What is an Employee Pulse Survey and What Does it Measure?

Close up Two Happy Young Businesswomen at the Office looking at employee pulse survey questions

This article will discuss the importance of employee pulse surveys, the advantages they offer employers and tips on designing one that yields high-quality results.

What is an employee pulse surveys?

Employee pulse surveys are short, anonymous surveys that measure the pulse of employees in a particular area or throughout an entire organization.

They provide employers with a snapshot of employee sentiment at a given moment, allowing them to assess the current status quo and quickly make changes.

Pulse surveys provide a swift and comprehensive overview of an organization's well-being internally and externally.

What do employee pulse surveys measure?

Here's what the annual engagement survey measures:

Onboarding experience pulse survey

Employee onboarding experience surveys are designed to assess the effectiveness of a company's onboarding program. Employee pulse surveys can measure employee engagement and satisfaction and any areas that need improvement to make the onboarding process more enjoyable.

Workplace culture pulse survey

Workplace culture surveys seek to gauge employee satisfaction with their job environment. Employee pulse surveys measure the level of respect, trust, and camaraderie between team members and any areas where company culture could use improvement.

Employee engagement pulse survey

Annual employee engagement surveys give managers insight into employees' engagement in their job roles. These surveys allow employers to understand better how committed employees are to their work and any areas that could be improved to create a more positive and productive working environment.

Useful Read: 6 Metrics to Measure Employee Engagement: The Employers Guide

Merger and acquisition pulse surveys

Merger and acquisition pulse surveys measure the level of employee satisfaction with any recent changes within an organization. Employee pulse surveys can help assess how well employees adjust to new systems, processes, and team dynamics after a merger or acquisition. They will also adjust to an early warning system.

Diversity & inclusion pulse surveys

Diversity & inclusion pulse surveys measure the level of acceptance and overall diversity within an organization. Employee pulse surveys give employers a greater understanding of how their team embraces different perspectives and any areas that need improvement to create an inclusive workplace.

Why should businesses use employee pulse surveys?

Young female businesswoman in the office-1

There are many great reasons why you should use pulse surveys as part of your approach to employee engagement. With annual engagement surveys, businesses get the following:

Quickly get data

If you use Polly to record your data within context, pulse surveys are infinitely faster than traditional employee surveys. This means that you can gain rich employee feedback in mere moments without them ever having to leave Slack or Teams!

Determine challenges quickly

Nothing compares to the instantaneous results you get from pulse surveys when it comes to identifying issues and challenges quickly. Incorporating a fast weekly or monthly survey schedule will allow you to catch problems at their inception for more effective resolution.

Follow the trends over time

Running pulse surveys often doesn't just help you see problems ahead, but it also helps you monitor changes and trends. Your first survey gives you a benchmark that you can match others against to see overall positive and negative trends in employee satisfaction or engagement. Spotting trends offer you valuable insights to help you make strategic decisions.

Results in higher response rates

We discovered that engagement and survey response rates dramatically multiplied by as much as 7-10x when our customers adopted briefer polls, achieving an impressive 26% participation rate compared to traditional surveys.

Utilizing pulse surveys is undoubtedly a foolproof way to augment employee involvement, thus allowing you to acquire superior data while simultaneously cultivating your company culture.

Support a culture of feedback

Inviting feedback, positive or constructive criticism, is the cornerstone of progress-driven organizations. To become better at what we do, soliciting input through pulse surveys is useful in sculpting your company into its ideal form.

How can employee pulse surveys help businesses?

Here's how it can help:

  1. Increase employee engagement: Employee pulse surveys allow employers to gain insight into how engaged they are with their job roles, allowing them to make adjustments and improvements as necessary.

  2. Improve employee retention: Employee pulse surveys provide employers with a better understanding of their employees' satisfaction levels, allowing them to identify any areas that need improvement to retain top talent.

  3. Enhance company culture: Employee pulse surveys measure the level of respect, trust, and camaraderie between team members, allowing employers to make changes as necessary to create a more positive work environment.

  4. Streamline employee onboarding: Employee onboarding experience surveys provide employers with an overview of how their current onboarding program works, allowing them to make changes necessary to ensure new employees are successfully assimilated into the organization.

  5. Motivates the workers:  Employee Pulse Surveys help to motivate the workers by providing them with feedback on their performance and help employers to recognize potential areas where improvements can be made to increase job satisfaction and productivity.

  6. Enhance mergers & acquisitions: Employee pulse surveys measure employee satisfaction following any recent mergers or acquisitions, providing employers with insight into how well employees are adjusting to any changes that have taken place.

  7. Foster diversity & inclusion: Employee pulse surveys allow employers to measure the level of acceptance and overall diversity within their organization, enabling them to make necessary improvements to create an inclusive workplace.

How can employee pulse surveys help the employees?

Here are some ways it can help:

  1. Provides sense of ownership:  Employee pulse surveys allow employees to provide feedback on their job role, giving them a sense of control and ownership over their career direction.

  2. Employee voice is heard: Employee pulse surveys provide employees with a platform to share their thoughts and opinions, giving them the confidence that their voice is heard by management.

  3. Encourages open dialogue: Employee pulse surveys allow for an open dialogue between managers and employees, creating an environment of trust where feedback can be provided respectfully.

  4.  Helps employee growth: Employee pulse surveys provide employees with an insight into their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to identify areas of improvement and focus on developing their careers.

  5. Improves employee retention: Employee pulse surveys provide employers with an understanding of how satisfied their employees are, allowing them to make changes as necessary to retain top talent.

How to design a pulse survey that yields high-quality results?

Careful consideration of the questions you ask will be instrumental in determining the success of your pulse survey. Here is how you can devise questions for any pulse survey:

Use purpose-led and to-the-point qestions

Employee pulse surveys should include short and direct questions that are to the point. They should be focused on the purpose of the survey, like measuring employee engagement, morale, and satisfaction.

Use employee-centric terminology

Employee pulse surveys should be written so employees can easily understand using language familiar to them. This will help ensure the accuracy and clarity of responses from the survey.

Include open-ended questions

Employee pulse surveys should include open-ended and yes/no or multiple-choice questions. This will allow employees to provide more detailed feedback than possible with traditional survey formats.

Related: Designing Employee Pulse Survey Questions for Actionable Insights

Be inclusive

Employee pulse surveys should consider all different types of employees, regardless of their background, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc., by asking questions relating to diversity and inclusion.

Use the first-person perspective and talk about behaviors

Employee pulse surveys should ask questions in the first-person perspective and focus on behaviors that employees can control. This will allow employers to understand the individual employee and their experience better.

How to utilize the employee pulse survey?

Two handsome businessmen working together on a project sitting at a table in the office

Once the employee pulse survey has been completed, it is important to analyze the results and take action.

  • Employee feedback should be used as a tool for change management, HR policies, job roles, and work culture.

  • Employee pulse surveys can also be used to develop employee training and development programs and reward and recognition initiatives.

  • They can be used to measure employee engagement and morale, which can help inform decisions around hiring and retention.

By utilizing employee pulse surveys, employers can gain valuable insights to help the organization make better decisions and improve its overall performance.

How often should pulse surveys be carried out?

Employee pulse surveys should be conducted at least twice a year to ensure that employees' opinions and feedback are heard. It is also important to review the results of the surveys regularly and take action accordingly.

By conducting regular employee pulse surveys, employers can ensure that their employees are engaged, their feedback is considered, and that the Employee pulse surveys can be a powerful tool for employers to gain valuable feedback from their employees.

6 Steps to carry out a successful staff pulse survey

  1. Devise Questions You Want to Ask: Choose five to fifteen pulse survey questions that will add immense value to your business by offering insight into your employees' thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Good employee pulse survey will increase company values. These topics may include management recognition, job roles, workloads, and happiness levels—to name a few!

  2. Announce the survey in your organization: Before sending out the survey, make sure that your employees are aware of all the details, what will happen with their feedback, and how anonymous their participation is, and emphasize that each input counts.

  3. Conduct the survey: Ensure that the survey is distributed opportune for employees. Furthermore, contemplate how often you would like to distribute it and what format works best - such as mobile-optimized surveys activated by SMS, which are becoming increasingly popular.

  4. Examine the responses: After you're finished, study the feedback your participants submitted. Identify areas for improvement as well as celebrate any successes. Analyze trend data to understand how results in each key area are shifting over time.

  5. Announce the results: It's paramount to relay the top-level outcomes to your staff to prove that their opinions have been taken into account and ensure that future feedback will remain positive.

  6. Take relevant measures: Taking the time to listen and understand your employees' feedback is paramount. You must create an action plan based on their input, assigning key dates and responsibilities for each puzzle piece. This is one step that cannot be overlooked!

How to distribute the employee pulse surveys?

An annual employee engagement survey can be distributed in a variety of ways:

  • Email:  Employee pulse surveys can be sent out via email to make it easy for employees to access and complete.

  • Online portal: Employee pulse surveys can also be embedded into a secure online portal or website.

  • Paper: Employee pulse surveys can be distributed in paper format, but this is typically not recommended as it can be less efficient and more time-consuming.

  • Mobile app: Employee pulse surveys can also be accessed via a mobile app, which allows employees to complete the survey while on the go.

Key factors to consider for distribution tool

  • Crafting a mobile-friendly solution should be their priority.
  • Ensuring your security should be the top priority; all websites must implement an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.
  • They should offer both anonymous answering and identifiable answering.
  • A tailored solution that can be adjusted to fit the varying types and amounts of questions is far better for any organization than a one-size-fits-all approach, which can leave you restricted.
  • It is essential to have an intuitive user interface for optimal usability.
  • They should provide comprehensive and straightforward reporting capabilities.
  • The cost of a fully-loaded plan and the affordability of other plans.

Employee pulse survey sample questions example

Questions that you might include in employee pulse survey can be:

  1. What do you enjoy most about your job?
  2. Do you feel like management listens to and supports your professional development?
  3. Do you understand how our company's objectives impact the success of your job role?
  4. Are there any processes or procedures that could use improvement?
  5. Are there any obstacles preventing you from performing at your best?
  6. How would you rate overall organizational communication within the workplace?
  7. On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to recommend working here to a friend or family member?
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How are pulse surveys different from employee engagement pulse surveys?

You can differentiate Pulse Surveys from Engagement Surveys in 3 ways:

  • Focus: Employee engagement surveys are typically more comprehensive than employee pulse surveys and focus on measuring overall employee engagement. Employee pulse surveys, on the other hand, are more focused on measuring employee satisfaction and morale in the present moment.

  • Aim: Employee engagement surveys are designed to provide a holistic view of how employees feel, while employee pulse surveys are designed to identify specific areas of improvement.

  • Scope: Employee engagement surveys provide a more in-depth look into employee sentiment, while employee pulse surveys can be used to measure ongoing changes in employee sentiment.


Employee Pulse Surveys are a great way to gain feedback from your employees in real-time and identify areas that need improvement.

By taking relevant measures and ensuring that you distribute employee pulse surveys effectively, you can use the data collected to make informed decisions that will benefit the company and your employees.

Ultimately, employee pulse surveys provide an invaluable tool for understanding your employees and their organizational experiences. With employee pulse surveys, employers can create a culture of engagement that attracts and retains top talent.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The number of questions you include in your employee survey will depend on the specific objectives of the survey. Generally, it is best to keep employee pulse surveys short. For example, 10-15 questions are typically considered an ideal length.

  • Employee pulse surveys can be used regularly, monthly or quarterly. By continually monitoring employee sentiment, you can stay up to date with changes in the workplace and take appropriate actions accordingly.

  • Employee pulse surveys can offer both anonymous and identifiable answering options. Anonymous surveys allow employees to provide honest feedback without compromising their identity, while identifiable surveys can be used to collect more detailed information. 

Topic: Employees
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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