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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. One in five employees reported their companies don’t 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 pulse rate gives a quick check of human health, a pulse survey measures the health of the company.


They have an easy-to-understand format and they are quite efficient in collecting company insights. Owing to this they have become increasingly popular in modern organizations.

“Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you've got.”
-Peter F. Drucker

There’s no better way to improve than measurement. And that’s where employee pulse surveys come in.

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

For the uninitiated, Pulse surveys are short, standardized and focused surveys. They measure various important company aspects.

Through the survey 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. The motive is 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 gives a snapshot of employee loyalty and engagement within their company. Employers get a quick way to track employees' satisfaction. Typically, eNPS asks the respondent one primary question:

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:

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. With some actionable measures from your end this data can 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.

In Pulse Survey format, the questionnaire contain a number of short, simplified questions. The respondents can answer the question on a scale of 0-5. These questions cover major components of employee engagement, which can often be customized. 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 Pulse Survey Questions that you can not miss out on!

The objective of a pulse survey is to quickly identify the hurdles of employee engagement in an organization.

How is Pulse Surves different from annual engagement survey?

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 and productivity. When the attributes of employee disengagement are left uncovered, improvement becomes ineffective. Hence, turnover increases, productivity decreases, and the company’s bottom-line suffer. Pulse Surveys can be especially helpful by becoming a means of creating organizational 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 time 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:

Employee Pulse Surveys creates a framework for communication. It enables the management to continuously gain employee feedback. Evaluation and improvement of company policies and procedures become faster.

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 on building blocks of employee engagement. When same questions are asked accross the industry, it offers valuable benchmark data for companies.

4. Facilitates Quick Action:

These are short online surveys that land directly on your employees’ inbox. Therefore, the 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 create action plans.

Related: Employee Engagement Surveys: Everything you need to know

Structure of a Pulse Survey


To get the most out of your employee 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. Make sure you involve people from different spheres of the organization in the decision-making sessions.

Designing is the Survey:

It is important to ask the right questions in the right manner in a survey. Survey fatigue is main reason behind low respond rates. To avoid it, keep your questions short, simple and relevant. Try to be on “their shoes” while asking the questions. It is advisable to keep the format anonymous in order to gain honest survey responses.

You can always opt for trusted external vendors or use a survey software for designing the survey. This will make the survey more effective and you'll have a survey with industry standard questions.

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 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 survey 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 fairness in the organization. It also helps the management in communicating and implementing constructive and corrective measures.

Final Words:

A great workplace is one where employees feel valued and cared for. Organizational attributes directly translate to employee engagement. Surveying more frequently helps you uncover the small and big issues of the company in real time. It helps you embark on a journey to create a fulfilling employee experience.

  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.