HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Pulse Survey
Are you interested in a cost-effective, real-time solution for employee engagement, lifecycle insights and a way to attract and retain top talent? Read on to learn about pulse surveys and their ability to improve performance, increase engagement and drive growth.

What Is a Pulse Survey?

A pulse survey is a type of survey that is conducted frequently and regularly, usually weekly or monthly, to quickly gather feedback from employees, customers or other stakeholders on specific topics. Unlike traditional surveys, pulse surveys are shorter and more targeted, with only a few questions focused on a particular issue or area of interest.

Why Are Pulse Surveys Beneficial?

Pulse surveys are beneficial because they provide organizations with timely, relevant and actionable feedback that can help improve performance, increase engagement and drive growth.
  • Real-time feedback. The purpose of pulse surveys is to provide real-time insights into how people feel or what they experience. This can be useful for identifying areas for improvement, tracking progress over time and making data-driven decisions.
  • Actionable insights. Pulse surveys are often used by organizations to monitor employee engagement, measure customer satisfaction or gather feedback on specific initiatives or events.
  • Quick and efficient. Because pulse surveys are conducted on a regular basis, they can also help identify trends and changes in perceptions or attitudes over time.
  • Cost-effective. Pulse surveys are often conducted online, which makes them a cost-effective way to gather feedback from a large number of respondents.

Best Practices for Designing an Effective Pulse Survey

Designing an effective pulse survey requires careful planning and consideration of several factors. Here are some tips to help you design an effective pulse survey that provides valuable insights and helps you achieve your goals.

Identify Your Goals

Before you start designing your pulse survey, you need to identify your goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with this survey? What specific areas do you want to measure or improve? Having clear goals will help you create targeted questions to provide the insights you need.

Keep It Short

Pulse surveys are meant to be short and focused, so keep your survey to a few key questions that will provide the most important insights. You want to make it easy for respondents to complete the survey and ensure a high response rate. The most important insights that can be obtained from a pulse survey center around the following key areas:
  • Employee engagement. Pulse surveys can be an effective way to gauge employee engagement and satisfaction levels. Consider asking questions about job satisfaction, work-life balance, and opportunities for growth and development.
  • Company culture. Understanding the company culture is critical for employees to feel a sense of belonging, understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture, and drive employee satisfaction. Ask about values, sense of belonging, social connection with co-workers, etc.
  • Communication. Effective communication is essential for maintaining a productive and positive work environment. Consider asking questions about communication channels, frequency of communication, and the effectiveness of communication from leadership.
  • Performance feedback. Feedback is an essential aspect of growth and development for employees. Consider asking questions about how employees receive feedback, the frequency of feedback, and whether feedback is helpful in improving their work.
  • Well-being. Employee well-being is critical to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce. Consider asking questions about stress levels, work-life balance, and support for mental and physical health.
  • Diversity and inclusion. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential for creating a fair and equitable workplace. Consider asking questions about employees' perceptions of diversity and inclusion, opportunities for growth and advancement, and experiences with bias and discrimination.
  • Customer satisfaction. For a customer pulse survey, consider asking questions about product or service satisfaction, brand perception, customer service experiences, and the likelihood of recommending the product or service to others.

Choose the Right Questions

The questions you ask should be relevant to your goals and objectives. Make sure they are clear and easy to understand, and avoid leading or biased questions. Some example questions are:
  • This job is in alignment with my career goals.
  • My work gives me a sense of accomplishment.
  • My job gives me a chance to learn and grow.

Use Rating Scales

Rating scales can be a useful way to gather quantitative data and provide a clear picture of how people feel about a particular issue. Use a scale that is appropriate for your questions, such as a Likert scale or a numerical scale.

Consider Open-Ended Questions

While closed-ended questions can provide quantitative data, open-ended questions provide qualitative insights and valuable feedback. Consider including one or two open-ended questions in your survey to allow respondents to provide additional feedback or share their thoughts. An example of some open-ended questions are:
  • What do you enjoy most/least about your company?
  • What can the company do better to make things better?
  • Is there anything preventing you from doing your job well?

Test Your Survey

Before you launch your pulse survey, test it with a small group of people to ensure that the questions are clear and easy to understand. This will help you identify any issues and make improvements before sending the survey to a larger group.

Analyze the Results

Once you collect your survey responses, analyze the results to identify trends, areas for improvement and opportunities for growth. Use the insights you gain to make data-driven decisions and take action to improve your organization.

Tips for Analyzing and Acting on Pulse Survey Results

Executing on survey data involves taking action based on the insights gained from the survey. By following the steps below, you can execute on survey data effectively and make positive changes in your organization. Remember to communicate and involve relevant stakeholders throughout the process to ensure everyone is aligned and engaged in the improvement process.

Define Clear Objectives

Before conducting a pulse survey, it's essential to define the objectives of the survey. What do you want to achieve? What are the key questions you need to answer? Having a clear objective will help you design effective survey questions and analyze the results more effectively.

Keep the Survey Short and Focused

Pulse surveys are typically shorter than traditional surveys and should be focused on a specific topic or theme. Keep the questions simple and easy to understand, and limit the number of questions to avoid survey fatigue.

Analyze the Data

Once you collect the survey data, it's essential to analyze it carefully. Look for patterns and trends in the data, and identify any significant changes or areas of concern. Consider using data visualization tools to make it easier to interpret.

Set Goals and Prioritize Actions

Based on the survey results, set goals for improvement and prioritize actions that will address the most pressing issues. For example:
  • If employees consistently express dissatisfaction with the work environment, consider making changes to improve the space or provide additional resources.
  • If your pulse survey reveals that communication is an issue, take steps to improve it. Consider implementing regular team meetings, setting up a communication platform, or providing additional training on effective communication.
  • If the pulse survey reveals that employees are experiencing high levels of stress or poor work-life balance, consider providing additional support. This could include offering flexible work arrangements, additional resources for mental health, or wellness programs.

Develop an Action Plan

Develop a plan of action that outlines the steps you will take to achieve your goals. Assign responsibilities and set deadlines for each action item. See the following steps for an example of how to create an action plan based on survey data:

Identify the Issues

Review the data from the pulse survey to identify the key issues contributing to the dissatisfaction with the work environment. In this example, the survey results reveal that employees are dissatisfied with the level of collaboration and communication within the organization.

Prioritize the Issues

Determine which issue is most critical and should be addressed first. In this example, addressing the issue of collaboration is identified as the top priority.

Develop an Action Plan

To address the issue of collaboration, the following steps are taken:
  • Establish cross-functional teams. Form teams of employees from different departments or functions to work on projects together. This will help break down silos and encourage collaboration.
  • Provide training. Offer training sessions on effective communication and collaboration to all employees. This will help employees develop the skills they need to work effectively in teams.
  • Encourage open communication. Schedule regular meetings and check-ins to encourage open communication and keep employees informed about what's happening in the organization.
  • Use technology. Implement collaboration tools such as project management software or communication platforms to make it easier for employees to work together.

Communicate the Plan

Communicate the action plan to employees, making sure to outline the specific steps that will be taken to address the issue of collaboration. Encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Implement the Plan

Take action on the plan, making changes and improvements as needed. Monitor progress over time and make adjustments as necessary.

Follow Up With Employees

Following the implementation of the action plan, follow up with employees to gather feedback on the changes made. This will help you determine whether the changes were effective in improving collaboration and identifying any additional areas that need to be addressed.

Share the Results

Share the results of the pulse survey with relevant stakeholders, such as senior management, team leaders or employees. Communicate the results clearly and concisely, highlighting key insights and any actions that will be taken as a result. Ensure they understand the goals, priorities and action items.

Take Action

The most important part of conducting a pulse survey is taking action based on the results. Use the insights gained from the survey to make changes or improvements to processes, policies or practices. Be transparent about the actions taken and communicate any changes to relevant stakeholders. Monitor progress and adjust the plan as needed.

Measure the Impact

Conducting regular pulse surveys can help organizations track progress and identify any new issues or concerns. Follow up on the actions taken and continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the changes made are effective and sustainable.

Continuously Review and Improve

Surveys should be an ongoing process, and improvements should be continuously reviewed and updated based on feedback and new data.

How to Implement Pulse Surveys at Your Organization

Implementing a pulse survey in the workplace can be a valuable tool for gathering employee feedback and improving organizational performance. By following these steps, you can successfully implement a pulse survey and gain valuable insights into your organization's employee engagement and satisfaction. It's important to use the data gathered to take action and make meaningful changes.

Step 1: Define Objectives

Determine what you hope to achieve with your pulse survey. This could include improving employee engagement, identifying areas for improvement or tracking progress towards specific goals.

Step 2: Choose a Survey Tool

There are many survey tools available, such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform. Choose one that best fits your needs and is easy for employees to access and complete.

Step 3: Develop Survey Questions

Keep your survey brief and focused on the objectives you identified. Consider using a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions to get both quantitative and qualitative data.

Step 4: Determine Survey Frequency

Decide how often you want to administer your pulse survey. Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly surveys are common.

Step 5: Communicate With Employees

Let your employees know about the survey, its purpose and the frequency. Be clear about the anonymity of the survey and how you will use the results to improve the workplace.

Step 6: Collect and Analyze Data

Once you collect responses, analyze the data to identify trends, areas for improvement and opportunities for recognition and reinforcement.

Step 7: Take Action

Share the survey results with employees and use them to make improvements to the workplace. Be sure to communicate with employees about any changes that are made based on the survey results.

Step 8: Repeat

Pulse surveys should be conducted regularly to measure progress and continually improve the workplace.
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Katie Potter, MAIOP

Katie Potter, MAIOP

Katie is an executive People & Talent leader with strong demonstration of building and scaling HR teams from startups to corporate teams. She has experience in building strong, globally focused culture & inclusion across remote, hybrid and onsite teams with a strong passion for people, engagement, & talent development.
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