It’s a good approach to send out annual engagement surveys to understand how your employees feel and think about your company culture and your organization as a whole.
However, this approach may not be enough.
By the time you’ve analyzed the results of your annual survey and attempted to address any issues, some of your best employees may have already quit.
Your employees are your most important asset, so it’s essential to monitor their wellbeing and engagement in the workplace. One efficient and effective method of assessing the physical and mental health of your employees is by conducting frequent employee pulse surveys.
Research shows that 77% of employees want to give their employer feedback more than once a year—meaning that it’s very unlikely that your employees will see pulse surveys as a chore or as just one more thing to add to their task list. Most will welcome the opportunity to share their thoughts and workplace experiences with you, their employer.
Read on to learn more about employee pulse surveys, including why your organization should implement employee pulse surveys and which questions to ask.
What is a pulse survey?
An employee pulse survey is a short, easy to complete survey. It asks strategic questions designed to give employers a real-time, accurate snapshot of their employee’s views, attitudes and pain points towards work. Through a few brief and concise questions, employers can extract honest and valuable feedback from employees with ease. Questions don’t have to relate to one another, either. If your employees choose only to answer certain questions on the pulse survey, you can still get valuable information.
The traditional annual employee engagement surveys model can be dull in approach, lengthy in duration and overwhelming when it comes to the amount of information provided. Often, it can lead to survey fatigue, which means that survey response rates go down and the data fails at accurately measuring employee engagement or any other issues.
As organizations know well, much can change within a workforce during the span of six months to a year. Furthermore, it can take companies even more time to review the data collected in annual surveys and initiate any action plans.
Related reading: Employee Reboarding: Back to Business After COVID-19
On the other hand, employee pulse surveys are engaging, informal and have been shown to have higher participation and completion rates. Pulse surveys are conversational in tone, can be conducted on a more frequent basis, and facilitate continuous improvement throughout the organization.
In short, employee pulse surveys are easier to administer, easier to manage and generate actionable data that can help employees feel valued by your company. And valued employees are often more productive and engaged.
The benefits of employee pulse surveys
There are several benefits of using employee pulse surveys to gather data on employee sentiment. Some of the benefits of this approach include:
- Indicating the organization’s willingness to invest in their people
- Encouraging open communication in a comfortable and supportive setting
- Receiving higher response rates with concise questioning and convenience
- Reacting to more topical subjects as they come up in the workplace
- Ensuring transparency and enabling discussion through shareable insights
- Pinpointing issues before they escalate into reasons for quitting
- Reducing the timeline of reviewing survey results and implementing solutions from months down to weeks
- Empowering HR managers to affect real change in their workplace
- Empowering employees to have a voice in their workplace
- Making employees feel valued in a culture of improvement
- Strengthening relationships and trust among leadership, management and staff
By choosing to introduce employee pulse surveys, and enabling real-time tracking of engagement and satisfaction levels, employers can be made aware of rising levels of dissatisfaction and disengagement. The findings derived from employee pulse surveys can lead to quick and significant impact, preventing presenteeism and employee turnover.
Related reading: Handling Presenteeism in the Workplace
What to ask in a pulse survey—and when
As previously mentioned, employee pulse surveys don’t have to have a single “theme” in mind. The questions you ask in an employee pulse survey don’t have to relate to one another; however, you should ask questions with an idea of the insights you’re hoping to gain from employee feedback.
Ask questions about your employees’ current work experience but also questions about growth and employee education within your organization.
Some effective guiding questions for employee pulse surveys include:
- On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your work-life balance?
- How clear are our organization’s core values?
- How do you see your opportunities for career growth at our organization?
- How likely are you to recommend your company as a place to work to people you know?
- How happy are you at work?
- When it comes to your role, do you know and understand the performance expectations?
- On a scale of 0 to 10, how much recognition do you feel you receive for your work?
- Do you have access to everything you need to perform your role?
- Do you feel comfortable giving feedback to your manager?
- Do you feel comfortable giving feedback to your coworkers?
- Are you given any opportunities to learn and develop your skills?
- Do you see yourself progressing within the company?
- What more could we be doing for you?
The survey cadence, or how frequently you send out employee pulse surveys, is up to you. Some organizations choose to send our weekly surveys. We recommend trying them out monthly and asking your employees if the cadence is too short (or too long) for them.
Over to you
When it comes to employee feedback, the more check-ins, the better. With employee pulse surveys, organizations can react more regularly and act more regularly, as well as track trends and observe improvements over time.
The most important thing when it comes to employee surveys is not how frequently you send them out or which questions you ask. The most important thing is having a framework for accountability: reviewing survey results, sharing the insights with your team and enacting meaningful change within your organization.
While you’re keeping a pulse on the employee experience provided by your organization, you are also allowing your people to have a role in shaping their workplace culture.
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