What are Employee Pulse Surveys? Get Your Finger on the Employee Pulse

We’ve all heard it before: Employees want constant feedback. Annual performance evaluations and discussions rarely boost engagement or give insight into employee pulse and often result in frustration.

Performance evaluations aside, leading organizations are increasingly opting for regular feedback and employee engagement tracking to not only motivate their workforce, but to identify roadblocks to growth and productivity.

Employee Pulse Surveys

What if you had a suggestion box that was always active? What if you could get the answer to two important questions every day: How are you feeling and how can we help you?

Employee Pulse SurveysEmployee pulse surveys do just that. Employee pulse surveys can be automated to appear in an employee’s email, embedded in an employee portal, pushed to a Slack channel, or all of the above. They ask one, to a few questions and are simple to implement and respond to.

Here is an example survey from Survale.

Regular employee pulse surveys motivate the workforce, in one sense, by their very existence. In other words, the mere fact that you’re asking sends a powerful and motivating message: “We care how you feel and what you think.”

Just as powerful, pulse surveys give the organization a “canary in the coal mine” to identify problems or opportunities within the workforce on a regular basis.

Pulse Survey Best Practices

When setting up an employee pulse survey program there are a few simple things to keep in mind:

Keep them short. Pulse surveys need to be short enough that employees can quickly indicate their status and move on to something else. One to three questions with an open ended comment box is recommended. Research shows that the shorter the survey, the higher the completion rate.

Make them frequent and consistent. You are building a habit, so frequency and consistency will help instantiate this new habit and increase participation.

Make them accessible. Make it easy for employees to find and respond to your surveys. Email is standard, but increasingly it is important to meet employees where they work. Pushing to tools like Slack or embedding in frequently used applications are ideal places to push pulse surveys to employees.

Make them anonymous. There is much debate about this, but making responses anonymous is the clearest path to reliable data. It opens the door to abuse through insensitive or inflammatory comments, but it’s the only way to ensure employees speak freely.

Be transparent. Participants want to know what they are contributing to, so make the results public. This can be challenging if you have morale issues, but openly displaying results goes a long way to building trust and engagement with the process.

Act on the results publicly. If you are asking the right questions in the right way, and requesting open ended input, you’ll get plenty of great ideas to increase morale, engagement and productivity. So regularly act on them and make sure you publicize the actions and attribute them to employee input.

The topic of employee pulse surveys and employee engagement is deep and broad, so these are just some high level practices. For additional resources for implementing quick pulse surveys and employee engagement surveys, click here.

Author: Ian Alexander

Ian Alexander is co-founder and CMO of Survale. He is a pioneer in SaaS HR software with decades of experience bringing leading technologies to the performance management and recruiting industry. He is a passionate advocate for revolutionizing candidate and employee satisfaction in the Enterprise.