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Importance of Pulse Survey in building a great workplace culture

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

Since the COVID-19 hit globally in 2020, millions of workers began working from home facilitated by the rise of connectivity and communication technologies. The pandemic has greatly expedited our adaptability to work in a remote setup. While the pandemic is still far from over, workplaces are placed for unprecedented changes in the future.

Employee pulse checks play a critical role to help leaders gain timely & accurate insights from their employees' voices. Gone are the days of yearly corporate surveys. The workplaces have become more dynamic and thus there is a need for quick pulse checks on a more frequent and regular basis. The emergence of unified communication channels like Slack, MS Teams, etc. has tremendously improved the accessibility & response rate from the employees.

A lot has changed in building organizational culture with remote & distributed teams. Over the past year, most organizations would have hired new employees who went through Recruitment, Induction, Training, and onboarding entirely remotely. In fact, several of these employees would have never met their colleagues, manager & leadership in person ever. With this, having the right alignment on organizational culture becomes extremely challenging. Without personal interaction, the artifacts which employees could simply observe in the office are no longer distinctly available. Different people in the organization might have varied visibility & sense of where the organization is heading without effective communication in place.

While all this change has been so sudden, leadership has lost track of their organizational culture. Human resource teams shall still be experimenting with various new & creative techniques to build & strengthen the culture. But let’s be honest, how do we assess if all the effort is having the desired results for employees. Hearing the employee voice via pulse is thus crucial now more than ever.

So what exactly is a pulse check survey?

A pulse check survey is a short, simple, and very specific survey to capture employee feelings towards any theme related to work and the workplace. It provides an understanding of the health of a company's culture in general. A variety of themes can be assessed via short pulse surveys for specific & actionable insights.

Pulse check surveys have several benefits over traditional detailed yearly surveys.

  • Real-time insights: With the timely and continuous response, get real-time insights on employees’

  • Higher Response rate: Data states that the average response rate for traditional long surveys is 30% and 20% of surveys are ignored because they are over 7 minutes long. Pulse surveys are short & precise. Their integration with unified communication channels boosts the response rate by as much as 100%.

  • Continuous learning & impact assessment: Regular pulse check allows the People & Culture managers to act on the insight and monitor its impact faster

  • Boosting employee morale: Regular Pulse checking makes the workplace more inclusive and thus boosts employee morale

  • Improved Transparency: With employees’ voice being heard and pulse finding being communicated & addressed, organizations can build a more transparent & fair culture

Like every employee participation activity, effective planning & communication about pulse surveys is paramount. Here are a few things to ensure while planning and conducting an employee pulse check survey:

  • Pick your Pulse themes & questions wisely: Deciding the themes be evaluated with appropriate question sets is key to get relevant & actionable insights. Remember, you need to keep the pulse survey short & precise.

  • Set a reasonable schedule & frequency: The benefit of breaking down your pulse check into multiple themes is it allows you to check different themes on a timely frequency. It is recommended to evaluate themes on a recurring frequency of let’s say 4 weeks window and evaluate the trend.

  • Communicate it to employees: Don’t surprise your employees by asking uninformed questions via pulse survey. They might not take it seriously. Organization-wide communication should be made regarding the plan and purpose of conducting regular pulse surveys. It is recommended to also share relevant insights & planned action items with the employee group. This will make them engage effectively and also boost their morale.

  • Choose the right tools: Having the right sets of tools makes the job for HR leaders seamless. Using a tool that has integration with your unified communication tool ensures a high response rate to the pulse check surveys. At Revvi, we have built this effectively and HR managers love it.

  • Gather insights: Each survey gives you timely & relevant insights into how employees feel. Having an appropriate visualization for responses simplifies the findings for managers & HR leaders to act on. A potential problem with receiving frequent insight is that managers might tend to ignore it. This is a fatal problem that can negatively impact employee motivation & participation.

  • Act wisely: Research shows, About 52% of the managers review their surveys but never act on them. This will be the biggest failure and defeat the very purpose of conducting the pulse check in the first place. Action plans should be made to influence the key opportunity areas identified from the pulse insights. The same should be aligned with leadership & cascaded to relevant employee groups for effective participation.

In summary,

  • An employee Pulse check can be a very effective way to evaluate the health of organizational culture

  • Identify the themes for Pulse check and keep the survey short & precise. These surveys can be conducted on a defined frequency continuously

  • Visualize the results to gain key insights and build action plans accordingly

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