Pulse Survey

Are you looking to take the pulse of your organisation?

Employee satisfaction, commitment and enthusiasm can be strongly influenced by current events, such as a pandemic suddenly forcing employees to work from home, reorganisations, a new CEO or manager, a new strategy, peaks in the workload, etc. This is the reason that more and more companies are exchanging the traditional annual employee satisfaction survey for Pulse Surveys. 

Carry out a pulse survey

What is a Pulse Survey? 

As the name suggests, a Pulse Survey measures the development of a certain subject area within an organisation. 

  • Pulse Surveys are shorter than traditional employee surveys. They take no more than 5 minutes to fill out, preferably even less.
  • Pulse Surveys are carried out more than once a year according to a fixed schedule. They are often held quarterly, sometimes even monthly.
  • Pulse Surveys often contain a fixed, recurring basis, i.e. one item that is always measured, also known as ‘the pulse’. Examples include employee satisfaction or the eNPS.
  • Pulse Surveys can change all the time, apart from the recurring items – i.e. the pulse question(s); they may, for example, include questions about current events.

Benefits of a Pulse Survey 

  • First of all, employees feel more appreciated and heard if they are asked to give feedback more than once a year and if they feel that their feedback is actually being acted upon.
  • Pulse surveys are easier to follow up on! Since the questionnaires are short, following up on the results becomes easier and can be done faster since there are not 50 questions that have to be analysed first.
  • Pulse Surveys allow for a faster response to current events because of the greater number of measurements and because Pulse Surveys are usually easy to organise. An example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic, which suddenly forced employees to work from home. Many organisations included questions about this pandemic in their Pulse Surveys, asking how employees felt about homeworking and whether they needed anything else from the organisation.
Carry out a pulse survey

Pulse Survey tips 

1 – Keep employees motivated to continue to fill out the Pulse Survey 
Survey fatigue (i.e. lower response rates) is a risk when conducting Pulse Surveys. In order to prevent this, we offer a number of tips: 

  • Keep your surveys short; they should take no more than 5 minutes to fill out! 
  • Use ‘sampling’ whenever possible. This implies asking a representative group to participate rather than asking all employees (i.e. the population) all of the time. This is easier to do with large populations. When the total population is small, you may consider inviting employees every other survey round. 
  • Act on the outcomes! Discuss the outcomes with the employees and formulate action items. In doing so, it is helpful to make the outcomes available at managerial or team level. Discussing the outcomes and acting on them truly gives employees the feeling that they are being heard and that filling out the survey makes a difference. 

2 – Use background data (moderately) 
We recommend using background data if available, because it allows you to break down the results into different groups, e.g. teams or age groups. Doing so offers a good overview of where action is needed. Obviously, in our reporting, we always adhere to a minimum number of respondents, so as to safeguard employee privacy. 

Did you know, by the way, that Pulse Surveys often help to improve data quality? This is because the data files are checked more often as no-one wants to base their reporting on low-quality data. 

So, if your data is not yet of high quality, we recommend starting small (i.e. with just a few demographics), ensuring the quality of the data and planning sufficient preparation time. Subsequently, you may expand your list of demographics as you carry out more Pulse Surveys. After all, you don’t want people to lose faith in the results due to inadequate data quality. 
Which questions are useful in a Pulse Survey? 
Basically, all sorts of questions can be useful. We do recommend, however, including at least one recurring basis question that can be monitored throughout the year. This is usually an outcome variable, e.g. “How satisfied are you with working at …?” You could call this an Employee Engagement Pulse. Or you might ask a question such as “To what extent would you recommend … to friends / acquaintances looking for a job?”. You could call this an eNPS Pulse. 

If you are having trouble deciding which questions to ask in Pulse Surveys – for example because you have no idea yet of what is topical in the organisation – you may consider starting with a somewhat larger set of employee-survey questions by way of a baseline measurement. This would come somewhat closer to a traditional employee survey. The responses to these employee-survey questions can then serve to determine which areas further to research or what to monitor in the Pulse Surveys. Thus, traditional employee satisfaction surveys can indeed form a solid basis for Pulse Surveys! 

What does AnalitiQs do? 

AnalitiQs carries out employee surveys, including Pulse Surveys, for prominent organisations at home and abroad. Are you looking to take the pulse of your organisation? Feel free to contact us without any further obligation. Curious about our other employee-related research themes? Get a full overview of our services here

Interested? Feel free to contact us!

Gido van Puijenbroek

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