Pulse Survey

By April Harrington.
12 Nov 2021

A pulse survey can prove a powerful tool to assess the health of your company from within. When used well, it will encourage employees to engage in the decision-making process, while also making them feel valued. In times of reoccurring employment crises, increasing staff engagement can make a real difference to retention and productivity.

Confronted with an ageing population, skill gaps and new ways of working, businesses face new challenges in today’s world. By using an effective pulse survey strategy, employers will gain valuable staff feedback to improve systems in the workplace.

In this article, we will explain what a pulse survey is, how it differs from other types of workplace surveys, and how to use it.

Get free 24/7 advice on how to apply these surveys and monitor the health of your business in all its aspects.

If you have never come across this term, you might ask yourself - what is a pulse check survey?

What is a pulse survey?

A pulse survey is a short set of questions sent to employees on a regular basis, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. Companies use it to gain feedback from employees on very specific topics. These topics can relate to any relevant workplace aspect, such as company culture, new systems, or new technologies.

The best way to ensure you use an employee pulse check survey efficiently is by planning them as an integral part of your strategy. As they are meant to increase staff engagement and support company culture, always create them with the end goal in mind. This way, you will avoid wasting your and your staff’s time with pointless paperwork.

In terms of pulse survey objectives, businesses use them for a wide range of purposes, such as:

  • Assessing employee satisfaction with current processes and ways of working
  • Assessing what support employees need
  • Increasing employee engagement by encouraging them to take an active part in altering and improving current strategies
  • Promoting communication and a culture of openness and participation.
  • Gathering insight on proposed changes before implementing them.

For a pulse survey questionnaire to achieve its purpose, you need to follow up and use the data you gather. Otherwise, you risk getting the exact opposite effect. Not considering employee responses can lead to loss of motivation and affect productivity.  

Generally, you should avoid sending these out too often, for several reasons. About 90% of companies use them, but most struggle to achieve a good response rate. Businesses risk seeing survey fatigue where they rarely reach more than 40% engagement.

Lacking proper strategy and not following up tend to be two main causes of survey fatigue in the workplace.

Strategically plan your pulse survey communication

Like with any means of internal or external communication, strategy is key to the success of pulse surveys.

If you are implementing them for the first time, start by integrating them into your existing communication. Let’s look at how to use a pulse survey versus an annual or engagement survey:

  • Set out the year-round focus for employees’ engagement in your yearly survey. Include 30-60 questions which will take no longer than 10-15 minutes to respond to.
  • Use your engagement pulse survey questions to understand and track progress. Include no more than 15 questions that will take a maximum of 5 minutes to answer.

As you can see, your pulse survey questions should aim at assessing and improving processes and systems as you go. This makes them a valuable tool for businesses ready to adapt to new challenges.  

Pulse survey strategy staff engagement

A particular type of questionnaire designed to help companies through industry shifts is a change management pulse survey. Include it in your change management strategy, with the scope of minimising the negative effects of transitions. Focus on using change to strengthen your business.

When you create it, think of questions that will assess the impact of each step of the new process on your workforce and productivity. The capacity to adjust and adapt proves crucial in times of major economic change. We should all expect changes in the coming years as the global economy is moving towards net-zero targets to protect the environment.

How to successfully use pulse surveys

Make sure you integrate these questionnaires into your communication strategy. This will give you a good start, but this is only the first stage of utilising them.

Follow these simple steps to create and run such a questionnaire:

  • Decide on the relevant topic or topics to cover and avoid mixing too many topics.
  • Create relevant questions, no more than 15, on the topics of choice. Also, decide if responses need to be anonymous or not.
  • Announce the survey in good time to give employees time to fit them within their workload. Also, give them a reasonable deadline to complete it.
  • Analyse the data collected and share the results.
  • Act on these results.
  • Review the whole process and repeat with the kind of regularity that fits your business and the purposes of these surveys.

Consider actively involving your employees as early as the planning stage. Asking them what topics they find relevant is likely to improve engagement rates.

Get advice from a Croner expert

With industry shifts and stagnation, pulse surveys can help businesses gain better insight into how to adapt and improve their strategy. Big changes often place the company and employees alike under strain.

What better way to reduce turnover and increase productivity than by getting your workforce more involved in the decision-making process?

Workplace questionnaires only work if you plan and utilise them strategically. We are here to help you make the most of such tools and the data you gather. Get free advice from a Croner expert by calling 01455 858 132 today.


About the Author

April Harrington.

An experienced Senior Employment Law Consultant, who has worked for the group for over 9 years. April specialises in discrimination legislation. April has an extensive background in training, as well as recruitment and hospitality.

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