enough money to keep the lights on—and your patients won’t have access to quality care without therapists who are engaged in their work. Essentially, you want to maintain an efficient patient flow without overstuffing therapist schedules. It’s a balancing act that transcends outdated productivity metrics—and it’s absolutely crucial to your success. The good news? There are alternative metrics you can track to help you set the right patient load for your therapists; that way, both your patients’ and your providers’ needs are being met. One such metric: Employee Net Promoter ScoreⓇ (eNPSⓇ). What is eNPS, you ask? Keep reading to learn all about it.

eNPS is a version of NPS.

We’ve talked about NPS before—and that’s because we’re huge proponents of it, both for clinic use with patients and company use with employees. In fact, collecting and acting on the feedback you receive from an internal eNPS process can help you find your practice’s patient-load sweet spot (among other actionable insights). Here’s what you need to know about the process:

eNPS divides respondents into three groups: promoters, passives, and detractors.

If you’re not already familiar with eNPS, here’s the gist: At regular intervals, you’ll send your employees a note asking them, on a scale of 0 to ten, how likely they are to recommend your practice as a place to work (confidentially and anonymously, of course). Then, you’ll leave plenty of room to collect open-ended, detailed feedback about their numbered response. (There are tons of free or low-cost tools you can use to distribute NPS surveys. Here’s one example.) Employees who provide a score of 0 through six are considered detractors and—in addition to being unhappy at work—may be actively looking for another job. Employees who score a seven or eight (a.k.a. passives) may be satisfied with their job, but not particularly loyal to your practice. And employees who score a nine or ten (a.k.a. promoters) are most likely happy with your practice. Given that most of your staff enjoy staying busy—up to a healthy point—and want to serve their patients well, we can assume that promoters aren’t burned out.

The open-ended answer section is key.

Knowing your promoter-passive-detractor distribution is a great place to start in ensuring the majority of your providers are pleased with working at your practice—and are thus most likely satisfied with their current level of responsibility. However, the real juicy information will come from the open-answer feedback. After all, that’s where you’ll learn exactly why your detractors and passives aren’t more pumped to be affiliated with your organization. For example, if you see comments about feeling too much pressure, not being able to provide adequate care to patients, feeling burdened by productivity metrics, not having time to take care of personal needs during the day, or having a jam-packed schedule, you’ll know it’s high-time you pull back on caseloads, bring on a new staff member, or otherwise help your providers out.

Implementing eNPS at regular intervals will help you identify trends.

And, because you’ll be implementing this process at regular intervals, you’ll also be able to track your practice’s progress on the burnout front—and your employees’ response to organizational changes such as new hires, management swaps, and seasonal patient fluctuations. These types of trends can help you better prepare for things coming down the pipeline, either by adding personnel, shifting staff members between different locations, or even just opening up the floor to dialogue immediately following a change announcement. In other words, with this type of data at your fingertips, you’ll be able to get ahead of burnout before it spreads. And it does. After all, if one provider goes down because of burnout, the others must pick up his or her workload, which means it won’t be long before the whole practice falls victim to burnout as well.

The purpose of eNPS is to get a baseline and make improvements.

Remember: The purpose of using eNPS to collect this type of data is to ultimately make improvements to your practice for the benefit of your staff and patients. Thus, it’s imperative that you:

  • Respect the anonymous nature of the process, even if you’re in a small practice or you have a guess as to which employee provided specific feedback (unless, of course, the employee knowingly provides his or her name).
  • Respond to individual feedback as quickly as possible—and use trends to make operational changes to address employee questions and concerns, especially those related to burnout. If you ask someone their opinion, they’re going to expect you to acknowledge it.
  • Develop a system and/or adopt software that enables you to administer, track, and act on eNPS at regular, consistent intervals. That way, you have a baseline, and you can track your progress as you implement strategies for improvement.

There you have it: the surprising metric that will help you set the right patient load is eNPS, and—bonus!—tracking and monitoring eNPS can help you obtain a whole lot of insights into the health of your practice and the happiness of your employees. Have you implemented eNPS yet? If so, tell us your experience with it in the comment section below.