Common types of pulse surveys
Generally speaking there are few tried-and-true methods for running effective employee pulse surveys:
When organizations want to measure specific drivers of employee engagement and assess the effectiveness of action plans that emerged from a larger employee engagement or organization-wide survey, they turn to follow-up pulses. These surveys are typically sent to a smaller sample of employees, often around 10 - 25% of the workforce (the exact number or % should be based on population size and statistically significant sampling, not an arbitrary number or %). This approach sets a point in time for leaders and managers to work towards as they take action on a specific engagement driver or item of focus. Follow-up pulse surveys are generally very short, containing five to ten questions, and often include some of the same questions from the census engagement survey that drove the action plans being followed up on.
Regular measurements of employee sentiment
Regular pulse measurements allow organizations to measure engagement and employee sentiment on a more frequent basis by surveying employees regularly and comparing data over time. These types of pulses can use the full engagement measure or a shorter proxy for engagement, such as eNPS or some sentiment measurement.
This type of pulse survey can be administered weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on the data the organization is trying to collect. It’s best to keep surveys like this very short—one to five questions—so you don’t over survey and exhaust your employees.
Follow-up on specific projects or workstreams
Rather than focus on engagement, these types of pulse surveys focus on specific work streams or projects. These surveys help employees identify roadblocks to accomplishing their work and give leadership the ability to make changes and provide support to their teams.
Often mistakenly termed as ‘pulse’ surveys, ad-hoc surveys give organizations the ability to conduct one-off surveys with their employees. In many cases, organizations want to equip business leaders with the ability to administer ad-hoc surveys so they can follow-up on or collect information about various initiatives or items related to their employees. Though similar to pulse surveys, ad-hoc surveys have one key difference—each survey is a one-off survey and is not repeated over time.
Common ad-hoc survey types are:
- Internal communications survey
- Corporate Social Responsibility survey (CSR)
- Post-change survey
- Local management/team surveys