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Pulse Surveys 101: The What, Why & How

Collecting regular employee feedback goes a long way towards strengthening your company culture. And conducting surveys regularly is win-win: you’re both empowering employees to make their voices heard and informing your plan of action for aligning your culture with your business goals.
But 64% of organizations only measure employee engagement annually, while nearly one in five employees report that their companies don’t formally measure engagement at all.

So, how can you easily and regularly solicit employee feedback? Pulse surveys are one great option. Read on to learn what pulse surveys are, how they help your business, and how you can get started using them.

What is a Pulse Survey?

Pulse surveys are single-question or short-form surveys that help you learn about employee sentiment quickly and easily. Also called single-click surveys or one-click surveys, pulse surveys are short and focused — within CultureIQ’s platform, for example, pulse surveys are email based (rather than web based) so employees can respond to pulse surveys directly from their inbox. As a result, pulse surveys help you measure specific issues over time and tend to earn higher response rates than a longer, more involved survey might.

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Benefits of Conducting Pulse Surveys

Facilitate Quick Results

Because employees can answer pulse surveys directly from their email inboxes, you’ll likely see results immediately — no more waiting weeks for responses.

Take Action Promptly

Diving into an ocean of feedback isn’t necessary with pulse surveys. They provide straightforward results on one topic, which helps you identify immediate next steps on improving said issue.

Measure Change Over Time

Pulse surveys offer the opportunity to learn how employee sentiment on one topic changes over time. Because they’re simple and quick, you can administer them more often to check in on a topic — hence, the name ‘pulse.’

Dive Into the Details

By conducting pulse surveys, you can ask employees about the smaller, day-to-day aspects of your culture that might fall through the cracks in a larger or annual survey.


5 Ways to Use Pulse Surveys

1. Uncover Trends in Employee Morale

Use pulse surveys to ask employees the same question over time — weekly or monthly, for instance — and compare results from each instance. The trends will help you stay ahead and plan accordingly to keep employees happy and engaged.

2. Get Feedback on a New Initiative

Organizational change is difficult to adapt to for everyone. Check in with employees after implementing new initiatives — from a re-organized office kitchen to a new meeting structure, you’ll be surprised at the strength of employee opinions on changes around the office.

3. Follow Up On A Survey

Pulse surveys can complement your longer culture or employee engagement surveys. Once you’ve followed up on your survey and communicated an action plan, turn to your employees again. Have they seen improvement since the last survey? Are they satisfied with the plan set by the company? This temperature check will help you course correct as needed.

4. Check In On Progress

If you’ve identified an area of your culture to strengthen — say, collaboration or communication — pulse surveys can help you re-measure employees’ ratings of the quality you’re working to improve to check in on progress you’ve made.

5. Ask Targeted Questions

Turn to pulse surveys after meetings or team events to see what employees thought. The results can help you adjust your approach for the next one. Or, use pulse surveys to vote for a potential initiative or program.


Does your company conduct pulse surveys? What are some ways they use them? Share with us on Twitter

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