What is an employee pulse survey?

Like other forms of employee surveys, pulse surveys principally serve to allow senior managers to gain better insights into what their workforce is thinking and feeling. Although some employee feedback exercises are very extensive and will ask workers numerous questions to help gain a deeper understanding of the current situation in a given workplace, pulse surveys tend to provide more of a snapshot.





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Why are employee pulse surveys important?


A pulse survey can help to both shape and reshape a workplace culture. How? The answer is that they are often carried out several times in quick succession so that change management can be measured.


Let’s say, for example, that a business undertook a staff feedback survey and discovered that a high proportion of employees were considering leaving their posts within the next three months or so. Under such circumstances, a senior manager might decide to make some changes, perhaps by altering the management structure, the way bonuses are paid or by rebranding the business. All might be reasonable steps to take to try and lessen staff turnover and bear down on recruitment and retention costs.


However, only by conducting follow-up research will it be possible to determine how successful, or otherwise, these measures might be. Essentially, this is what an employee pulse survey offers – a convenient way of checking in on employees to see what is working and what might need to be tweaked.

What questions may be included in a pulse survey?


By asking the right questions, it will be possible to gain an accurate idea about change management processes within an organisation. Typically, pulse surveys will enquire whether employees feel more or less positive about their work compared to when they were last asked. This would generate a key metric that showed the direction of travel in the workplace.


Equally, pulse surveys can ask for feedback on specific issues that might have been raised by workers. “How are the new shift patterns that have been recently introduced helping you with your work-life balance?” might be a typical question manufacturing businesses could ask, for instance. Employers who have discovered a toxic workplace culture from past surveys might want to ask questions like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident do you feel about discussing problems with your line manager?” Of course, it all depends on the specific circumstances but what all pulse surveys do is offer a great chance to improve employee culture, something that is incredibly important in organisations that want to provide a supportive and inclusive place to work.


In other words, without pulse surveys checking on the progress of workplace changes, it could be that your organisation isn’t making the positive progress you think it is or – even worse – could be going in the wrong direction. By ‘checking in’ with employees with a simple questionnaire, it is possible to confirm what you are doing and not make ongoing decisions based on prejudice, guesswork or out of date data.

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What are the benefits of employee pulse surveys?

There are numerous benefits of conducting employee pulse surveys. To begin with, when you compare them to full feedback surveys, they offer a great deal more versatility. This is because they’re shorter, take less effort to set up and make fewer demands on employees to complete them. As such, you can get one up and running in your organisation within a much shorter time period. This means being able to work out what you want to know and discovering the answers much more quickly, ideal in a rapidly changing workplace environment.


Another key aspect of a pulse survey being a less time-consuming way of getting feedback from employees isn’t just that it means being able to do so in a way that captures the moment at any particular time. This is because shorter questionnaires tend to be completed in greater numbers than longer ones. As such, if employers really want to know what all of their staff think – not just the people who are likely to complete workplace questionnaires – then this shorter format will often provide improved response rates.


Overall, however, the main benefit of conducting pulse surveys among employees is that it offers the chance to compare current performance against previous survey results. This means supporting a workplace culture of continuous improvement. Of course, many organisations say they are committed to continually getting better, but not all of them measure their performance in this regard. By conducting pulse surveys every month or every quarter, it becomes possible to make more adjustments and to fine-tune workplace strategies. That’s something that simply isn’t the case when you survey your staff only once every few years or even less frequently.

Lastly, it should be underlined that pulse surveys are appreciated by employees. Many view them as a sure sign that their employer is interested in what they have to say and in making the workplace a better one. On its own, this can lead to improved workplace contentment, lower staff turnover costs and a boosted brand reputation.

How can WorkBuzz employee pulse surveys be useful to employers?


The employee engagement platform on offer from WorkBuzz is ideally suited to employee pulse surveys. The online questionnaire format means that workers can feedback their ideas rapidly and anonymously, two key features of pulse surveys. What’s more, changing the questions you want to ask is simple with our platform so it can be as adaptable to your needs as you like.


Customisable questions are just one way that WorkBuzz’s platform can help to deliver world-class pulse surveys, however. You will also be able to benefit from flexible scheduling, on-demand workforce polls and by gaining instantaneous feedback. What’s more, our artificial intelligence system will simplify your employee feedback from pulse surveys so it is easier to get to grips with, thereby allowing for improved management decisions to be made.

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