Start Taking Pulse Surveys and Keep Employees Engaged

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Pulse surveys are one of the most efficient ways of not only improving employee engagement in a workforce but of quantifying how measures taken to keep workers more engaged are working out. As such, they constitute a highly effective business tool that can help to drive productivity rates, make a diverse workforce more cohesive and lower the business costs associated with high rates of staff turnover. 

If you want to drive up employee engagement within your organisation or would simply like to know where you currently stand from your workforce’s perspective, then pulse surveys should be a big part of the picture. What are they, how do they work and what outcomes can organisations that invest in them expect?

What Are Pulse Surveys?

Pulse surveys are so-called because they are a relatively straightforward way of checking on the ‘pulse’ of an organisation. Rather like a quick medical check-up, they don’t involve in-depth analysis or lengthy questionnaires that workers will need to take a significant amount of time out of their working days to complete. Instead, they can often be conducted within a few minutes, rather like taking someone’s pulse. As such, they don’t necessarily provide business decision-makers with all the metrics they might need to think strategically about the future of an organisation. However, they are very good at providing a snapshot of how a company, corporate division or a government department is faring in terms of employee engagement.

This is because typical pulse surveys will ask questions about how engaged – or otherwise – workers feel in their jobs. A combination of open questions, such as, “How would you describe your level of engagement in your job?” can be used alongside employee ratings, like, “Please score yourself from 1 to 5 on how engaged you feel in your job.” Either way, it is possible for senior executives and managers to ascertain what level of engagement their average employee feels with their workload. 

Even better, you can use them to ask whether they feel more or less engaged than the last time they were asked, so you can determine the direction of travel. Typically, pulse surveys will be conducted multiple times throughout the year. Some organisations use them to measure employee engagement quarterly but it is just as common for them to be used every month and even weekly in some cases.

How Do Pulse Surveys Differ From Employee Feedback Polls?

Pulse surveys provide a brief overview and cover a few topics only, including employee engagement, levels of satisfaction and so on. Full employee feedback surveys and questionnaires, on the other hand, tend to be more in-depth covering a much wider range of enquiries. These are typically conducted once or maybe twice a year and will produce many more sets of data than a pulse survey would. With pulse surveys, it is usual to ask the same questions – or almost the same ones – each time a survey is conducted so direct response comparisons can be made between the most recent one and its predecessors.

What Does Undertaking a Pulse Survey Involve?

According to WorkBuzz, an employee feedback specialist that provides an online platform for questioning workers about their feelings, it is the anonymity that makes for a successful pulse survey. In other words, you cannot expect employees to volunteer how engaged they feel with their employer and their role if you ask them directly. Often, they’ll feel that they need to ‘say the right thing’ or that their response might reflect badly on them if they’re too open. By anonymising responses, workers can tell you straight what frustrates them even if this is something they wouldn’t reveal to their line manager.

Moreover, senior managers will be able to tailor the questions that are put to workers, as well. Some generic questions are always a good idea but asking something specific can help all organisations, both large and small, to understand where they stand with employee engagement. If a brand value of a company is ‘trustworthiness’, for example, then asking employees how much faith they have in their employer’s dependability would be a good idea.

The Benefits of Pulse Surveys

Pulse surveys allow employers to understand how engaged their workforce is and to gather metrics that will mean subsequent decision making becomes easier. Crucially, they allow managers to measure how effective their decisions have been in making employees feel more engaged. This way, productivity can be boosted with fewer working days missed due to absenteeism, stress and people seeking employment elsewhere.


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