Measuring How We’re Doing


NPS – Measuring how we’re doing with our largest group of stakeholders

In December 2011 the Ian Martin Group became a certified B Corporation. What’s a B Corporation again? You can read Tim’s post on the topic, but to sum it up, B(enefit) corporations operate the same as traditional corporations but with higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency.

Our corporate purpose at the Ian Martin Group is to “Build authentic connections around meaningful work”, so the stakeholders that we live out this purpose with most are our clients and candidates. We want to create benefit for them, and to do that we need to provide them with excellent service. We need to ensure we are always matching great candidates with great jobs, so that both our clients and our candidates win.

It’s one thing to state it, but to be a B Corporation you must also walk the talk. So, we decided to start measuring our client and candidate experience.

In order to do it in a statistically valid and objective way, we decided to work with Inavero to conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey of our clients and our candidates.

What is the Net Promoter Score?

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple metric that is based on a two question survey that is given to both our clients and our candidates to gauge satisfaction. The first question asks them how likely they are to recommend the Ian Martin Group to a friend or colleague. The second question is a follow-up open-ended question that asks them to explain the reason behind the score they provided. Inavero has strict rules to ensure that you don’t filter out respondents that may not say what you want to hear – you have to send 100% of all your contacts that have worked with you in the last 3 months.

Survey respondents are broken into 3 categories, depending on what score they provided for the recommend question:

Promoters – respondents that answer a 9 or 10 to the ‘recommend question’ represent your firm’s strongest allies and are most likely promoting your firm to others.

Passives – respondents that answer a 7 or 8 to the ‘recommend question’ represent clients/candidates that are indifferent to your firm.

Detractors – respondents that answer with a 6 or below represent clients/candidates that are at serious risk of taking their business elsewhere.

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by taking the % of promoters minus the % of detractors.

So how does this one question measure our purpose?

The thinking behind the simple question is that if a client or candidate is willing to promote a company to their friends, family, and colleagues, then it’s one of the best indicators of loyalty and satisfaction.  When they act as reference for the Ian Martin Group, they do more than indicate that they’ve received good value from us; they put their own reputations on the line.

How did we do?

The staffing industry isn’t known for having great NPS scores. The actual average NPS from clients in the industry is an abysmal 17% and it’s been on a steady decline. We believe it comes from the focus on just getting “bums in seats” versus taking the time to ensure that the job will be meaningful to the candidate.

That’s why we’re proud to say that Ian Martin Group NPS scores were more than double the industry standard! We rated an average NPS of 67.5% with our clients and 64.4% with our talent. Below is a snapshot of how both scores were calculated:


To give you an understanding of where we sit amongst other organizations measured by Inavero, a 45% NPS score is pretty average. Anything below that mark shows a considerable opportunity for improvement. Scores between 50 and 65 percent are above average, but still fairly common. However, scores of 65% or higher are truly exceptional, and rare. To give you an idea of what other industries experience, passengers on Southwest Airlines give the company a 51% NPS and Harley Davidson recently received an 81% score.

Because of our score, both the Ian Martin Group and 500 Staffing were recently named to the Best of Staffing List. Winning the award wasn’t the goal of this survey, but it was definitely the icing on the cake!! Less than 1% of all staffing agencies in North America earned the 2013 Best of Staffing award, so we belong to a small group of companies dedicated to providing an exceptional permanent and temporary talent experience.



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