Measuring employee engagement can’t be an afterthought for organisations of any size. Understanding your employees is vital for building a motivated, committed, healthy and high-performing workforce.

From understanding the sentiment towards tasks, people or processes, to understanding reactions to large company events, or career progression, understanding those who work for your organisation is the key to unlocking their full potential.

A popular and effective type of employee engagement survey is the pulse survey.

What is a pulse survey?

Pulse surveys are short, specific engagement surveys, used to provide useful information on employee satisfaction and engagement. They can be used to track the Engagement Index, KPIs, as well as other topic areas more regularly than full census surveys.

Organisations can choose when they want to deploy these types of employee surveys, usually at least once in between your annual surveys, to help track change and impacts of actions. Many organisations enjoy using pulse surveys more regularly, potentially even weekly. This can create an extremely vivid picture of employee engagement and help organisations understand how the engagement of employees changes over time.

The data and information provided by pulse surveys helps ensure organisations are keeping their employees happy and engaged. In a competitive market, this is paramount for organisations to grow sustainably.

How to design and run a pulse survey

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to pulse surveys. Each organisation may want to structure and design them differently to suit their specific business needs. The main priority is to understand what an organisation wants to learn and gain from such an activity, and subsequently make sure the questions asked, and the way they are asked, reflect that.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get started with pulse surveys, here at Edgecumbe, we specialise in connecting employee engagement with business strategy. We can help provide tailored support, tools and guidance for your organisation, so you can measure, track and action best practice employee engagement survey methods. We can ensure your efforts to learn about your employees are effective and yield meaningful results. Learn more.

When structuring and designing pulse surveys, there are a few things to consider. Pulse surveys should be quick and simple to answer. They are supposed to give quick feedback on specific metrics. The structure below offers some guidance on how to get started:

  1. Survey design

This is about deciding what you want to measure and gain from the Pulse Survey. Asking broad, ambiguous or unimportant questions will provide broad, ambiguous and unimportant answers!

As pulse surveys are supposed to be short and quick to answer, crafting questions that reflect this is crucial. Asking a lot of comments questions can work against the effectiveness of a pulse survey. Instead, use scale or multiple-choice answers that are easy and quick for employees to interpret and answer.

For suggestions on the types of questions to ask, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can listen to your specific areas of interest, and ensure the Pulse Survey addresses these.

  1. Survey deployment

The way the pulse survey is deployed will also influence its effectiveness. This means thinking about the frequency at which you want to deploy the surveys and how they fit in with employee routines and expectations.

Although a daily survey might be great in theory, if it isn’t practical for employees to complete surveys daily and importantly, you won’t be able to respond to and use the results to make changes in a timely manner, then deploying them this frequently won’t be a successful strategy.

Given the experience we have with our clients, our recommendation for many organisations, especially those starting out with employee engagement surveys or pulse surveys, would be to survey no more than 4 times per year. Surveying once per quarter (one of which being your deep dive annual engagement survey) allows for more regular tracking of engagement levels, KPIs and emerging topics, whilst also giving managers time to use and communicate each set of results.

  1. Survey analysis

Collecting information and data about employee engagement is only half the battle – analysing and interpreting this information is what leads to change and innovation in employee engagement.

Leveraging specialist employee engagement consultants, can be of value to help identify key indicators and metrics within surveys to draw upon for subsequent action.

We design our reports to highlight the key messages within the data quickly and simply, using simple visuals and colour, so that managers can move to the important task of taking action as quickly as possible, whilst the survey data is still relevant.

  1. Action results

Ensuring any employee surveys lead to action and change is vital for businesses to adapt and evolve. Organisations should look to get as much value out of the surveys as possible. Following the survey analysis, a clear process should be mapped out to communicate the results, agree actions and implement any change necessary.

Action planning, wherever possible should involve as many employees as possible from all levels of the organisation.

Rather than trying to tackle everything and create long lists of things that may never get done, after each pulse survey encourage managers to focus on the one or two most beneficial changes they could make to their team’s experience at work.

Benefits of using pulse surveys

Pulse surveys offer a quick and effective way to review employee engagement. They can be relatively inexpensive and don’t require a lot of resources upfront. This means they place little stress or burden on the organisation, and allow meaningful data to be collected in a quick and easy format.

Full census organisational surveys are important for gathering a detailed picture of staff opinions about their working lives, however they provide one snap-shot in time and do not provide insight into how levels of staff satisfaction, commitment and motivation change over the course of a year. That’s where pulse surveys come in. Depending on business needs, they can be deployed more frequently and help paint a clearer picture of how employee engagement changes over time.

Due to their quick deployment, they are better positioned to identify any potential problems or issues arising in an organisation. This means businesses can react sooner.

Pulse surveys also help to create a change in perceived company culture, raising employees’ feelings of being valued by the organisation and involved in shaping it. A more ongoing and continual approach to employee engagement often means employees feel that they are being listened to more.

Pulse survey software

If you’re thinking of giving pulse surveys or any type of employee engagement survey a go, then make sure you discover the solutions from us here at Edgecumbe. We pride ourselves on being able to help organisations realise tangible benefits from their employee engagement efforts. We can help you design your surveys, deploy them, report on and work with the results, ensuring your employees feel more engaged than ever before.

Contact us today.