The Importance of Pulse Surveys

Across the globe, there is a large and growing interest from organizations in adopting employee pulse surveys. So what are they exactly, and what benefits can you expect to receive from using them? What should you ask before you start, and what makes a successful survey?

Employee pulse surveys are a relatively recent phenomenon, gaining interest from companies both big and small, across a wide range of industries in many countries in the last five years or so.

Everything You Need to Know About Employee Pulse Surveys

An employee pulse survey is a survey that is short, and very specific.

A pulse survey should be about 5-10 questions long, and be focused on a specific area forimprovement.

Just like any other survey though, remember, if you’re not ready to act, then don’t bother. Acting on pulse surveys is even more important because they happen so quickly. Since they’re focused on a specific area for improvement, you should, in theory, be ready to act in that area.

Since the survey is so short, you can send it out everyweek. Try to vary the question each week, but keep in mind that some questionsmake sense to be asked over and over to measure trends over time.

For example, a question like “how happy are you at workthis week” makes sense to be asked, in theory, every week to see if there areany changes.

  • Why Invest In Employee Pulse Surveys

There are many known benefits of employee pulse surveys, mostlyfound in employee engagement, improved company culture, and the like. Thebenefits, in detail, include; 

Near real-time measurement of employeeengagement and satisfaction

Receiving feedback so often and so quickly means that you are getting an insight into morale and employee satisfaction at the moment, not reviewing a survey that has collected data for weeks a month or so after the polls closed.

Improved employee engagement

Asking your team for regular feedback encourages positive employee engagement. Employee engagement is a very important topic these days because the research has clearly shown that it has huge organizational benefits.

Studies have repeatedly shown benefits of employee engagement,include;

  • Engaged employees are more productive and take less time off
  • Engaged employees make customers happier
  • Employee engagement leads to increased productivity
  • Engaged employees perform at a higher level and bring passion and interest to their job, which often leads to innovation in the workplace
  • Employees who are engaged significantly lower the risk of turnover for the company
  • Companies with more engaged employees tend to have higher profitability rates

Measuring employee engagement is no longer an afterthought for many successful companies. Companies such as Apple, Etsy, Airbnb, Microsoft, and Amazon are using employee pulse surveys to measure engagement levels amongst their teams.

Pulse surveys increase positive company culture

A culture of asking for employee feedback creates happier, moreengaged employees, which in turn, increases positively in corporate culture.

Many employees cite negative company culture as a reason forchanging jobs, so there are great benefits for having a positive companyculture.

Encourages employees to focus on topicalsubjects

Studies have proven that if someone was asked about a particulartopic week after week, the habit-forming nature of this activity means thatthey will be more aware of this topic during the other six days of the week.

As an example, perhaps you asked a survey question each timearound customer service; it will only take a few weeks for employees to startconsidering ways to improve customer service between each poll.

Repetitive questions over a longer period of time have been provento be an effective method of forming positive habits.

Employee pulse surveys provide powerfulmotivation insights

Asking the right questions will ensure that you get a deepunderstanding of employee motivation – what is the current mood of the companyand where are the motivational triggers?

They allow for analysis of improvements overtime

Most employee pulse survey reports feature some form ofstatistical analysis and trend graphs. Looking at how responses wereaffected after major or minor internal events, or during times of change is apowerful insight into employee motivation and morale.

Say you asked a question about physical working conditions, andthen had the office kitchen remodeled. You can use a pulse survey to see whatthe effect of this change during and after the work was carried out, was.

A frequent reminder that management values employee feedback

By asking for employee feedback frequently, you are illustratingthrough your companies actions that you care about employee feedback.

Studies have shown that a large percentage of people value leaderswho ask for feedback, and by doing so, this generates great morale andhappiness.

Pulse surveys can be a powerful employeerelations tool

Simply by asking for employee feedback, you are improving employeerelations between management and workers.

Employee relations are improved knowing that your voice is beingheard and that you have the right to ‘speak up’.

Reduced time in completion

Unlike the traditional annual employee survey that an organization may use, these pulse surveys are intentionally fast to complete, reducing the traditional financial and time costs for organizations to survey their staff.

For example, the typical completion time for recipients of 6Q surveys is around two minutes (based on over 500 employees in a number of companies). If an organization had a survey cadence (frequency) of every two weeks, this means that each employee spends less than an hour per year completing these surveys.

Higher response rates than annual employeesurveys

Because of the simplicity of completing team pulse surveys, andthe time factor mentioned above, many companies find that they have far higherresponse rates with all or most employees completing these pulse surveys everypoll period, compared to the traditional annual employee survey.

Encourages open communication

Using an employee pulse survey helps create an environment of opencommunication, and encourages employees to feel motivated to share suggestionsand make recommendations for improvements.

This helps clarify expectations, increases knowledge sharing andcreates an environment of innovation.

Helps direct future employee engagementactivities

Measuring employee engagement under one initiative will give you comprehensive feedback that allows you to conduct an in-depth analysis. In turn, that information can be leveraged to implement effective action plans, which act as crucial tools for improving overall engagement.

Encourages employee happiness

People are known to be happier when they have had the mechanism to ‘have their say’. Studies have shown that happier employees are more productive, meaning that companies with happier employees tend to fare better financially and from a moral perspective.