Most organizations don’t keep mind-readers on their full-time payroll. Yet we make decisions every day in response to how our employees think and feel — sometimes based on nothing more than an educated guess.
Admittedly, it can take a lot of work to get real-time data about employee sentiment. Employee engagement surveys are a massive effort; most companies don’t deploy them more than once or twice a year. But employee sentiment and experience is a dynamic and changing paradigm, and it’s essential to have some agile ways of getting at answers about how employees feel.
That’s why pulse surveys are such an invaluable tool. A much lighter lift than exhaustive employee surveys, they can comprise a few — or even a single — questions. And they can be deployed more surgically, going to a random sample over time or to selected respondents based on specific triggers.
When used well, pulse surveys help leaders to:
- Identify and resolve challenges: Check in with employees to pinpoint and address issues negatively impacting their experience.
- Elevate innovation: Use pulse surveys to solicit suggestions and crowd-source ideas to improve programs and processes.
- Amplify employee voice: Create a platform employees trust for ongoing, open dialogue that helps every worker feel heard.
- Ease organizational transformation: Use pulse survey feedback to spot existing or potential friction points, amplify inclusion, and increase buy-in.
But did you know that pulse surveys can also be incorporated into your company’s processes to provide incredible insights into key programs and experiences? Here are a few ways of using pulse surveys you may not have considered:
Eight Innovative Ways to Leverage Pulse Surveys
Better understand your onboarding experience and identify opportunities for improvement. You can deploy surveys at intervals to new hires, managers, and other involved team members. Questions cover areas such as their understanding of their role, satisfaction with onboarding, effectiveness of training, and initial impressions of the company culture. You can also use pulse surveys to better get to know new hires and tailor their new hire experience!
Explore employee perceptions of leaders and trust in the leadership team. Understand how people are aligned with your company’s strategic goals and the effectiveness of communications from the top. Pulse surveys can also help you to assess employees' relationships with their managers and triage possible areas for improvement.
Culture and Engagement
Assess the effectiveness of your culture, teams, or departments, and overall employee engagement. Pulse surveys can help you understand how aligned employees are with your company's goals and values — and their happiness in their roles. Your team can also use surveys to keep a finger on the pulse of organizational health — assessing physical, emotional, and mental well-being — including stress levels and feelings about work-life balance.
Benefits and Rewards
Assess satisfaction with benefits and suggest possible improvements for your people programs. Pulse surveys can be regularly used to ask employees how they feel about your total rewards and benefits processes — such as open enrollment or annual reviews.
Learning and Development
Gauge the effectiveness and efficacy of your LMS and training programs, and understand how people prefer to learn. Check in periodically on learning retention and utilization to see how learning efforts are effective over time.
Post-mortem surveys on specific projects can help you understand how well those projects were executed. Identify specific challenges or silos encountered, assess project leaders and processes, and find opportunities for future improvement.
Use surveys after specific events or around changes within the organization. You can assess satisfaction with company activities and better understand employee resilience and feelings on changes, including leadership changes, layoffs, mergers and acquisitions, and company restructuring.
Just because employees have moved on doesn’t mean they don’t have interesting feedback to offer. Use alum surveys to identify strengths and areas for improvement in the departure process, and keep tabs on your employer brand.
Five Tips for Deploying Great Pulse Surveys
Pulse surveys are a little different from large-scale employee surveys, and to effectively implement the ideas above, we suggest that you use the following best practices:
- Keep pulse surveys short for quick completion. Limit surveys to one, two, or three questions.
- Use pulse surveys frequently. Capture real-time feedback by surveying small segments of your employee population regularly.
- Focus on specific goals. Ensure your questions focus on specific issues or groups. Avoid ambiguous or generic questions. The more detailed the questions, the more precise the feedback you will get — making it easier to understand exactly what action needs to be taken.
- Make them actionable. Generate actionable insights by defining clear objectives, using a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions, and segmenting data by role, department, tenure, demographics, etc.
- Make them accessible. Surveys are no good if no one notices or can complete them. Ensure your surveys meet employees where they are, standing out and getting noticed in the flow of work. Make them accessible on multiple devices for ease of completion.
Follow up and take action with Enboarder.
Research shows that asking employees for feedback is detrimental if organizations don’t follow up with action on the insights gained. Be sure you are using the valuable information you are collecting. Analyze pulse survey results, communicate findings to employees, formulate action plans based on feedback, implement changes, and track progress. This will assure employees that their input matters and changes are being made to improve their experience.
As part of the Enboarder solution, you can create a cadence of pulse surveys that support your employees at every stage of their journey and bring a steady flow of deep insights back to key groups like HR, OD, L&D, and your leadership team. Enboarder seamlessly integrates questions into your trusted communications channels and helps to break through the noise and ensure completion rates.
Pulse surveys are a transformative tool that can help build a better, more responsive, and engaged organization. Are you using them to their fullest potential?
Reach out today to schedule a demo of the Human Connection Platform®.