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Pulse surveys – A quick guide

Pulse surveys enable organisations to gain critical employee feedback – on a regular basis – with the aim to track key employee engagement indicators. But what are the benefits of pulse surveys? And what makes a ‘good’ pulse survey? Read on to find out!


What are pulse surveys?

A pulse survey is more regular way to gather your employees’ thoughts. While annual surveys have been a staple for HR and people teams for several years, pulse surveys are often shorter, faster surveys sent out on a monthly or quarterly basis.

They help give you a continuous snapshot of your workforce’s opinions and satisfaction levels. Employee pulse surveys can be used to support general employee engagement, the development of company values and culture, or to support organisational change programmes.


Why do organisations use pulse surveys?

Pulse surveys are a great way for organisations to check in with their employees on a variety of topics, and are typically aligned to the overall strategic direction of the business. They usually form part of a wider employee engagement strategy and can help HR teams track progress on their initiatives and culture over time.

They can highlight potential areas for improvement within the business, preventing employee dissatisfaction and helping leaders to proactively manage staff retention. Similarly, they can highlight the areas that are doing well and help to create consistent approaches across the business.


What makes a good pulse survey?

A good pulse survey should:

1. Have a clear purpose which is communicated to all staff, aligned with specific organisational objectives or people challenges.
2. Run at regular, predictable intervals with enough time between to action any outputs – we recommend at least every three months to ensure consistent response levels.
3. Take under five minutes to complete, containing between 10 and 15 questions.
4. Be easily accessible and user-friendly for all relevant employees, regardless of their location or access to technology.
5. Be a springboard for action. Employee belief can be quickly lost if the insights aren’t acted upon – and within good time.


What are the benefits of pulse surveys?

Employee pulse surveys are good for building a great employee-owned culture. If action is taken from the results gathered, employees feel like they’re heard and valued.
They generally have a better response rate than larger, more in-depth annual engagement surveys because they’re much quicker to complete. And, because employees are generally more honest when completing a confidential survey, the organisation is more likely to get a fuller picture across a wider section of the business.
You can use pulse surveys to follow up on specific challenges, initiatives or development plans and align them with organisational KPIs. You can also identify
risks to employee wellbeing and retention and be proactive, rather than reactive, in addressing challenges.
While regular pulse surveys are a useful employee listening tool, they’re a platform for honesty – and that can mean receiving insights that are difficult to digest. Senior leaders need to be prepared to accept the results as constructive criticism and view the responses as a catalyst for change.

What tools should you use for pulse surveys?


We recommend using a single platform for all your employee feedback – from onboarding through to engagement and exit surveys – to simplify reporting and allow you to easily analyse the data, spot trends and flag areas of concern.

The WorkBuzz platform offers easy-to-use, intuitive dashboards that are designed for busy managers, not data scientists. Pulse surveys are standard across all our plans and can even be accessed by offline employees via our ‘kiosk’ mode.

You can choose from a template of questions to get you started, or – if you need additional support – our People Science team can help you design a question set that truly aligns with your wider strategy.


How can we help?

What our customers say...

WorkBuzz have acted as indispensable partners in our ongoing ambition to make us truly an employer of choice and a fantastic place for all our colleagues to work!

Donna Fearnley
Group HR Director
LKQ Euro Car Parts

I was really excited by WorkBuzz's ability to provide a more tailored, bespoke service – they’re hugely flexible and don’t just shoehorn off-the-shelf solutions to their clients. Loraine Thomas, Director of People and Culture

Loraine Thomas
Director of People and Culture

The flexibility of the WorkBuzz platform and its valuable insights has allowed Arbuthnot to grasp what’s important to our employees and use this information to drive initiatives to improve the employee experience.

Catriona Mackay Miller
HR Business Partner
Arbuthnot Latham

The team at WorkBuzz have been first-class. We are delighted with the outcome of the survey, the format it is presented in and how we can identify areas that can make us even better as an employer.

Richard Chatten
Senior Business Development Manager
TaxAssist Group

WorkBuzz have been so supportive and flexible in helping us get our first survey set up. Our Exec team were delighted with how quickly we received the feedback and how simple and user-friendly the tool is.

Helen Gray
Head of HR
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society

WorkBuzz's ability to build trust with our workforce to get them to share open feedback by having a clear confidentiality promise has been critical.

Loraine Thomas
Director of People and Culture

WorkBuzz has been incredibly helpful throughout the transformation of our employee listening strategy.

Catriona Mackay Miller
HR Business Partner
Arbuthnot Latham

We have been very pleased with WorkBuzz. The past 12 months have been massively challenging and the insights we have gained have helped to inform key business and people decisions.

David Wilkinson
Human Resources Director
Premier Foods

Lots of HR tech companies talk a good game, but turn out to be much less flexible in practice. WorkBuzz are an exception in the employee experience space.

Neil Hayward
Former HR Director

By really understanding why people consider leaving the business and engaging with them after the survey to discuss changes to improve these drivers, we’ve been able to improve our retention by 20%.

John Wrighthouse
Chief People Officer
Shell Energy

WorkBuzz is a simple-to-use system that gives us confidential feedback from our colleagues. After completing nine surveys, we can now track trends and discuss meaningful results within the organisation.

Sally Hilton
HR Officer
Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association

We've had some great feedback from our people about how easy the survey was and it's already generated lots of positive discussions about what's going well and what we can change.

Larry Grady
Chief Executive
Purley Park Trust

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