To gain a quick and periodic understanding of how employees experience their work, their work environment, and the areas with potential for improvement, traditional employee surveys have been replaced by pulse surveys.
According to a Forbes study, a traditional employee engagement survey elicits only a 30-40 percent survey response rate. On the other hand, a pulse survey elicits an 85 percent response rate. This higher response rate explains that a pulse survey is a powerful tool for employee feedback in the present day.
What is Pulse Surveying?
As is implicit in the term ‘pulse’, an employee pulse survey is short. It consists of questions sent out to employees regularly (monthly/quarterly) to obtain their feedback. These surveys are used to know how employees feel about their job roles, satisfaction levels, workplace environment, etc. Just as a pulse indicates human health, a pulse survey gives a quick indication of organizational health.
Pulse surveys help to quickly identify any major concerns and other areas of improvement in an organization. The ease of administration, gathering feedback, and gleaning valuable insights have led to the popularity of pulse surveys in organizations.
Why Use Pulse Surveys?
Pulse surveys are a means of soliciting regular feedback from employees. This conveys to the employees that their opinion is valued. This enhances workplace engagement and reduces employee turnover.
Pulse surveys provide an early warning on employee-related issues. The early warning helps initiate timely preventive/corrective measures to minimize any negative business impact. Based on the received feedback, pulse surveys help determine the ground-level effectiveness of operational plans. These surveys also help establish a correlation between employee feedback and critical business outcomes such as business performance, employee turnover, etc.
Types of Employee Pulse Survey
An employee pulse survey is a brief survey conducted regularly to assess factors such as satisfaction at work, employee engagement, etc. The various types of employee pulse surveys include:
- Company Culture Survey
An organization’s culture defines what its values are. A company culture survey is conducted to assess employees’ alignment with the organization’s values. This survey requires employees to answer questions about the organization’s work culture.
- Compensation Survey
This survey helps determine the satisfaction levels employees have with their compensation. It provides hard data on the satisfaction levels and inputs to improve the compensation policy where required.
- Exit Survey
This survey is used to obtain feedback from existing employees. Typically, this survey tends to be more honest feedback on aspects such as reason(s) for leaving, the organization’s strengths/weaknesses, work culture, etc. The survey provides invaluable insights for improving organizational processes.
- Motivation Survey
The survey helps ascertain factors that motivate employees to be productive at work and achieve their KPIs. Employees can also suggest what else can be done to motivate them and improve overall employee satisfaction.
- Wage Gap Evaluation Survey
In this survey, employees share feedback on the company’s remuneration policy. It is important to assess the wage gap to change the remuneration policy.
- Workplace Benefits Survey
In addition to their salary, employees also expect and receive workplace benefits such as health insurance, paid leave, etc. This survey helps the organization assess the employees’ opinion on the adequacy of their workplace benefits.
5 Advantages of Pulse Surveying You Must Know
In addition to being quick and easy compared to the traditional methods of conducting surveys, pulse surveying comes with several other advantages:
- Increases Employee Engagement
Pulse survey demonstrates that the organization values employees’ opinions, which ultimately increase employee engagement, enhances productivity and reduces employee turnover. The feeling of being valued improves employee loyalty.
- Improves Relevancy of Feedback
The short questionnaire, typically of about 10 questions, can focus on the most important factors determining organizational health. According to a Gallup article, the pulse survey returns feedback most relevant to the organization to take corrective action wherever required.
- Boosts a Happier Work Culture
Regular surveys mean more data for the organization to act on to glean insights into what is bothering employees. Corrective action can be initiated faster, boosting the organization’s happiness index, which eventually translates to a happier culture.
- Promotes Open Communication
Pulse surveys to improve communication between the organization’s leaders and employees as they are anonymous. This helps obtain meaningful insights and initiate quick corrective action.
- Gives Higher Response Rate
Pulse surveys have higher response rates and help gather a larger amount and variety of data. The survey consists of only a few questions and is therefore easy to complete and is a quick method of ascertaining what employees and customers think of the organization. Hence, they record higher response rates than other types of surveys.
How to Make the Most of Your Pulse Surveys?
Pulse surveys can be used to measure anything related to organizational performance. They can be used to obtain feedback on any organizational priority or goal that needs to be tracked. Periodic pulse surveys of the same performance parameter help track it over time.
To derive the maximum benefit from the pulse survey requires planning and deliberation. The steps required include:
- Clearly Define the Purpose: Identify the primary goals of the survey. For example, the purpose could be to assess how employees react to a new merger.
- Create the Right Pulse Questions: This ties in with first deciding on the goal(s) of the survey. Having decided on the goal, frame the questions that will help uncover the insights that you are looking for. Design the appropriate questions that help uncover the insights sought.
- Determine the Length of Your Survey: Depending on the goal and the subject, decide how deep you want the survey to be.
- Figure Out the Appropriate Cadence: Picking the right cadence influences the response rate and the effort the employees put in to provide feedback.
- Be Certain You Can Apply Advanced People Analytics: The insights obtained inform talent decisions, help improve workforce processes and enable a positive employee experience.
6 Steps to a Successful Pulse Survey
- Announce the Survey
This step aims to inform the employees of the details of the survey – when it will be conducted, the duration, mode of participation, purpose of the survey, etc.
- Start the Survey
Roll out the survey at an appropriate time that will enable maximum participation. The mode of the survey could be physical or digital.
- Analyze the Responses
Analyze the received responses by tallying any quantitative data that might have been collected. Look for patterns and identify areas and actionable insights where employees’ feedback suggests the organization lacks.
- Share the Results
Share the finding of the survey with the employees. It reassures them that their message was conveyed correctly to the management. It also helps to convey the planned response and the areas where you are targeting correction first.
- Initiate Action
This is the most critical part since it conveys that you are serious about the survey. If only a survey is taken and is not followed up with action, employees become cynical and feel that the management is just deceiving them with theatrics.
- Review and Repeat
After the action has been taken, conduct another survey to measure effectiveness. Discard what does not work and retain what works. Repeat the process to identify and resolve the remaining problems.
Pulse surveys are not meant to replace all the other types of employee surveys in organizations. Pulse surveys are handy and effective tools to track a metric of interest over a period of time.
Often, apprehensions are expressed about survey fatigue because of the repetitive and periodic nature of pulse surveys. Such apprehensions are misplaced. Such apprehensions can be allayed by effective communication of the survey results and visible action on the obtained insights.
The use of appropriate employee engagement software tools is also a great option for planning and designing pulse surveys. These tools help you with surveys and survey templates meant to assess employee engagement.