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

6 min read
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 company, 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, an employee pulse survey is 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 companies.

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 on a scale of 1-10 or 1-5.

It is typically run more frequently than other forms of surveys. The aim is to keep a continuous check on the major aspects of the company.

eNPS Survey and Pulse Survey

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. It aids in strong business performance and profitability.

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

Related: 45 Pulse Survey Questions that you must ask in your employee engagement survey

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-saving with just 10-15 questions.
  • They ask targeted questions and uncover specific company concerns.

Read: Employee Engagement Survey: Everything you need to know

Benefits of a Pulse Survey


1. 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 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 awareness.

Read: Employee Satisfaction Survey: A Brief Guide

2. Real-time Data:

Pulse Surveys offer on-going real-time insights at a granular level. In an annual engagement survey, there is a huge lag between actions.

Understanding major company problems and tackling the same using the results take time. Many problems go unreported in annual surveys and as a result, improvement becomes slow.

3. Creates a culture of continuous feedback:

They create a framework that enables the management and employers to continuously and quickly gain employee feedback. These can then help in evaluating the policies and procedures and build a better company culture.

4. 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 scientifically and objectively.

Pulse surveys typically ask a standardized set of questions evaluating the building blocks of employee engagement. Comparing these aspects can offer valuable benchmark data across the industry.

5. Facilitates Quick Action Planning:

Pulse survey are short online surveys that land directly on your employees’ inbox. Hence, you get the results readily and you can take action easily. 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

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. 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.

Designing is the Survey: It is important to ask the right survey 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 survey software for designing the survey. This will in terms make the survey more effective and reliable.

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 get higher 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 Survey Results and Take Action: The very purpose of an employee engagement survey 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 among the workforce. It also helps the management in sharing and implementing constructive and corrective policies/procedures.


A great workplace is one where employees feel valued and cared for. Organizational attributes directly translate to employee engagement. Uncovering small and big issues of the company helps you in creating a fulfilling employee experience. Survey fatigue is very common it is the prime reason behind low survey response. To tackle that pulse surveys offer the best solution to collecting feedback.

  This article is written by Darsana Dutta. Darsana works as a Content Creator in Vantage Circle. She is a Human Resource Management enthusiast and she loves keeping herself up-to-date about the latest trends around Employee Engagement. She is a painter, a passionate book-worm and an Aquarian inundated by nature.
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