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Employee Pulse Survey Template: Ask, Answer, Act

employees discussing pulse survey results

How do you make an employee pulse survey stick? Many companies struggle with keeping an eye on the ‘pulse' of their organization, which typically leaves them with fewer insights and fewer initiatives when it comes to their workforce.

So, how do you implement a pulse survey, and what do you ask? In this article, we’ll run you through the basics while also offering a template to help you get started.

Looking for something a bit more substantial? Start by downloading our employee survey template.

What Is An Employee Pulse Survey?

A pulse survey is typically used to get a quick read of an organization. It is a survey consisting of a few questions or comments, that is sent out on a regular basis. This can be monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. Think of it as a quick spot check, to see how employees are doing and where your organization can support them.

How Is It Useful?

Especially in times of change or after a large initiative has been presented or rolled out to the organization, a pulse survey can help gain a lot of great feedback from the organization as a whole.

Think of it as a population study, wherein larger groups can help clarify what is subjective opinion over objective observation. It can tell you what needs to be approved, how your employees feel, and overall satisfaction levels.

This can also have an interesting effect on seeing relationships in organizational trends, over time. And, in the case of an organization that is growing rapidly, a growing sample can reveal even further insights.

In turn, this can have an effect on:

So, in order to keep those metrics high (or to keep them low), a pulse survey can ensure that you know how people are feeling on a large scale, as well as with how certain initiatives are being received or how opinion on them may be changing over time.

What Can These Surveys Measure?

A pulse survey offers far more qualitative metrics, as it can be used to craft quantitative data points to inform HR decision-making in your organization. This may include:

  • Developing an understanding of warning signs when certain departments are faltering

  • Measuring whether current goals or initiatives are being received warmly

  • Understanding the referral rates in your organization and how quickly you may be able to scale your people

How Long Should Your Survey Be?

Five to fifteen questions, maximum. That’s because you don’t want to overwhelm respondents with a long list of questions, and you also want to ensure that each question has an amount of ‘qualitative oomph.’ That means you want the maximum number of responses possible, with the maximum amount of attention being paid to them.

Basically, the more you do them, the shorter they should be. If you ran a survey every week, you may only want 2-3 questions on it. Were you to do it monthly or quarterly, it may make more sense for it to have 5-10 questions.

In the end, it often depends on frequency.

Find Out What Your Employees Really Need

Employee Survey Template

Try this helpful template to run your next company-wide survey. Take the pulse of your organisation today.

What Is The Difference Between A Pulse and Engagement Survey?

We think of the difference here purely in terms of scale and frequency. An employee engagement survey is a much larger undertaking, with the idea to run a long survey once or twice a year.

On the other hand, a pulse survey is meant to be done quickly, easily, and with the objective of changing things at the moment (or collecting the data to inform large, long-term foundational changes).

If an engagement survey is designed to really address some of the root issues in an organization, pulse surveys help us fill the gaps in between and potentially offer warning signs to organizations of things that may be coming down the road.

Therefore, a negative result on an engagement survey may not be as much of a surprise, or an HR team can take measures to raise that score before it comes about.

How Do Pulse Surveys Influence Company Culture?

Having a quarterly or monthly survey can ensure that employees feel heard. And, if your company values things like feedback and transparency, this can go a long way in informing your overall corporate culture.

On top of that, when feedback is actioned or steps are taken in some way, shape, or form, it can also have a positive impact on the idea of accountability within an organization.

While people do enjoy feeling heard, if you don’t partner that listening with action, it can have a negative effect on motivation and morale. That is why, in order for a pulse survey to have more than a symbolic effect on corporate culture, it needs to be paired with real action.

Should It Be Anonymous?

In almost all cases, yes. Employees need to have the security to feel as though they can share their true opinions, without having to line that up with what they think may be expected of them.

In some cases, you may want to make it optional for people to offer their names (perhaps if they would be happy to have HR reach out to them on an individual level), but this should rarely (if ever) be mandatory.

How Should You Communicate A Pulse Survey?

As an HR team, communicating the need for a pulse survey is critical. You want to make sure people feel excited about answering the questions, and you want them to feel free to be honest with you, too.

Define the purpose of your pulse survey to your entire organization. Help employees understand what you are focusing on, what you are trying to learn about, and how you may pair their responses with actions down the road.

What Should Your Pulse Survey Process Look Like?

Ready to get started rolling out your organization’s next pulse survey? Here are the steps you should take:

  • Determine why you want to run a pulse survey (general insights, time-specific data, after making changes, etc.)

  • Choose the questions you want to ask and potentially run them by key stakeholders.

  • Make sure that the potential results of your questions align with the data points you want to create.

  • Announce the pulse survey to your company (purpose, expectations, potential actions).

  • Start the survey by sending it out to your organization (potentially provide updates on percent completion).

  • Analyze the results, share them with management and the organization, and derive insights that can turn into action.

  • Consider the actions you want to take, or make them, and then run the pulse survey again.

Does Your Organization Need A Pulse Survey?

Starting a pulse survey can be a critical step when it comes to being more strategic in your HR efforts. But, do you even have the time to invest in something like this? If your manual processes are holding you back, you may need to invest in an HR software that is up to the task.

Click the button below to discover Personio, today, and how our HR software can even help store survey documents and offer analytics, as well.

Our Employee Survey Template

Employee Survey Template