Pulse Surveys: The Faster & Better way of Measuring Employee Engagement

Pulse Surveys: The Faster & Better way of Measuring Employee Engagement

“64% of organizations only measure employee engagement annually, while nearly one in five employees report that their companies don’t formally measure engagement at all.”

So, Congratulations! If you are interested in running a Pulse Survey in your organization, you’re already ahead of the game.

Let’s get started!

Three keywords to define a Pulse Survey would be: Frequent, Fast and Short.

As the name suggests, Pulse survey was designed to track the “pulse or the heartbeat” of the organization. Just like our pulse rate gives a quick check of human health, a pulse survey measures the health of the company.


Owing to their easy-to-understand format and efficiency in collecting important company insights, they have become increasingly popular in modern organizations.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Conducting Effective Employee Surveys

For the uninitiated, Pulse surveys are short, standardized and focused surveys to measure various important company aspects. Employees are asked a small set of questions and they have to respond to the answers on a scale of 0-10 or 0-5.

It is typically run more frequently than other forms of surveys to keep a continuous check on the major aspects of the company such as productivity , engagement , satisfaction and overall attitude of employees.

eNPS and Pulse Surveys

A Pulse Survey is a format that builds off the eNPS format.

eNPS or Employee Net Promoter Score allows employees to measure and get a snapshot of employee loyalty and engagement within their company. Typically, eNPS asks the respondent one primary question ie. How likely the employees are to recommend your company as a good place to work to a friend or colleague?

Later another question was added as standard eNPS question:

“On a scale of zero to ten, how likely would you be to recommend this company’s products or services to a friend or colleague?”

An employees’ likelihood to recommend either the company or the products and services of the company reveal useful company insight and aid to strong business performance.

The respondents are to answer the question in the form of a number on a scale of 0 to 10. Results can then be divided into three groups: promoters, passives, and detractors. Here’s the breakdown of the categories:

9-10 = Promoters
7-8 = Passive
0-6 = Detractors

To calculate the final score, you need to subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The score can range from +100 to -100.


Early pioneers of eNPS in business include Apple, Rackspace, and JetBlue.

Coming back to Pulse Surveys, they contain a number of short, simplified questions covering major components of employee engagement which are to be answered in number in a scale of 1-5. You can also add an optional comment section along with each question where they can elaborate on their answers.

The eNPS question is one of the primary questions of a Pulse Survey questionnaire.

Related: 45 Employee Engagement Survey Questions that you must ask in 2019

The objective of a pulse survey is to quickly identify the major concerns along with areas of improvement of the organization.

How is Pulse Surveys different from long-form employee surveys?

Pulse Surveys have three primary differences over traditional surveys:

  • They are conducted at frequent and regular interval of time with the same set of questions.

  • Pulse Surveys are generally much shorter and time-consuming with just 10-15 questions.

  • They ask targeted questions and uncover specific company concerns.

Benefits of Pulse Surveys


1. Creates Awareness:

Lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges in corporations. When employees feel disengaged and demotivated, it impacts their performance, productivity, and commitment to the organization. When the attributes of employee disengagement and dissatisfaction are not uncovered, there cannot be scope for any improvement. Hence, turnover increases, productivity decreases, and the company’s bottom-line suffer. Pulse Surveys can be especially helpful here by becoming a means of creating organizational and employee awareness.

2. Real-time Data:

Pulse Surveys offer on-going real-time insights at a granular level. The problem with the traditional annual survey is that there is a huge lag between the major company problems and tackling the same using the results. Many problems go unreported in annual surveys and as a result, organizational improvement becomes slow.

2. Creates a culture of continuous feedback:

They create a framework that enables the management and employers to continuously gain feedback and evaluate their policies and procedures.

3. Setting industry benchmarks:

Surveys are an excellent way to set an industry benchmark for companies. It is the only way organizations can keep track of their employee engagement levels. Both scientifically and objectively. Pulse surveys typically ask a standardized set of questions evaluating the building blocks of employee engagement, offering valuable benchmark data across the industry.

4. Facilitates Quick Action:

Because these are short online surveys that land directly on your employees’ inbox, Pulse survey results are actionable and you get the results immediately. Additionally, the survey provides pretty straightforward questions in a well-categorized format, making it even easier for you to take action.

Related: Employee Engagement Survey: Everything you need to know

Structure of a Pulse Survey


To get the most out of your Pulse Surveys, you must follow a proper process of the survey.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the structure of a Pulse Survey:

Defining the Purpose:

Running frequent Pulse Survey can be vague if you fail to define the purpose of the survey. Brainstorm the areas that you want to evaluate before curating the questionnaire and decide on areas you would like to focus on. Ensure that you involve people from different spheres of the organization in the brainstorming/decision-making sessions.

Designing is the Survey:

It is important to ask the right questions in the right manner in a survey. Keep your questions short, simple and relevant. Try to be on “their shoes” while asking the questions. It is advisable to keep the survey anonymous in order to gain honest responses. You can always opt for trusted external vendors or professional help for designing the survey which will in terms make the survey more effective.

Running the Survey:

Once the Survey has been designed, the next step is the deployment of the survey. Make a proper announcement via oral or written communication before sending out the survey emails. You can also add attractive incentives for answering the survey to maximise response rates. Run the survey and follow up at least once.

Analysis of the Survey:

Once the survey is completed and the results are in, you must review it in great detail. Look for common areas of strength and weaknesses and organize the data accordingly. You can categorize them into Behavior pattern, Psychographics, and Demographics.

Communicate Results and Take Action:

The very purpose of measuring employee engagement is to pave the path to improvement.

Therefore, the most important step of the survey is taking action. Sharing results with employees build trust and enhance honesty and fairness in the organization. It also helps the management in communicating and implementing constructive and corrective policies/procedures.

Final Words:

A great workplace is one where employees feel valued and cared for. Organizational attributes directly translate to employee engagement. When you make it a point to uncover the small and big issues of the company, you embark on a journey to create a fulfilling employee experience.