- Employee engagement is down worldwide, costing companies $7 trillion each year
- Pulse surveys can help leaders understand and improve employee experience and engagement in real-time
- Running effective pulse surveys require you to get frequency, questions, and context right
$7 trillion per year.
That's how much global companies lose because of disengaged employees. Gallup estimates that only 36% of US employees and 20% of global employees are engaged at work. And that's despite billions of investment in HR tech and new cool AI innovations. So, what's going on here?
Not a long time, employee surveys were essential for companies to get feedback and measure employee engagement. And that worked back then. However, in today's fast-paced world, companies rely more on crunching big data that they collect from many sources to be more agile. Some examples: how quickly they respond to emails, how much they engage in meetings, and connections outside their teams.
That's a big mistake, which companies are only realizing now, as Gallup's numbers suggest. An engagement survey is one of the best tools leaders can use to predict employee behavior, make people heard, and measure engagement. Companies need to adapt these surveys to today's fast-paced world of work, not replace them with big-data-based tools, which are backward-looking and full of bias.
How can they do that? Pulse surveys. These are much shorter than engagement surveys, and leaders can send them out every week, month, or quarter. "Pulse" in pulse surveys helps leaders listen to the workforce's heartbeat and measure their sentiment on work culture, mental health, and a sense of purpose. Here's how you can use pulse surveys to measure, improve, and maintain your company's and people's health.
How pulse surveys help
Pulse surveys, or pulse checks, are a part of broader engagement surveys that companies use to listen to their people and collect feedback. These surveys are more frequent than regular engagement surveys, which companies run once or twice a year. Pulse surveys do not replace engagement surveys but complement them by helping leaders move at the speed of business.
Pulse surveys are getting more and more popular every day because of these three reasons:
- They help leaders get insights into things that need immediate attention instead of having them wait another six months
- They help people feel heard and appreciated thanks to their relevance, frequency, and continuity
- They are more engaging to people, with an average response rate of 85%
How to pick a survey frequency
One of the most critical factors in pulse survey's success is its frequency. Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, you need to find a cadence that works for you. Because of their nature, pulse surveys are more frequent than typical engagement surveys. But you should avoid sending out too many because it may leave your employees exhausted.
You can decide on a survey frequency by analyzing your past participation rates. If less than 50% of the people participated in your surveys, it means you need to send surveys less often. Get to a sweet spot with trial and error, and then stick with it. Start with sending a pulse survey every week.
How to structure your surveys
As everywhere else in business, less is more with pulse surveys. Ask too many questions, and fewer people will participate. We recommend keeping your survey to a maximum of 15 questions that shouldn't take people more than 5 minutes to complete. Here are three ways you can structure your surveys:
- Behavioral: Ask questions to monitor people's behaviors about the company's culture and practices. For example, "Do you believe you have a healthy work-life balance working here?"
- Actionable: Have some measurable and actionable items in your survey. These can be questions like "How likely are you to recommend Company to a friend?"
- Open-ended: It's critical to get the context around the answers people gave you. Having open-ended questions gives your survey results the depth and clarity you need to drive action. An example: "What kind of training do you need to grow in your career?"
Start with an 80:10:10 ratio: 80% behavioral, 10% actionable, and 10% open-ended questions in the survey.
How to choose your questions
Asking the right question in your pulse surveys is not rocket science. You can ask anything you believe to be critical to employee engagement. Here are some questions to help you get up and running with your pulse surveys. Use these as a starting point, and feel free to modify them as needed.
- Does your manager have regular 1:1s?
- What do you believe your manager should do differently?
- Do you believe your manager supports you?
Learning and development
- Does the work you do align with your life goals?
- Do you feel like growing in your career working here?
- What new responsibilities are you ready to take on?
- Do you have a healthy work-life balance working here?
- Do you know how to ask for help?
- What do you believe the company can do better to support your well-being?
- Describe the work culture here in three words.
- Do you feel heard and cared for here?
- Where do you believe our culture falls short?
Diversity and inclusion
- Do you believe the company has people from different backgrounds?
- Do you believe everyone feels heard and welcomed?
- How can we be more diverse and inclusive?
How to connect pulse checks with eNPS
You can also attach eNPS with your pulse checks to measure people's satisfaction, identification, commitment, and loyalty to your company. When you do, remember to make it the first thing people see in the survey. Read all about eNPS and how it will help you unlock employee engagement here.
How to make people care about pulse checks
If you want people to participate in your surveys, you must tell them in advance. People should know why you are conducting surveys, when they will have to complete and send them, and how leaders will use the results. Providing context around pulse surveys will help you earn their trust and get more people to participate.
HR tech will keep evolving, new bright shining objects will keep coming, and big data will keep getting bigger—all of which people leaders will use to know what matters to our people. But as we mentioned above, all of that will only make engagement surveys more important, not less. Pulse surveys help leaders collect actionable data and change behavior, not just measure and report it.
Mesh can help you improve employee engagement by understanding your people's experience in real-time. With Mesh's eNPS and Pulse Checks, you can run configurable pulse surveys and collect powerful, actionable insights by helping your people share their experiences in real-time. Schedule a demo to know more.