Consider Taking a Pulse

When you’re fast-moving company with changes happening by the minute, sometimes standard, annual engagement surveys just won’t cut it. Pulse surveys are an effective addition to already existing employee engagement surveys, measuring employee sentiment on a more frequent basis and guiding decision-making around people as often as around strategy.

Real-time analytics

Pulse surveys can provide that quick insight you need to drive a solution forward. Let’s say you were trying to get a sense of how a conference or event was received to make it better next time. Instead of waiting for the annual engagement survey to ask, you can send out a pulse survey after the event to understand how your employees feel, with targeted and actionable questions.

Continuous improvement

Pulse surveys allow HR and leadership to more quickly and flexibly adapt to the changing needs of your people. Culture is a dynamic concept - it changes as easily as the next person hired or after a new strategic direction. So why not keep a consistent check to make sure things are going smoothly? Not only do pulse surveys allow for targeted solutions to be made, but also to create a culture of continuous improvement that communicates agility and proactivity to employees.

More reliable insights

Have you ever encountered a survey in which you just want to skip through all the questions? Annual engagement surveys are long and drawn out, and typically measure a multitude of aspects relating to how identified employees feel with their companies - it’s usually a lot to get through. This can often result in inconsistent answers which may ultimately not reflect the reality of how employees feel. Because of the ease-of-use of pulse surveys, employees are more likely to provide reliable answers that get at the point of what you’re trying to measure.

People also don’t usually remember how they felt throughout the year, only more recently. With pulse surveys, you can capture and track changes in sentiment more reliably than if you were to wait for an annual survey. Someone who was a culture champion three months ago and is now disengaged will probably communicate his or her current frustrations. That change would be missed with less frequent surveying.  

Making reflection a habit

While this benefit is more intangible, pulse surveys can help foster more participation in company culture. By giving people a chance to voice their opinions on a more regular basis, culture becomes less of an afterthought and more integrated into day-to-day life.

While the trend towards pulse surveys is significant, these bite-size checks should not replace entire employee engagement feedback loops. The jury is still out on whether pulse surveys generate higher response rates. While they are shorter and less of a hassle to complete, the real driver of survey responses is how extreme employees feel about (either positively or negatively) and if they expect change to come out of surveying. That’s why it’s crucial to be ready to make some changes when you are sending out a pulse survey.

There’s a long way to go in terms of quantifying people. According to Gallup, the average employee takes 3-4 surveys per year, with one-third taking less than 1 per year. The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) HR Outlook report highlights that just 49% of business leaders agreed the data shared by HR was of strategic value. There’s clearly a gap in quantifying people, and pulse surveys are a step towards bridging that gap.

Adding pulse surveys to existing metrics can really amplify the impact of your people data. These short, 5-10 question surveys are usually focused on a specific aspect HR is targeting and can produce significant benefits for culture-building.

Interested in sending pulse surveys to your teams for more reliable insights into your employees? Schedule a demo with Five to Nine.