Employee pulse surveys are a more frequent and focused version of traditional employee surveys, which are conducted periodically. These surveys are designed to provide quick and regular insights into employee satisfaction and engagement, allowing organizations to identify and address issues promptly.
So, what makes them so special? And how to conduct pulse surveys effectively? What should be the time taken for each survey and how frequent should it be? Let us find out.
What is Employee Pulse Survey?
Employee pulse surveys are a powerful tool for measuring employee engagement, satisfaction, and overall workplace sentiment. Unlike traditional employee surveys, which are typically conducted on an annual or bi-annual basis, employee pulse surveys are designed to be conducted more frequently, often on a weekly or monthly basis.
This allows organizations to gain real-time insights into employee attitudes and perceptions, to track engagement levels and to identify and address issues on time.
Employee pulse surveys for employee engagement are typically shorter and more targeted than traditional surveys, with a limited number of questions that focus on specific areas of interest. For example, a pulse survey might ask questions about job satisfaction, workload, communication, or the effectiveness of management.
As they are shorter and more focused, they improve employee engagement because pulse surveys can be completed quickly and easily, reducing the burden on employees, and increasing participation and response rates.
To know the pulse survey meaning, you need to understand the key benefit of pulse surveys, which is that they allow organizations to track changes in employee sentiment over time.
By conducting these surveys regularly, managers can identify trends and track progress in areas that are relevant to employees. It can help organizations identify areas of strength and weakness, and to address issues before they become major problems.
In addition to providing insights into the employee experience and sentiment, employee pulse surveys can also be used to solicit feedback and suggestions from employees. This can help to foster a culture of continuous improvement and empower staff to take ownership of their workplace experience.
What does Pulse Surveys Measure?
Pulse surveys measure a variety of factors related to employee engagement, satisfaction, and workplace sentiment. The specific areas that are measured can vary depending on the organization and the goals of the survey, but some common areas include job satisfaction, workload, communication, leadership, recognition and feedback, career growth and professional development opportunities, and overall workplace culture.
By measuring these factors regularly, organizations can gain insights into employee attitudes and perceptions, track changes over time, and identify areas for improvement. It helps increase employee’ engagement levels and satisfaction, reduce turnover, and drive positive change in the workplace.
Also Read: How to Ensure Constructive Feedback for Managers?
Employee Pulse Survey Benefits
There are numerous benefits of undertaking employee pulse surveys. While gathering immediate employee feedback is one of the primary benefits, pulse surveys also provide other excellent advantages for the company, such as:
▸Improved Employee Engagement
Employee pulse surveys help the staff understand their relevance in the company and appreciate the fact that their opinions are valued. Hence, it results in the engagement surveys with a positive impact and improved engagement from them.
Having engaged employees in the organization results in numerous benefits such as improved productivity, satisfied and productive employees, who are passionate about their work. It results in lower turnover employee and higher profitability for the organization.
▸Increased Feedback Relevancy
Since pulse surveys are sent out frequently, the feedback from the surveys is more relevant. These surveys help you understand the organization’s immediate trends since the employees are more likely to provide genuine feedback.
▸Positive Culture Reinforcement
Since the employees understand that their HR department and the management are listening and acting on their feedback, it leads to a positive work culture.
An organization that is listening to its staff can actively boost engagement since the employees understand the support from their management and wish to work longer with their company.
While legacy annual feedback mechanisms such as annual engagement survey provide the company with an overview of the employees’ mindset, pulse surveys can provide meaningful in-depth insights into specific aspects of employee satisfaction.
Since the surveys are purpose-built for understanding a specific component of employee engagement, they can help you measure trends and gain actionable insights which is something better than what annual engagement survey provides.
▸Higher Response Rate
Since employee pulse surveys are short, a higher percentage of employees are inclined to complete them.
Due to the higher response rate of survey respondents, one can gather more valuable insights into employee motivation and satisfaction rate. As a result, employee pulse surveys prove to be highly effective in understanding the pulse of the staff, which is in stark contrast to longer annual employee surveys.
Since HR pulse survey do not require much time to complete, the staff members are more likely to complete them quickly. Moreover, modern pulse surveys can be completed even with a mobile phone, making the process even more seamless for the employee.
Quick and complete pulse surveys also help in avoiding survey fatigue making the surveys highly effective.
▸Early Warning System
Pulse surveys help the company understand the mindset of the staff and realize what should they improve to ensure better employee relations.
As a result, it also acts like an early warning system, that helps the management understand and avoid any impending negative employee outburst.
▸Improved Employee Relations
It also enables better employee relations since the staff can observe the changes being brought about due to their responses.
It acts as a reminder for them that their company values them and is striving to provide the best environment for them to work. It also helps boost their morale and job satisfaction rate.
With the help of pulse surveys, HR can create an environment of open communication, which helps the company culture when employees speak their minds.
They will feel motivated to share their ideas and go a step beyond their normal routine for their company. As a result, it encourages open communication in the company.
7 Steps to Create Helpful Pulse Surveys
Developing an effective employee pulse check survey takes multiple iterations. It is not a one-time process as it requires multiple modifications and optimizations for the staff pulse survey process to be most effective.
Hence, to make it successful, there are several steps required, as follows:
1. Questions Selection
When choosing queries for the pulse survey, you should select somewhere around 5 to 15 questions. It ensures that the queries are quick to answer and the surveys can be finished quickly.
Additionally, the questions should be relevant to the survey goals as the answers to employee survey questions will provide insight into your employees’ collective mindset.
2. Survey Announcement
The surveys should be announced beforehand, as it provides a heads-up for the staff. It helps them prepare themselves to complete the survey successfully.
Additionally, you should also inform the staff about whether the survey is anonymous, and how will the leadership team and company act on their feedback.
3. Survey Implementation
While sharing the survey link, you should ensure that the employees are not bogged down by work.
You may choose to share the link with the official email or the internal social media. You can even share the link via SMS to ensure even remote employees can provide their input.
4. Response Analysis
Once you have collected the responses, you should analyse trend data from the same and understand what is working in the organization and what needs to be changed.
A common reason to undertake pulse surveys is to analyse the trends in the company, and hence, one can also take pulse survey questions to understand which trends are changing and make changes accordingly.
5. Result Share
Once you analyze the employee survey inputs, it needs to be shared with everyone. Sharing results with the staff reinforces their belief in the effectiveness of the survey, and motivates them to provide their input whenever required.
Hence, one should also ensure that the survey results are shared as soon as it is analyzed thoroughly.
6. Act on Feedback
Employee pulse surveys become a waste of time if there is no action taken based on the collected feedback from the employees.
Your staff have provided their honest feedback and they have also understood the collective mindset with the sharing of the results. Hence, they need to observe the changes being implemented to understand their voices are being heard.
7. Survey Reviews
If you are getting mixed signals repeatedly from the survey results, it is time to check on the employee pulse survey itself.
You should review the surveys and check whether there are any ambiguous queries and resolve them. You should also ensure that every query is aligned with the survey goal for maximum engagement survey effectiveness.
Ideal Frequency for Conducting Pulse Surveys
Since employee pulse surveys are quick to implement and conduct, many organizations often overdo them, leading to survey fatigue. Employees may lose interest in completing the surveys if they are too frequent, or they may answer them without much thought, leading to failure.
There are 4 major factors to consider when deciding how often to conduct pulse surveys:
A workplace has a constantly changing environment, and pulse surveys should be conducted considering the frequency and uncertainty of these changes.
For example, employee trends would last for a few weeks, while the employee engagement rate would remain almost stable over a few months.
Since your employees feel the need to observe their opinions being converted into actions, you should also consider how often can you implement the changes while scheduling pulse surveys.
Since any failure or delay in implementing the results causes disengagement, they may be reluctant to complete the newer surveys.
One needs time to implement the actions proposed by the results of employee pulse surveys. While considering the time, you need to factor in the time for reviewing the survey answers, communicate the changes effectively, and set an action plan to implement the required changes.
The frequency of employee pulse surveys should also depend on the other metrics that are usually measured in the organization. For example, if you have annual surveys, you should collate the data from the multiple pulse surveys and find the common trends.
On a side note, companies usually run their reports quarterly and hence, for regular pulse surveys the survey frequency should be set accordingly.
Also Read: Employee Reward System: 5 Factors for Deployment in 2023
7 Best Practices for utilizing Staff Pulse Surveys effectively
To create effective employee pulse surveys with a high completion and average response rate throughout, there are some steps to be followed. Following these steps diligently will result in pulse surveys that provide you with a robust idea about the common trends and the employees’ mindset. Hence, it is advisable to adhere to the following practices to utilize the employee pulse surveys effectively:
1. Be Clear of the Survey Goals
When developing an employee pulse survey, you should be clear about the goals that are fulfilled by the survey. While creating the employee pulse survey questions yourself, you should ask yourself a few questions or queries like, ‘what is the purpose of the employee pulse survey we are creating?’ or, ‘what queries can I ask for fulfilling the survey goals?’. The queries should also be precise to ensure easy answering.
2. Keep the Survey Short
To avoid survey fatigue and related issues such as skewed and biased results, it is essential to keep your surveys short. You should have a maximum of 10 queries in a survey to ensure maximum engagement. Keeping the survey questions to a minimum also ensures faster survey completion, which results in more employees completing it.
3. Frame Queries around Objective
The survey queries should also be framed according to the survey objectives to ensure completion. You can also take a strategic approach by asking generic queries at the beginning and narrowing them to topical ones as you go on. You should also ensure to add action-oriented questions to help the staff understand the changes that are a result of their feedback.
4. Track Required Data
Since gathering information is the primary function of employee pulse surveys, it makes sense to question the staff with yes or no queries to get accurate responses. Also, you should ensure that the queries are concise to ensure they are easy to read and understand. Similarly, if you are gathering feedback on something which happened in the past, it is necessary to think about how long has it been since the event occurred.
5. Ensure Sensible Responses
For getting the most accurate responses, you should provide queries of the same kind. Similarly, you should check whether the options are overlapping and remove them to avoid ambiguity. Similarly, in some queries, there should be options such as ‘not applicable’, or ‘I don’t know’, to ensure that employees are not forced to choose sides. Additionally, you should keep open-ended queries to a minimum.
6. Take Necessary Actions
Once the survey is completed, you should ensure that the responses are validated and a report is generated with the responses. This report can be used for various kinds of analysis, which results in actions that can be taken by the management to better the working conditions of the staff.
7. Share the Change
Once the necessary actions are taken, it is necessary to ensure that the employees are made aware of the same. For example, if you are implementing a new employee policy based on the survey answers, you need to share the same with everyone in the company through appropriate channels such as email, SMS or ESS portal.
The pulse surveys for employees typically consist of a limited number of targeted questions that can be completed quickly and easily by employees. They are often conducted on a weekly or monthly basis, providing real-time data that can help managers track trends and make informed decisions.
By utilizing the 7 best practices mentioned in this article, organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement and drive positive change in the workplace through the effective use of employee pulse surveys.