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Employee Pulse Surveys: The Ultimate Guide

14 min read
Last Updated on 05 April, 2021
Employee Pulse Surveys: The Ultimate Guide

Employee pulse surveys have quickly become one of the most preferred methods to measure employee engagement levels.

Employee engagement is not a quantitative number that can be measured easily. It’s an emotion. Various factors come into play when you talk about “measuring engagement” in a workforce.

Do employees feel satisfied with their work? Do employees think that their manager is fair? Is recognition given in a timely and frequent manner?

Engaged employees show certain traits such as being happy, productive, and displaying loyalty towards the organization. Measuring such emotion-based metric is a tricky process that a survey will be able to overcome.

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.

Unlike traditional employee surveys, pulse surveys are simple and fast. The results of pulse survey highlights the many factors that contribute to an employee feeling engaged in a company.

Ultimately, it is a more efficient way to gather employee feedback and is easier to run and manage.

If you are interested in running a pulse survey in your company, you’re already ahead of the game. Let’s get started!

What Are Pulse Surveys?

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Employee pulse surveys are a form of employee engagement surveys used by organizations to assess the overall employee experience by gathering relevant employee feedback. It is a quick, trouble-free, and robust way to improve employee engagement by evaluating the company’s strengths and weaknesses through the survey results.

As the name suggests, a pulse survey is designed to track the organization’s “pulse or the heartbeat”. Just like our pulse rate gives a quick check of human health, an employee pulse survey measures the “health” of the company culture.

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(Source: via Vantage Pulse)

For the layman, pulse surveys are short, standardized, and focused. The employees receive a set of survey questions, and they have to rate it on a scale of 1-10.

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

Pulse surveys contain several short, simplified questions covering significant components of employee engagement. You can also add an optional comment section along with each question where they can elaborate on their answers.

Owing to their ease of use, management, and efficiency in collecting valuable company insights, they have become increasingly popular in modern companies.

Recommended Article: The Complete Insight On Employee Engagement Surveys


Pulse Survey v/s Employee Engagement Surveys

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Pulse Surveys have four primary differences over traditional annual surveys:

  • Pulse surveys are generally much shorter and time-saving with just 5-10 questions in a single session. Whereas, employee engagement surveys are annual surveys.
  • They are conducted at a frequent and regular interval of time with the same set of questions.
  • They ask targeted questions and uncover specific company concerns.
  • Pulse surveys indices a lesser amount of survey fatigue. Thus, participation rates are higher.

11 Amazing Benefits Of Employee Pulse Surveys

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1. Quick and Easy

One major problem with traditional surveys is that they are long and tedious. Pulse surveys are short, with only 5-10 questions sent at a time. The questions themselves are easy to understand, which ensures that employees find it less of a hassle.

Thus, pulse surveys provide a significantly higher participation rate than regular surveys. It enables human resources professionals to get a precise idea of the employee experience situation.

Additionally, pulse survey platforms like Vantage Pulse provide a user-friendly interface that can be used across multiple devices and platforms. It ensures that employees get the benefit of taking the survey at their convenience.

2. Timely

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(Source: via Vantage Pulse)

Pulse survey questions are sent out timely over an established period of time. It becomes easier for employees to get used to and even anticipate getting a survey. Similarly, businesses profit by getting a periodic update of the employee experience on workplace issues.

3. Creates Awareness

Lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges in corporations. When employees feel disengaged, it impacts their performance and commitment to the company.

When you fail to uncover the attributes of employee dissatisfaction, 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 awareness.

4. Anonymous

Employees distrust traditional employee surveys since the anonymity of the surveyor is a significant issue with it. To get accurate survey results, it’s vital that employees feel comfortable while taking the survey.

Employees will only be open and transparent about their issues when they know that the survey is anonymous. Pulse surveys provide them with this much-needed anonymity.

Consequently, the survey results gathered will reflect a more genuine representation of the engagement level.

5. Real-Time Trend Analysis

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(Source: via Vantage Pulse)

A good employee pulse survey will help you to measure engagement levels by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your workplace. It gives you the ability to view real-time insights by analyzing engagement trends over time.

The survey results reflect the improvements in scores, so you get to know if a new action plan that you have implemented is working or failing. Such analysis helps in measuring not only employee engagement levels but also other criteria such as employee turnover.

Some pulse surveys, such as Vantage Pulse, go one step further to assess real-time, department-wise engagement scores. This feature helps you pinpoint the exact reason why specific teams are highly engaged while others are not.

6. Instant

Without the need for manual work, Pulse surveys start displaying results as soon as the first participant submits the survey. The instant results enable managers to start working on a suitable action plan for improving engagement without wasting any further time.

7. Feedback Culture

Pulse surveys promote open communication channels between the workforce and the company. Since it's anonymous, employees are more likely to be forthcoming and honest about their opinions. Thus, it provides transparency to employee feedback, that other employee engagement surveys won’t provide.

Human resources managers get a better understanding of what factors drive a better employee experience and what action plan to formulate. Similarly, employees feel more valued that their suggestions are being taken into consideration.

8. Employee Net Promoter Score

Pulse surveys, such as Vantage Pulse, use the eNPS format for measuring engagement. eNPS stands for "Employee Net Promoter Score", a much quicker and easy way for organizations to measure employee loyalty.

The advantage of eNPS is that it allows participants to rate their answers on a scale (0-5 or 0-10) instead of the binary “yes” or “no.”

The employee net promoter score suggests some key questions. For example, “My manager cares about me as a person and values my opinion.”

Vantage Pulse uses the same method while asking the survey questions to get the accurate answer to each issue.

Recommended Article: A Brief Guide On Employee Net Promoter Score

9. Easier To Manage

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(Source: via Vantage Pulse)

The beauty of Pulse Surveys lies in its simplicity. Human resources managers get the options to create and manage the survey in an easy to use interface. Also, there’s the added benefit of customizing the survey to fit the company’s needs.

With Vantage Pulse, managers get data-driven results to analyze trends, reveal employee turnover factors, predict employee behaviors, and ultimately improve the employee experience.

10. Setting Industry Benchmarks

Surveys are an excellent way to set an industry benchmark for companies. It is the only way they can keep track of their employee engagement levels, both accurately and objectively.

Pulse surveys typically ask a standardized set of questions evaluating the building blocks of employee engagement. Analyzing such employee feedback can offer valuable benchmark data across the industry.

11. Facilitates Quick Action Planning

Pulse surveys are short online surveys that land directly on your employees’ inbox. Hence, you get the results promptly and can formulate your action plan quickly. Also, the survey provides pretty straightforward questions in a categorized format, making it even easier for you to take action.


Structure Of A Pulse Survey: 6 Crucial Steps For Best Results

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Unsure about how to run an effective pulse survey in your organization? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the structure of an employee pulse survey:

1. Defining The Purpose

Running a 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.

Then decide on areas you would like to focus on in this particular survey. Ensure that you involve people from different spheres of the organization in the brainstorming/decision-making sessions.

2. Designing The Survey

It is essential to ask the right survey questions. Keep your questions short, relevant, and straightforward. Try to be in “their shoes” while forming the questions. It is advisable to keep the survey anonymous to gain honest responses.

3. Running the Survey

Once you design the survey, 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 get higher response rates. Run the survey and follow up at least once.

4. Analysis of the Survey

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(Source: via Vantage Pulse)

After completion, when 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 patterns, psychographics, and demographics.

5. Action Plan

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

Therefore, the most crucial step of the survey is taking action. Sharing results with employees builds trust and promotes honesty and fairness among the workforce. It also helps the management in sharing and implementing constructive and corrective policies/procedures.

6. Finding The Right Survey Tool

Every company culture is unique. Thus, the requirements, workforce, and needs are also diverse. In this scenario, you couldn’t expect a pulse survey tool that suited a particular organization, to suit yours as well.

It becomes crucial that you select a survey tool that fits your company culture. You can always opt for trusted external vendors or survey software for designing the survey. It will make running and managing surveys more effective and reliable.

Recommended Article: Top 20 Employee Pulse Survey Tools


7 Main Areas To Evaluate In Your Employee Pulse Surveys

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The main objective of your pulse surveys is to measure the strengths and shortcomings of your organization. To do that, these are the vital 8 criteria that you need to use to understand if your employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs.

1. Communication

Poor or lack of communication can be the downfall of any successful organization. Communication within the organization is a criterion that you must always keep in check.

Are your employees having healthy horizontal and vertical communication? Do your employees have good communication with upper management? Is there an imbalance between conveying the message to your employees and listening to them?

Uncovering and measuring the effectiveness of internal communication should be the primary objective of your action plan.

2. Relationship With Managers

Leaders should be able to convey the company goals and values to the employees. They are ones that can make sure that individuals’ personal goals are aligned with the company goals.

Naturally, leaders play a huge role when it comes to making employees feel inclusive, motivated, and loyal to the organization. Understanding this aspect is extremely crucial for your employee engagement efforts.

Recommended Article: 25 Leadership Qualities That Makes You A Good Leader

3. Compensation And Benefits

With the rise in the number of companies and economic stability becoming a reality, the talent acquisition and retention scenario has changed massively.

Companies are now competing among one another to attract the best talent and not the other way round. Offering attractive employee perks and privileges has become an important part of the equation.

4. Employee Recognition

Human beings have an inherent desire to feel valued and be appreciated. Recognition at work matters even more because when your employees feel recognized for their good work and attitude at work, they feel motivated. It also directly reflects in their performance level.

Recommended Article: The Ultimate Guide To Employee Rewards and Recognition

5. Personal and Professional Development

For the longest time, corporations neglected the fact that employees seek a progressive career trajectory. The personal and professional development of an individual in their current job role is important to keep them engaged and motivated.

6. Autonomy and Alignment

There is a lot of evidence that empowering employees is directly linked with increased productivity. Not only that job satisfaction and loyalty to the company are also improved.

One thing is for sure, the success of your company is directly linked with the success of your employees. When your employees are successful, so is your company. They seek to have a degree of autonomy as they grow in the company.

7. Work Environment

This one is a no-brainer. While it might take some time to implement certain changes like building better Rewards and Recognition programs, making changes to the physical work environment can be done easily.

Your employees might be facing certain small and big issues relating to the comfort or availability of basic amenities in the workplace. Certain minor problems that go unattended for a longer period of time may lead to disengagement.

Thus, employee engagement surveys help you uncover these areas.


List Of Survey Questions To Gather Relevant Employee Feedback

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The following list of questions covers a broad range of topics that you need to include in your next annual engagement survey.

Employee Engagement Index

  • I would recommend my organization as a great place to work for my friends and families.
  • The work I do is meaningful and contributes to my personal growth.
  • I would feel comfortable recommending the company’s products/services to others.
  • My work and the organization is a source of pride.
  • I look forward to going to work.

Relationship With Peers

  • I have a good relationship with my team members and coworkers.
  • My coworkers and I help each other out whenever needed.
  • My coworkers welcome opinions different from their own.
  • Collaborating with my peers is a smooth and productive experience.
  • There is a healthy exchange of appreciation among team members.

Relationship With Managers

  • My manager and I have a good working relationship.
  • Communication between senior management and employees is good in my organization.
  • I get relevant, frequent, and constructive feedback from my manager.
  • My manager cares about me as a person and values my opinion.
  • There is no discrimination or biases displayed against me by my manager.

Work Environment

  • My workplace is free from distractions, and I find it easy to focus on my work.
  • I am treated with respect and fairness in my place of work.
  • My workplace is a safe place, and I feel comfortable working here.
  • I feel we have enough peer-to-peer interaction at my workplace.
  • We have all the necessary facilities and tools available to make my work-life easier.

Employee Recognition

  • My company promotes employees to give recognition to one another.
  • Recognition is given in a frequent and timely fashion.
  • If I do great work, I know that it will be recognized.
  • I am happy with the recognition process and the type of rewards given.
  • I feel valued and appreciated by the organization.

Compensation And Benefits

  • I have a clear overview of the benefits package offered by the company.
  • Are you satisfied with the current benefits that the company offers, excluding your salary?
  • Do you think you will benefit from an Employee Discount program where you will be eligible for discounts and special pricing on various products?
  • How often do you avail of the benefits given by the company on your purchases?
  • The benefits my organization offers can compete with those offered by other organizations.

Personal Development

  • I am satisfied with my opportunities for professional growth.
  • Training and development should be virtual.
  • I am satisfied with the job-related training my organization offers.
  • My work and skills have improved due to the right training given to me.
  • I am satisfied that I have the opportunity to apply my talents and expertise.

Alignment

  • The goals and strategies of my organization are taking us in the right direction.
  • The leaders of my organization have communicated a vision that motivates me.
  • My company culture supports high work ethics.
  • My company culture is aligned with values I consider important in life.
  • The leaders of my organization demonstrate that employees are essential to their success.
  • I understand how my role at my workplace correlates to the company’s success.

Autonomy

  • I feel like I am given enough freedom to decide how to do my work.
  • My opinions and thoughts are taken into due consideration.
  • I am given the opportunity to take on important roles and responsibilities.
  • There is the right amount of flexibility in my work.
  • I feel that I can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Introducing Vantage Pulse

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At Vantage Circle, our aim is to offer solutions to corporations that will help in transforming their company culture and boosting employee productivity.

And one of the most crucial aspects to bring change is measurement.

Understanding and evaluating the needs and behavior of your workforce are imperative before you go about your engagement and retention strategies. With that very thought, we have imagined a unique employee survey tool, Vantage Pulse.

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(Source: via Vantage Pulse)

In order to build a survey tool, we needed three things to succeed - rich experience in the Human Resources industry, availability of the latest technology, and a skilled and capable team. At Vantage Circle we had all three things at our disposal.

Vantage Pulse, powered by Vantage Circle, is a powerful employee survey tool that helps you measure employee engagement, boost performance, and improve company morale in the workplace using the eNPS method.

With Vantage Pulse, managers get data-driven results to analyze trends, uncover factors of employee turnover, predict behaviors, and ultimately increase employee retention. It helps you overcome the gap between feedback and action with real-time insights.

You get the right data from your workforce exactly when you need it. In short, it is the best way to future-proof your strategies to manage your people.

Recommended Article: Introducing Vantage Pulse

Summary

A great workplace is one where employees feel valued and cared. Organizational attributes directly translate to employee engagement. Uncovering issues of the company helps you in creating a fulfilling employee experience.

Survey fatigue is the prime reason behind your low survey response. To tackle these issues, conducting annual employee pulse surveys offer the best solution to collecting feedback.

The effectiveness of pulse surveys has made multiple companies to establish it in their workplaces. Employee pulse surveys can support several areas of work and reshape the company culture, making it the best method to measure engagement levels.

Measuring engagement with a traditional survey can be lengthy and costly. So, the next time you need relevant employee feedback, use an employee pulse survey.

This article was co-authored by Darshana Dutta and Barasha Medhi, who work as digital marketers at Vantage Circle. For any queries reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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Vantage Circle is a simple AI-powered Rewards & Recognition Platform for upgrading your employee experience and engagement for better productivity.