Learn about pulse surveys and best practices to implement a continuous feedback loop that will drive results.
Leading with purpose and effectiveness requires having a pulse on how your employees are doing consistently, not just for the yearly engagement survey. One of the biggest challenges in the workplace is disengaged employees and there is no better way to engage them then to ask for their feedback and take action - let their voice be heard. In fact, according to a survey study done by Gallup, 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged.
Employees want to feel heard and seen. This is where pulse surveys in the Sparck platform can help you!
Pulse surveys are short and quick way to connect with employees regularly to check in and help leaders gain insight into how their employees are feeling. While it is difficult to carve out one-on-one time with each of your employees, having short surveys for them to take frequently will help keep you informed and on track with what's most important.
Before you begin creating your surveys, let's start with tips and best practices to ensure you are equipped and ready to go!
Pulse Surveys Tips and Best Practices
- Gain Executive Buy-In - Even the best strategies and initiatives can fall flat without the support of the executive team. Their commitment to the cause will inspire others to participate because they know that it is important to the organization. To gain buy-in, executives need to understand the "Why". We can help you with this! Read through our HR Guide to Leadership Buy-In to gain valuable insights and complimentary resources to move your plans forward in an effective and successful way!
- Introduce the Pulse Surveys - Before you begin collecting feedback, start with the "Why". Sound familiar? Yes. Employees need to be bought in as well. Involve the leadership team in these discussions. Share the purpose of the pulse survey and its importance, how frequently they will go out, topics you intend to cover, and what you plan to do with the feedback. Get people excited!
- Equip Managers - Managers have the most influence over their teams engagement. If they don't understand the purpose of the pulse surveys or how they will be used that will impact their team's participation. Schedule a meeting specifically with this group to gain their buy-in (noticing a trend?) and ensure they are equipped to answers their team's questions. This is a sure fire way to motivate higher response rates and valuable feedback.
- Consider the Timelines - While it may be tempting to send out pulse surveys as frequently as possible, survey fatigue is real. If they are sent out too often they can lose their effectiveness. A bi-monthly or monthly question and / or statement are good places to start depending on how your team is currently operating. Pivot based on feedback and participation to ensure it stays fresh and productive.
- Ask the Right Questions - It might sound easy to some, send out a quick question here and there to collect feedback. However, there is an art to survey design. There may be unintended bias's in how you are asking the questions. Take the guess work out of it and check out some of our custom survey questions for inspiration. (Hint: Begin with the end in mind. What are the main objectives and goals to asking these questions? Once you figure that out, select your questions or statements).
- Inspire Participation - Simply sending out the surveys is not enough. Did you know only 8% of employees claim their employers took any action based on their survey responses? That certainly won't incentivize employees to participate. Share the results and the changes you plan to make. Now you can't accommodate everything, that's impossible - but having the conversation and explaining the "why" behind your decisions shows employee's their voice's have been heard.
- Share the Results - In addition to boosting participation, sharing the results can foster innovation. Carve out time in a company or team meeting to cover the results and the actions you plan to take. This will show that you are paying attention and are committed to their input even if you can't move forward with everything. Being genuinely open and transparent will allow others to do the same. This will create a safe environment for employees to share their unique feedback and ideas. This can be transformative for growth!
- Measure Progress - Having a benchmark is crucial. After all, you can't manage what you can't measure. What areas do you want to keep a pulse on or improve? Ask the same questions / statements throughout the year to keep track of progress. Do not be discouraged if the results are not immediate; broader goals often take time to achieve. Continuing to work at them and uncover new ideas is what will foster change. If your team has taken our #BeHeard survey, tracking the areas you are making a focus will be simple!
- Personalize the Approach - The one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. Certain questions may not apply to all departments. Consider what areas you want feedback on and what groups within your company can provide that feedback. If you are seeing an increase in employee turnover with new hires as an example, consider sending out a pulse survey asking about their onboard training after the first 6 months. Pinpoint your target audience to uncover the root of the challenge areas before they get too big.
- Employee Importance Scale - Don't spend time and resources implementing changes that may not be important to your team. It's just as important to find out how important certain areas are as much as it is effective so you can get the greatest return on your investment. Dual scale rating for effectiveness and importance is something that should never go overlooked.
- Respect Anonymity - Don't forget to respect the anonymity of the surveys and be intentional with the way you present the results. Doing so will give your team the confidence to continue participating in the surveys and giving you valuable and honest feedback your organization needs to take the right actions.
How to Create a Pulse Survey
I hope those tips and best practices were helpful. Are you ready to create a pulse survey? To get started, you will click the Pulse Survey button on the company admin menu and it will direct you to this screen. You can create a customized survey name, and then the launch and close date. Pulse surveys can be targeted to specific workplace demographics within your company (i.e. departments). Personalize your approach to get feedback where it matters most!
From this screen you can also set visibility settings and frequency. The frequency feature is great for those areas that you want to keep a close eye on and monitor progress.
Next, you add your desired questions or statements (yep, you can include multiple). Our system defaults to a 5-star rating scale, strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). However, if you are looking for more feedback you can select that it's an open-ended question to give employees the option to type in their responses. Lastly, you also have the option to include an importance scale to uncover if these areas are just as important to your employees as they are to you.
Need ideas? No problem. We have a library you can view.
If you're using the #BeHeard Survey, pulse surveys are an incredible way to continue measuring the key statement areas that you are focusing on throughout the year before you take it again.
Did you know that you can get the #BeHeard Survey for FREE? Click HERE to learn more.
Pulse Survey Strategies
In addition to keeping a pulse on your #BeHeard action areas, here are some different ways you can use these surveys to improve the employee experience.
Trending Workplace Topics
In 2020 a lot of changes unfolded from working from home to internal diversity and inclusion conversations. Some of these topics are more sensitive than others and are so important to address as an organization. Don't be an ostrich, as tempting as it may be.
We worked with a team of I/O psychologist (experts in workplace psychology) to identify the best questions and statements to ask as it relates to remote work, diversity and inclusion, and innovation during this trying year.
Please check out our custom questions, they may be helpful for you and your team.
***Note: The example questions and statements in the scenarios below have not been created by I/O psychologists. These are just ideas to get your wheels turning***
People are often resistant to change and are far more reluctant when they don't understand it. Include your employees in the process and get their feedback before and after making an internal shift (no matter how small). This will help shape your strategies towards a path of least resistance and uncover golden nuggets that can help with the transition.
- How do you feel about the upcoming "change"?
- Are you getting the support and resources you need for the "change"?
- Are you happy with the results?
Example Statements (5-star rating):
- I feel confident in the upcoming change
- I believe the team is prepared to handle the change
- I felt included in the decision-making
Pre & Post Training Surveys
Pulse Surveys can begin as soon as employees are onboarded. It's takes time and money to recruit the right people, you want to make sure you keep them equipped and engaged. Pre and post training questions will help identify the strengths and opportunities to elevate the experience. It is a great opportunity to pinpoint potential blind spots and shed light on what's working well so you can continuously improve and best support your employee's growth.
- How prepared do you feel for your new role?
- What should be included in the training that wasn't?
- What resources would help you as you begin to take on more responsibilities?
Example Statements (5-star rating):
- The training I went through was very beneficial
- I feel prepared to take on my new role
- There are areas I wish I had received additional training on
Big changes can cause disruptions in the flow of operations. Ensuring your employees feel comfortable with major shifts like changes in leadership will minimize these disruptions and help everyone feel more confident in the organization's direction.
- How are you feeling about the recent change in leadership?
- Is there anything we can do to help the transition go more smoothly?
- What type of changes would you like to see?
Example Statements (5-star rating):
- I feel anxious about the upcoming change in leadership.
- I believe our organization is heading in the right direction.
- I feel the change in leadership has been communicated effectively
The introduction of new projects can be nerve-wracking for employees and they may not feel comfortable bringing up their concerns to management. A quick survey can give them a safe space to share their questions and concerns.
- Do you have the resources necessary to complete the project?
- What additional support can we provide?
- Are you confident in your team's ability?
Example Statements (5-star rating):
- I feel supported by my team and manager
- I am comfortable bringing up questions or concerns
- I have enough time to complete the project efficiently