Of all the multiple options available in measuring a contingent workforce program, there is really one key measurement that can effectively define its performance level: the Net Promoter Score, or NPS. This is a statistical measurement technique that defines the level of loyalty between a product or company and its customers, in this case, the CW program and its stakeholders. High levels of loyalty to a CW program among critical stakeholders inherently delivers strategic support benefits to the program’s mission, goals and objectives.

How so? In a nutshell, an NPS measurement defines how many members of a CW program stakeholder population are promoters and how many are detractors. For any service organization, the goal is to have more promoters than detractors. The final score itself is derived by subtracting the number of detractors from the number of promoters. Potential NPS can run from -100 to +100, with scores of +70 or having more transformative potential simply because there are more stakeholders energetically advocating for a CW program than those criticizing it.

But here’s how this contributes to the effectiveness of the program: NPS measurements are really about stakeholders’ perceptions of the program’s value and how those positive or negative perceptions can impact the CW program. Within programs, stakeholders include engagement managers, staffing partners, contingent workers, managed service partners, vendor management systems as well as the program’s executive sponsors.

Half the Battle

Let’s take a look at CW program adoption, one of the single best indicators of a program’s success. It’s simple: If a majority or a high percentage of engagement managers do not use an organization’s CW program, then it has failed. Program adoption depends on multiple variables specific to workflows, technologies, policies and procedures, to mention a few. Additionally, there are colorations of centralization and organizational culture that determine strong-performing program capability development.

A high NPS creates advocate perspectives that will drive adoption and use of a CW program. Say you begin with a smaller rollout of your program. A successful adoption and subsequent high NPS from that deployment will help you in your subsequent efforts.

But what levers need to be pulled or added, or what noncompetitive barriers need to be removed, to make this happen?

Automated delivery. Your NPS survey strategy should consider frequency and method of delivery. High-performing contingent workforce programs seek constant feedback that requires low effort on the part of the survey taker. Having automated capabilities to deliver your NPS will support higher participation, and thus a higher, more valid, statistical sampling. Many of the top VMS solutions can provide an automated delivery of NPS on a predetermined basis.

A year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter focus on an NPS improvement strategy should help drive improved perceptions of the program and its overall adoption. Obviously, there are many moving parts to a program, but a focus of NPS perception improvements can help place your program and its brand in a position of strength. High-performing contingent workforce programs can offer a competitive advantage to buyer organizations specific to attracting top-level talent as an example.

Brag away. One other important note, a high NPS is driven primarily by execution excellence. But because the NPS is a measurement of customer loyalty, controlling the brand image (internal and external) and narrative concerning the program is also critical to achieving high NPS. One must communicate and market the good deeds and execution excellence delivered by the CW program.

An important note to emphasize, no matter what comparative perspective you use to decide if your NPS is competitive with other high-performing CW management programs, there are more important reasons to want to move your score of +30 to the +50/+70 level. For example, an NPS of +70 with engagement managers means they are promoting CW program adoption; a +70 NPS with contingent workers means they are telling other workers to look forward to an engagement at your company and maybe even publishing positive comments on labor opinion sites such as GlassDoor; and, finally, a +70 NPS from your staffing partners (not the MSP) could mean that they are sending you the best candidates available in the marketplace to your door.

From a beauty contest perspective, it’s nice to have a competitively high CW program NPS, but more important, you want the benefits derived from having a +70 NPS — that should be your target in the long run. Achieving a +70 NPS will go a long way in helping you determine if your program is competitive but it will also directly support the mission and goals of a program based on this brand/execution excellence measurement.