Would you check your bank account once or twice a year? I am fairly sure the answer to that is no. So why do many businesses only check in on their employees no more than once a year? We know that employees who are engaged are more productive and take less time off work. They are happier, and in turn they make their customers and clients happier. It therefore makes no sense to just monitor employee engagement once per annum, when it naturally goes up and down throughout the year as a result of a number of factors. This is where pulse surveys become so important. They are typically just 5-10 questions, often focus in on one specific area, are quick to complete, and are done regularly (often monthly).
The benefits of pulse surveys are as follows:
1. They offer real-time insights
It’s an obvious benefit, but when you survey more frequently you can get closer to a real time view of the engagement level of employees. This is useful as you can get a more accurate sense of how specific events might be effecting them such as a potential merger, or a restructure.
2. Your employees feel they have a voice
Many employees get frustrated and disenchanted with the annual survey process as it can be quite extensive and time consuming to complete, and then analysis and reporting of the results by the organisation typically takes a long time. Also, it is usual for employees to report their doubt that anything has really changed as a result of the output of the survey. With pulse surveys, they typically look at such a narrow topic that changes made by the organisation in response will be very evident to employees.
3. Higher response rates
If you give employees a quick and interactive way to be heard, they are likely to respond. This is why using an interactive poll is so effective. It is easy to use, can be company branded, and easy on the eye. Employees can respond from a phone, tablet or PC. This gives options to also respond on the move, rather than being restricted to filling out an annual survey at the desk PC.
4. It encourages continuous improvement
Most organisations set out to encourage a culture of continuous improvement. Why? Because it allows for incremental positive change which is self-sustaining. However for it to be effective it must permeate every aspect of the organisation, and that includes employee engagement.
The sky is the limit in terms of questions that can be asked, but to get the creative juices flowing we have come up with a few examples.
- Do you understand the company’s long term strategy? (YES/NO)
- Would you recommend working for this organisation to a friend? (YES/NO)
- How happy are you at work? (1-10)
- To what extent do you feel you have opportunities for growth? (1-10)
- How would you rate your work life balance? (1-10)
There are no obvious disadvantages to employee pulse surveys. They are particularly effective when conducted using interactive polling. To be successful an organisation should be cautious of not asking too many questions, staying focussed on a topic, sharing results promptly, and acting on the results in a visible way.