Employees engaged? Take a quick pulse

By Jacob Shriar

engaged employeesEmployee engagement surveys are great, but they’re rarely done often enough. An annual engagement survey can give you a nice, global picture of all your employees and how they feel about the culture and their work.

The problem is, a year or every six months is too long of a time frame; way too much happens in between.

Employee engagement is a very important topic these days, because research has clearly shown that it matters.

Engaged employees are more productive, take less time off, make customers happier, etc. Measuring employee engagement can’t be an afterthought anymore. It needs to occur much more frequently, and everyone needs to be on board.

I’m not advocating getting rid of the annual survey; I’m simply saying that you should be performing weekly “pulse” surveys.

Management needs to stay on top of things for two reasons.

   1. At any given moment, you should know how employees are feeling.

   2. You need to be able to spot trends to lower your turnover.

First, let me explain what an employee pulse survey is, and then give some important points to keep in mind as you’re creating them. Finally, I’ll give a few examples of questions that you could ask.

What are they?

A pulse survey is a survey that is short, and very specific.

A pulse survey could be anywhere from 1-10 questions, and be focused on a specific area for improvement.

Just like any other survey though, remember, if you’re not ready to act, then don’t bother.

Pulse surveys are even more important, because they happen so quickly. Since they’re focused on a specific area for improvement, you should in theory be ready to act on that area.

Since the survey is so short, you can send it out every week. Many companies are only asking one question per week, and that’s great, but they often make a very big mistake: They ask the same question every single week.

I can understand why they make this mistake: That data is very valuable to look at over time, but employees get bored very easily.

I like the idea of one question a week though, it makes it very simple for employees, so the participation rate should be extremely high.

3 key components

Here are a few important things to keep in mind as you create and roll out pulse surveys.

1. Ensure anonymity

It’s important to make employees feel comfortable enough to answer honestly. Let them know that it’s completely anonymous and that they can feel free to say whatever they want.

In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need this, but being realistic, you should ensure anonymity.

2. Communicate clearly

Remember, there is no such thing as too much communication.

Communicate with employees the purpose of the survey to ensure that there’s no confusion on their part. This will also help with the quality of the responses and the participation rate.

Also, be very clear with them about what will be done with these survey results and when they can expect to see the results.

3. Share your results

Make sure the survey results are shared with every single employee in the company, no matter what level they’re at.

Even if the results aren’t very positive, it’s important that everyone knows what’s going on.

Sharing the results shows that you trust them, and can help build high morale and connection between everyone.

Sample pulse questions

My personal favorite example of questions to ask are a combination of quantitative with qualitative. Assuming you’re taking the “one question a week” approach, you can feel free to ask a qualitative follow-up.

So for example:

On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend working at your company to a friend?

And then you can follow up with a qualitative question to get more details:

Is there anything holding you back from recommending {company} to your friends as a good place to work?

I also encourage you to get creative with the questions and choices of answers. Instead of something like “agree” or “disagree” make it a little more fun.

As an example:

Would you go for dinner to your manager’s house if you were invited?

   • No, that would be awful

   • I don’t think so

   • Yes, but only if other people go

   • Yes, I’d be honored


Jacob Shriar is Director of Customer Happiness at www.Officevibe.com.