The Ultimate Guide to Employee Pulse Surveys

If there’s one good way to fast-track employee engagement initiatives, it’s employee pulse surveys. Often, managers spend a significant amount of time and money on wellness, education, and social initiatives that they think employees want—but miss the mark because they haven’t asked their employees for feedback.

Pulse surveys can help take the guesswork out of what initiatives to focus on, giving managers a chance to make truly employee-directed change. Additionally, instant feedback makes it easier to keep up in dynamic environments where change happens quickly. If you already conduct annual engagement surveys, adding pulse surveys can make them much more actionable.

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Pulse Surveys

Employee Pulse Surveys vs. Annual Engagement Surveys

One of the most common employee engagement initiatives is an annual engagement survey. This long survey gives management a top-down view of how their employees experience work, and in theory, it should drive change each year. The problem with annual engagement surveys is that they aren’t frequent enough for employees to have a say on specific initiatives throughout the year. When businesses have to make swift changes, the view of employees can be left out of the conversation.

Employee pulse surveys can help bridge the feedback gap. From a management perspective, they’re quicker, more agile, and easier to implement than longer annual engagement surveys. From an employee perspective, they’re easier to fill out and they show that the company is invested in listening to their employees.

Employee pulse surveys are short surveys that track a particular issue over time. Usually consisting of 1-5 questions about a specific issue.

How Often are Employee Pulse Surveys Issued?

Since they don’t require as much in-depth analysis, they’re designed to be delivered on an ongoing basis. Businesses sending surveys via email, text, or via an employee portal might send them once every quarter or once a month.

Businesses with an in-house feedback kiosk or online survey can leave it up and collect continual feedback, monitoring responses as they come in. Having a system in place for continual feedback is ideal for pulse surveys since it means less admin hassle over the long term.

What Questions Should I Ask?

Since they’re short, questions on pulse surveys should be more focused than annual engagement surveys. Below are four different examples of how you might use pulse surveys to improve business processes, and some questions for each one:

In Tandem with Annual Engagement Surveys

These two surveys can work together well, since engagement surveys can identify issues from a higher-level perspective, and pulse surveys can do a deeper dive into those questions. For example, Gartner recommends 9 higher-level questions that work for annual engagement surveys. If feedback on the question, “Does your team help you to complete your work?” was poor, you might decide to create a pulse survey about teamwork that includes the following questions:

  • How would you rate the communication within your team? (On a 5-point Likert Scale)
  • Do you feel comfortable raising issues with your supervisor? (Yes or no)
  • How does your team usually communicate? (Multiple choice)
  • Do you feel satisfied with how work on your team is distributed? (Yes or no)
  • Are there any specific issues on your team you’d like to address? (Free text question)


To Track Implementation of New Processes

Integrating new technology or systems into your business? Use pulse surveys to track your employees’ reception to the system. This is especially important when you’re creating a bespoke system for your business since employees working with the system can offer suggestions for features and spot bugs. For example, if you’re introducing a new database across the company, you might ask:

  • How easy is the new system to use? (On a 5-point scale)
  • Have you encountered any errors while using the new system? (Yes or no)
  • If yes, what errors did you encounter? (Free text question)
  • Are there any additional features you’d like to see? (Free text question)


Anonymous Employee Surveys

Anonymous pulse surveys are the perfect solution to ensure that all employees can provide feedback without risk. Many forward-thinking companies are increasing their diversity efforts, to help make their workplace equally engaging for everyone. A pulse survey tracking diversity and inclusion might look like:

  • How would you rate our company on our diversity initiatives? (On a 5-point scale)
  • Are you comfortable speaking to management about diversity issues? (Yes or no)
  • Do you feel that our workplace fosters respect and values differences? (Yes or no)
  • Are there any additional comments you’d like to add about diversity and inclusion at our company? (Free text question)


Creating a Hybrid Workplace

If your workplace is going hybrid, it’s the perfect time to start incorporating pulse surveys into your business processes. Pulse surveys can help you navigate better ways to connect your home-based and office-based workforces. They can also help create more equitable hybrid practices that make work engaging for both groups. Here are a few questions you might ask on a survey about a new hybrid workplace model:

  • How do you feel about our current hybrid workplace model? (On a 5-point scale)
  • Do you have everything you need to complete your work at home? (Yes or no)
  • If not, what do you feel is missing? (Free text question)
  • Are you able to communicate with your coworkers easily while working from home? (Yes or no)
  • Do you have any suggestions or comments about our hybrid workplace model? (Free text question)


Keep in mind that it’s useful to have the survey accessible continuously so you can track responses across time as you implement new initiatives. You can also choose to direct your pulse survey to specific departments or branches, to track the issues associated with each one.

Remember to Follow Up

One of the biggest mistakes managers make with employee pulse surveys is neglecting to act on the feedback they’ve received. Or when they do, they don’t show employees what changes they’ve made. But a quick email or presentation to follow up on feedback can make all the difference. Employees who see that you respect their time and opinions are far more likely to answer survey questions in the future.

Biweekly or monthly staff meetings are the perfect time to visit the results of pulse surveys. Sharing the results of a survey and discussing them with staff will give your employees an opportunity to discuss the issues that really matter to them and will show them that management is ready to listen.

Why it Matters

An environment that fosters employee engagement is one that fosters business growth. That’s because engaged employees are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more invested in the mission of the company.


ViewPoint kiosks make employee pulse surveys easy, with kiosks that are easy to install in break rooms, conference rooms, and lounges. They offer employees a chance to complete your survey in an anonymous environment away from their desks and sync with online surveys for employees working from home. With real-time analytics automatically connected on an easy-to-read dashboard, following up with beautiful visuals won’t eat up admin hours. When you invest in employee pulse surveys, you’re also investing in a work environment that’s designed to listen.

About ViewPoint survey solutions

ViewPoint helps organisations to radically improve the quality of their services. Our interactive feedback technology engages with customers, employees and stakeholders to understand their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the experience they encountered.

Our unique smiley face surveys attract, engage, and encourage users to leave their thoughts. Four reasons feedback kiosks are the preferred feedback collection method:

  • Lower cost customer survey solution
  • Suitable for all environments
  • Reliable and always on
  • Highly accurate insights


Find out more about how real-time surveys can help you assess customer and staffing issues, monitor improvements, and compare departments to deliver the best service possible.


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