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Employee Pulse Survey Guide: Tips, Best Practices, and Examples

20 min read

Consider the following scenario. You work at an MNC as a Software Engineer, or a Cloud Solution Architect.  

Your HR department sends you a survey when you walk through the door at 9 a.m. or log in remotely from home using your corporate laptop. There are a few questions in the poll about your time at the company.  

Isn’t that what you’d expect from a Fortune 500 company?  

It does until you discover that the company delivers these surveys to some of their employees on a daily basis.  

If you work for a tech firm, a consulting firm, or any other high-performing company, you know how important employee engagement is to your business’s success.  

But what is a pulse survey, exactly? Isn’t conducting annual engagement surveys the best practice and, presumably, sufficient?  

Fasten your seatbelts. We’re about to dive into the fascinating world of pulse surveys. 

What are pulse surveys?  

We have seen it plenty of times in our organization. Employees are scared of talking about problems at work and for the management, it’s not easy to go and make a note of how everyone is doing at work.  

“Treating people well is how you win in business.”   

To get a sense of the workplace culture or current well-being of their employees, most leaders look for a poll or survey. 

However, these surveys have not proven to be very resourceful to get actionable insights. Why? 

Because regular polls:   

Are lengthy.   

Irregular cadence.   

Aren’t anonymous so employees avoid giving honest feedback. 

Organizations actually prefer to conduct regular check-ins on employees but lack of time makes it difficult to do so. An employee engagement pulse survey is a short and quick survey that helps organizations understand the well-being of employees and eventually improve the culture.  

It’s like a check-in to test employee satisfaction at a particular point in time and gives you data points in terms of current trends among the workforce. The surveys are not more than 5-10 questions normally, making them quick and easy to answer. Usually, they’re kept anonymous so employees can be honest when answering these questions.  

Here how pulse surveys help:  

Every employee has different sentiments and feelings. To figure out if they are happy or frustrated, you need to continuously listen. Now, you can’t physically go to every person and ask them about their well-being. But engagement surveys can help you accomplish this at the click of a button.  

Pulse analyzes and gives a quantitative view of the current set of problems the employees are facing.   

Measurable feedback gives you a picture of team development opportunities. You can use this data to engage and retain your employees.  

Anonymous feedback allows people to provide honest responses. Most importantly no one has to worry about how the management will respond to their answers.  

The best part is that pulse surveys are not like regular polls. Let’s check out the difference between pulse and polls. 

Benefits of pulse surveys 

Provide more relevant information 

When conducting an annual survey, you must consider a variety of factors that influence employee engagement in the organization. As a result, you can’t ask too many questions about one topic at a time. Pulse surveys enable you to assess specific factors in great detail, revealing more actionable insights that can ultimately lead to more comprehensive interventions. 

Anonymous surveys 

A pulse survey’s capacity to gather unadulterated opinions from employees is one of its key benefits. This is important for distributed organizations because it allows you to learn how your team feels about their workplace and their top management, which can assist you in making changes that lead to better results. 

Although most companies that offer pulse surveys recommend anonymity by default, this is something that can be customizable. The reason for this is that there is typically a higher response rate and greater transparency from the people participating in it. 

Quick surveys result in greater participation. 

Compared to an annual survey, a pulse survey is quicker to finish because it is shorter and more focused. As a result, they are less intimidating and time-consuming for employees. This motivates them to respond to them on a regular basis. Therefore, pulse surveys always have higher response rates, and the data is more trustworthy. 

Flexibility to take the surveys. 

Employees can take the surveys whenever they want, on whatever device they happen to be using , so there’s no need to coordinate schedules or make sure everyone has free time at once.  Employees are more likely to be thoughtful about their responses than they would be if they were asked in person as they are responding with respect to their convenience and are not under any kind of pressure or time limitations. 

Why use pulse surveys and some of the common usages? 

We need them because people are hesitant.  

 Yes, you read it right. employees are scared of talking about problems at the workplace. Everyone is so busy running behind numbers, revenues, etc., that employee well-being has taken a back seat. There is a strong feeling that there is no time to discuss individual or small group issues regularly because apparently everyone needs to handle it themselves. Some employees do want to talk and give feedback but no one is there to listen to that feedback.  

Top management also doesn’t have the time and luxury to attend to every individual physically. That’s why technology is here to solve this problem for modern organizations.  

Short, and effective pulse surveys are the need of the hour. No wonder they’re being adopted quickly by all those who care. 

How to structure a pulse survey:  

Before you begin your pulse survey, you must first create a strategy that meets your organization’s goals. We’ll break down the five major steps for building your pulse survey design in this section:    

Define your purpose.  

Set goals  

Select the appropriate audience.  

Decide on a frequency.  

Formulate a strategy for follow-up.  

Define your purpose  

It’s critical to clarify your purpose before moving on to question selection and survey design. You can choose the correct breadth of topics, questions, audience, and timetable if you have a clear image of what you want to achieve. Find out what the survey’s objective is by being very clear.  

What data do I require or desire?  

Is it possible to get this data without conducting a survey?  

These questions will help you get very specific about the results of your survey and will guide your design strategy.  

Set goals  

It’s simple to generate and send out pulse surveys, which means it’s also simple to create surveys that aren’t strategic in nature. If you start a pulse without a clear goal in mind, you’ll end up with results that don’t really answer your query.   

Before you start constructing your pulse survey, no matter how big or tiny it is, think about what you want to get out of it:  

What exactly are you looking to quantify?  

What will be done with the results?  

What questions do you need to ask in order to take action?  

Create your goal with essential outcomes in mind. These outcomes will drive your survey initiatives and will also aid in the evaluation of the results once the survey is completed.   

Select the appropriate audience  

After you’ve set your goal, you’ll need to figure out who you’ll poll. You may choose to survey the entire firm depending on the issue, while more specific or informal topics may only affect a small set of employees.   

When choosing your audience, consider the following questions:  

Is it better to keep the survey anonymous or give it an identity?  

Some issues in pulse surveys necessitate anonymity, while others necessitate greater transparency. Putting a name to critical feedback may create anxiety and compromise the collected data’s authenticity. Employees will be increasingly willing to provide genuine feedback with their names attached when the company’s culture improves.  

Is it necessary to conduct a survey of the entire workforce?  

Pulse surveys are fantastic for getting quick input from small groups of individuals, and you should only survey your whole company if the topic is relevant to everyone. Before rolling it out to the entire organization, start with a focus group to obtain insight into the questions you want to ask.  

Is this survey pertinent to a particular department or team?  

Feedback from a specific group, such as a department, location, or team, is frequently required. These polls are designed to help people gain a better understanding of an issue that is more localized or relevant to them.  

Decide the frequency  

When conducting a pulse survey, the golden rule is to only collect input as often as you can act on it. Employee response rate improves when action is taken in regards to the survey data, and they diminish when no action is taken against them. While pulse surveys are quick and simple to implement, it doesn’t suggest you should do them as often as you’d like.  

Your pulse survey frequency should be determined taking into account all of your organization’s additional touchpoints. Make a rule for your team that makes sense and stick to it. Employees can become distracted and fatigued if there are too many questionnaires.   

Formulate a strategy for follow-up  

When you take action, your employees will see that you considered their feedback and valued their inputs. Following your pulse survey, make sure to follow these six steps:  

Make the purpose of the survey clear.  

Work with top leadership to develop a strategy for notifying your workforce about the survey’s objective. Giving employees advance notice of the survey lets them know what to expect and what you hope to learn from the results.  

Take action based on the results of the pulse survey.   

Your survey may fall flat if you don’t act on employee feedback, leaving employees disengaged. Every survey should contain a plan for communicating results, conclusions, and next steps to employees.  

Choose areas where you want to improve and areas where you want to celebrate.   

Determine where you need to improve and solicit feedback from your employees. Involving your employees in the decision-making process gives them a voice and allows them to contribute to your success.  

Make decisions and put them into action.  

It’s time to take action once your team has agreed on specific areas for development. As you begin to execute new changes, break down larger initiatives into little steps, divide ownership of tasks, and conduct modest trials.  

Continue to evaluate and move forward.  

Make sure your team has a plan in place for checking in and assessing progress. Adjust or explore alternatives if the adjustment isn’t working; if things are going well, go on to another area and begin making fresh changes. 

Pulse Survey Best Practices 

One of the most important aspects of creating an efficient pulse survey is the word itself — pulse. Keep your surveys short and sweet, with no more than 10 questions for each poll.  

Usually, it is recommended to do pulse surveys on a weekly basis, only do so if your business is capable of assessing the results and making changes in a timely manner. Conducting surveys but not acting on the results can give the impression that you’re just going through the motions and don’t care about the opinions of your employees.  

Pulse polls, like engagement surveys, should include both open-ended and closed-ended questions, with the scale used to provide a range of viable answers – often between five and seven – rather than a static, limiting yes/no style. A larger number of viable responses allows for more complex and individualized responses.  

Open-ended inquiries, although important, take longer to evaluate and analyze, especially in larger organizations. Make sure your company can effectively analyze the data utilizing a machine learning platform that can perform qualitative analysis. 

What areas to evaluate in your employee pulse surveys 

It is essential to take the context and other elements that may affect the results into account when evaluating the employee pulse score. For instance, a low score can indicate that employees are unhappy with their jobs, but it might also indicate a more serious organizational culture problem. Beyond the score, it’s crucial to take into account any underlying concerns that might be affecting the outcomes.  

Organizations can learn more about the general job satisfaction and morale of their employees by collecting employee feedback and analyzing the findings. The workplace may then be improved and a more pleasant work environment can be created using this information. Organizational leaders may learn a lot about the general morale, team engagement, and happiness of their workers by using employee pulse score surveys. 

Organizations can learn a lot about the efficacy of their policies and processes by taking the time to analyze the survey percentage. They will be better able to make decisions that will boost team engagement and employee morale. 

How often should you use pulse surveys?

It’s difficult to determine how frequently you should use pulse surveys because they are so lovely, succinct, and nice.  

On the one hand, you should utilize them frequently enough to collect trend data. 

Conversely, you don’t want to overburden your employees with pulse surveys to the point where they quit conducting them. 

You can use the following figures as a general guide and modify them to suit the requirements of your organization: 

5 questions per survey in a biweekly pulse survey 

10 questions per survey in a monthly pulse survey 

15 questions per survey for the quarterly pulse poll 

30-question pulse survey conducted every two years 

The 12 questions you should be asking during employee’s pulse survey 

Diversity and inclusion questions 

How probable is it that a brand-new individual will feel at home and secure at this organization? 

Do you consider the company’s present culture to be inclusive enough? 

Despite your differences from your classmates, do you feel psychologically and physically safe? 

Job alignment questions 

Do you understand how your efforts support the organization’s overarching goals? 

Compared to what you were told, are you satisfied with your current position? 

What aspects of our company’s CSR do you think should be improved? 

Health and wellbeing questions 

How pleased are you with your level of productivity while working at the office? 

Are you satisfied with the remote working tools? 

Do you have any advice on how to maintain a healthy balance? 

Leadership questions 

Does your manager provide you a precise picture of where your team is headed? 

Do you feel that our senior leaders are approachable and visible to the workforce? 

If you were given the chance to lead your team, what would you change? 


HR leaders can quantify their efforts by using pulse surveys. 

HR executives who want a place at the table must be able to link their activities to positive company characteristics like high retention rates, less attrition, and higher productivity. 

Pulse surveys give HR teams the precise data they need to do this. 

They can demonstrate how HR employed quantitative pulse survey techniques to identify an issue, define it, discover a workable solution, and finally optimize the solution to generate a desirable result in order to track the impact of HR actions. 

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    Meet the author


    Content Writer

    Bhagyashree Shreenath is a full-time Content Writer at Keka Technologies. She is very passionate about writing and loves to write about the gaps in organization & human resource management strategies to handle the related concerns. When she isn’t writing, you will find her reading a book, or exploring new places.


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