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Running a Pulse Program (EX)

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About Pulse Programs

An employee pulse program is an employee feedback program designed to collect feedback on a more frequent basis, usually quarterly or monthly. Pulse projects are characterized by shorter surveys that track how the same participants respond to the same set of questions over multiple periods. This page will walk through how to run a pulse program using Employee Engagement projects.

Attention: Pulse programs require you to use multiple Employee Engagement projects. Be aware of any project restrictions your license may have. Contact your Account Executive if you have questions about what’s included in your license.

General Overview of a Pulse Program

Below is an overview of the main steps for running a pulse program. Click a linked section for information, or continue scrolling to start at the beginning.

  • Creating the First Pulse
    • Building the survey
    • Uploading participants & generating a hierarchy
    • Distributing the pulse
    • Building the dashboard
    • Distributing the dashboard
  • Creating Subsequent Pulses
    • Copy project
    • Import participants, generate hierarchy, & map units
    • Distributing the pulse
    • Map historical data
    • Making comparisons
    • Distributing the dashboard
    • Repeat the “Creating Subsequent Pulses” workflow for each pulse

Creating the First Pulse

Step 1: Building the Pulse Survey

Building a pulse survey is no different than building a regular Engagement survey. Below is a list of resources to get you started on building your survey:

Pulse programs are characterized by short surveys and straightforward questions. Visit this page for best practice advice from our Qualtrics subject matter experts. Click here to download a document with sample questions developed by our EX team for measuring engagement and manager effectiveness.

Step 2: Uploading Participants & Generating a Hierarchy

After building your survey, you should upload your participants with any relevant metadata, and then generate your org hierarchy. Follow the below workflow to upload participants and generate your hierarchy.

  1. Hierarchy Basic Overview: Use this page to decide what type of org hierarchy makes sense for your organization.
  2. Preparing Your Participant File for Import: Use this page to learn how to configure your participant file for your desired org hierarchy setup.
  3. Importing Engagement Participants: After creating your participant file, follow the instructions on this page to upload your participants.
  4. Generate Your Hierarchy: After importing participants, generate your org hierarchy. This step varies slightly depending on which type of hierarchy you choose. See Generating a Parent-Child Hierarchy or Generating a Level-Based Hierarchy.

Step 3: Distributing the Pulse

Once you’ve added participants and created an org hierarchy, it’s time to launch your pulse program! To distribute your pulse, head over to the Messages tab and configure your Participant Invite. See the Email Messages support page for more information.
the messages tab of the pulse project

Step 4: Building Your Dashboard

Now it’s time to begin building your dashboard for visualizing data across multiple pulses. This dashboard will be the template for all of your dashboards during the pulse program. As you run additional pulses, you will map your historical data into the newest pulse’s dashboard. More information about data mapping will come when we run our additional pulses. Let’s focus on getting the dashboard up and running first. See the below resources for guidance building your dashboard:

Step 5: Distributing the Dashboard

Once your dashboard is built, it’s time to share the dashboard with your participants! To do this, you will give your participants permission to access the dashboard, and then send them a dashboard login email. We recommend using roles to make giving dashboard access to many participants easy.

See the support page on Configuring Dashboard Access for more information on giving access to your dashboard.

Creating Subsequent Pulses

You’ve run your first pulse project, and now you’re ready for the next pulse. This section walks through the steps needed to run additional pulses for your program. You will need to follow the below steps for each additional pulse you’d like to run.

Step 1: Copy the Original Pulse

The first step is to copy the original pulse project. This will copy the survey and dashboards, but does not copy any other aspects of the project, such as participants, org hierarchy, or data.
the projects page. clicking the project options dropdown and selecting copy project

After copying the project, make any adjustments you need to the survey. Usually, this is only superficial text edits, such as editing dates or leadership names. If you want to add or remove questions to your pulse survey, please follow the below guidelines:

  • If adding a new question or answer choice, keep in mind that you won’t have historical data for the newly added question. Therefore, you won’t be able to report on trends until the next pulse.
  • If removing a question or answer choice, do not delete it! Instead, hide it with impossible display logic.

Attention: You’ll generally want to keep your survey questions the same (i.e. avoid adding and deleting questions and answer choices when possible), as that will allow you to visualize trends over time more easily. This also has the added benefit of providing a consistent survey experience for your employees.

Step 2: Importing Participants, Generating Your Hierarchy, and Mapping Hierarchies

Next is to set up your participants and hierarchy for your next pulse. This is made easy by exporting your previous participant list and hierarchy, and importing them into your next pulse.

Qtip: The below steps assume that your participant list and org hierarchy have not changed between pulses. If you’ve made changes to either of these, then upload your participant list as normal, generate a new hierarchy, and manually map your hierarchies instead of following the below instructions.
  1. In the original pulse project, navigate to the Participants section of the Participants the participants tab of the original pulse, clicking bulk actions and then export participants list
  2. Click Bulk Actions.
  3. Select Export participants list.
  4. Open your CSV file in a spreadsheet editor and delete the Status, Respondent, User Type, and Last Login columns from the file.a participant list open in a spreadsheet editor. the respondent, status, user type, and last login columns are highlighted to be deleted
  5. Save your file as a CSV or TSV with UTF-8 encoding.saving the participant list as a UTF-8 CSV
  6. Navigate to the Participants section of the Participants tab in the new pulse the participants tab of the new pulse, clicking add participants and then import from file
  7. Click Add Participants.
  8. Select Import from file and import your participant file.
  9. After your participants have finished importing, go to the Org Hierarchies section.navigating to the org hierarchy tab and clicking create org hierarchy in the middle of the page
  10. Click Create Org Hierarchy to generate your hierarchy. Use the same settings as when generating your original hierarchy.
  11. Click Hierarchy Tools.clicking hierarchy tools and then map org hierarchy units
  12. Select Map Org Hierarchy Units.
    Qtip: You will need to map units for all historical projects you want to display in your dashboard. As you run more pulses, you will need to make sure that every pulse is mapped correctly. For example, if you have a quarterly pulse and would like to view data across three previous pulses, you will map the current hierarchy to the hierarchy of each of the three previous pulses. In total, you will have three separate hierarchy mappings.
  13. Choose your historical project.mapping units
  14. Choose the hierarchy.
  15. A popup will appear to automatically map your units. If your hierarchies haven’t changed much, click Generate and most of the mapping will be done for you.the generate mapping pop up
  16. If needed, make any adjustments to the mapping. See How to Map to Historical Units for more information.
  17. Click Save.

Step 3: Distributing the New Pulse

All pulses are distributed in the same way. To distribute your pulse, head over to the Messages tab and configure your Participant Invite. See the Email Messages support page for more information.the messages tab of the pulse project

Step 4: Mapping Historical Data

After completing your next pulse, you will now need to visualize your data across pulses in one dashboard. To do this, we’ll map the historical data into the most recent pulse’s dashboard.

  1. In the most recent pulse project, go to the Dashboards tab.the dashboards tab; selecting an existing dashboard
  2. Select your dashboard.
    Qtip: If you built a dashboard in the project that you copied to make the pulse, then the dashboard will copy too. This will save you time on having to reconstruct your dashboard widgets every time you run a new pulse. However, please note that any recode values you set up in the original dashboard will not carry over to the copy and will need to be reconfigured.
    Qtip: If using the copied dashboard, make sure to open the dashboard and double check that everything is still set up the way you want it before continuing.
  3. Click Settings.
    the settings button at the top of a dashboard
  4. Go to Dashboard the dashboard data section, mapping additional data sources
  5. Click Add Source.
  6. Hover over Surveys and select your pulse project.
    Qtip: Repeat steps 5 and 6 for all pulses you want to display in the dashboard.
  7. If needed, adjust your field mapping. If you only made superficial text edits to your project, then you don’t need to adjust your mapping. You will only need to manually adjust your mapping if you’ve added or removed questions, Embedded Data, or metadata.a field mapped across multiple sources
  8. Click Save.

Step 5: Making Comparisons

After mapping your pulses, you will want to create comparisons to show how data changes over time. Usually, you’ll create at least one comparison for every historical pulse you want to display in your dashboard.

  1. Navigate to the Comparisons tab.creating a comparison to compare against Q2 data
  2. Click Add Comparison.
  3. Enable Include Page Filters if you want the filters on the dashboard pages to apply to the comparison. If you want this comparison to stay static, keep this option unchecked.
  4. Give your comparison a name.
  5. Choose the project that will be the Source for the comparison.
  6. If desired, click Add Filter to filter the comparison by metadata or hierarchy
Example: For example, you can create a comparison and filter it by Org Hierarchy is the current unit, so the person viewing the dashboard will see how their org hierarchy unit performed in the comparison.a comparison set to show your org hierarchy unit data for the Q2 pulse
Example: In this example, we created a comparison for the Q1 pulse data, and we’re displaying that data in a scorecard widget to see how engagement has changed over the past quarter.a scorecard widget with a comparison on it

The following widgets can display comparison data:

Step 6: Distributing the Dashboard

You’ll distribute your dashboard the same way you did your previous pulses. To do this, you will give your participants permission to access the dashboard, and then send them a dashboard login email. We recommend using roles to make giving dashboard access to many participants easy.

See the support page on Configuring Dashboard Access for more information on giving access to your dashboard.

Step 7: Repeat the “Creating Subsequent Pulses” Workflow For Each Pulse

Congratulations on completing another pulse in your program! For each additional pulse you want to run, complete the steps in the Creating Subsequent Pulses section. You will need to complete these steps every time you create a new pulse project.