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How pulse surveys help you keep employee engagement on track

3 Mar 2020 - Blog

How pulse surveys help you keep employee engagement on track

Annual engagement surveys provide a fantastic opportunity to connect with your people in a meaningful way that drives significant change. The data is broad and deep, providing an unparalleled ability for internal and external benchmarking, rich analysis of sentiment, and identification of the drivers of engagement.

However, a lot happens in a year, and many of our clients want to keep in touch with engagement and key issues on a more regular basis than this. Enter the pulse survey.


What exactly is a pulse?

A pulse survey is a short ‘check in’ in between deeper less frequent surveys. Whereas your annual employee survey may cover all aspects of engagement, and even wellbeing, a pulse survey typically focuses on high-priority issues that you need to track progress on.

Why should you use pulse?

If you’re responsible for the employee engagement plan in your organisation, you’ll understand the difficulty in maintaining momentum throughout the year.

Pulse surveys are brilliant for checking progress against actions set in your deeper annual survey, provide metrics for reporting and give you much needed visibility. With these results, you can adjust actions or prioritise them differently and communicate progress quickly. This helps keep momentum for progress and change, whilst you work towards improving scores for the next annual survey.

They can provide information to help justify additional budget for new initiatives to drive future employee engagement.

As pulses are more frequent, they also give you the opportunity to raise issues that are important at a particular moment in time, without waiting for the next annual survey.


How frequently should you pulse?

Employee engagement is about the active change, not the passive listening. Understand the realistic pace of change in your organisation.  If you ask staff for their opinions, they will expect change. If you can’t deliver, you will have failed, and they’ll tell you as much.

One or two pulses are common between annual surveys. Any more frequently than this, and it’s almost impossible to digest all the data, and take action. People are finding that whilst ‘always on’ works well in the consumer space to track immediate customer response, it does not translate so well in the employee world. The insights don’t change as frequently, and response rates take a nose dive when people are asked too often. Short term fluctuations in results will as likely be due to sampling error as to any meaningful movement.


The best way to pulse will depend on your organisation

The bottom line is of course that organisations are all different, have cultures, demographics, and engagement strategies. How you survey will depend on all of these factors, and providing you set and meet your peoples’ expectations, and actually do something in response to their comments, you’re on the right track.

Related posts:

Are we over surveying our people?

Why the employee survey still matters

Employee surveys are a waste of time

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