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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Pulse Survey

Pulse surveys are a valuable tool used by organizations to gather frequent feedback from their employees. Unlike traditional annual or bi-annual surveys, pulse surveys are shorter, more frequent surveys designed to capture real-time insights and measure employee engagement levels. These surveys typically consist of a few carefully crafted questions that employees can answer quickly, providing organizations with timely feedback and an opportunity to address concerns promptly.

What is a Pulse survey?

A brief and frequent survey designed to gather real-time feedback from employees, customers, or stakeholders, providing organizations with insights into current sentiments and concerns.

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What are the advantages of employee pulse surveys?

There are several advantages to incorporating employee pulse surveys into your feedback strategy:

  • Actionable insights: Frequent data allows you to identify trends and emerging issues before they snowball into larger problems.
  • Improved response rates: Shorter surveys are less time-consuming for employees, leading to higher participation rates and more reliable data.
  • Cost-effective: Compared to extensive annual surveys, pulse surveys are generally less expensive to administer and analyze.
  • Increased transparency: Regularly gathering feedback demonstrates a commitment to transparency and openness to employee concerns.
  • Enhanced employee morale: Knowing their voices are heard can boost employee morale and foster a sense of value within the organization.

What topics can be covered in a Pulse survey?

Topics can vary depending on the organization's current priorities and areas of interest, but some common areas include:

  • Job satisfaction and engagement: Overall satisfaction, workload, work-life balance, career development opportunities.
  • Company culture and environment: Trust in leadership, communication, teamwork, recognition, diversity and inclusion.
  • Employee experience: Onboarding process, training and development, performance management, technology and tools.
  • Specific initiatives: Feedback on recent changes, new programs, or ongoing projects. Motivation and well-being: Sense of purpose, stress levels, work-life balance, company support systems.

Why are Pulse surveys important?

Pulse surveys offer several benefits to organizations:

  • Gather real-time feedback: They provide a quick and efficient way to capture employee sentiment on various aspects of the work environment, including experience, satisfaction, engagement, and concerns.
  • Identify trends and issues early: Frequent pulse surveys can detect potential problems before they escalate, allowing for proactive interventions and course correction.
  • Improve employee engagement: Addressing employee concerns promptly through pulse surveys demonstrates that their voices are heard and valued, boosting engagement and morale.
  • Strengthen communication and collaboration: Pulse surveys can open communication channels between employees and management, fostering collaboration and trust.
  • Monitor progress and impact of initiatives: Tracking feedback over time can measure the effectiveness of implemented changes and guide future decision-making.

How often should Pulse surveys be conducted?

The ideal frequency depends on the specific goals and desired level of granularity:

  • Weekly: Ideal for monitoring rapidly changing situations or tracking sentiment around specific initiatives.
  • Bi-weekly: Offers a good balance between frequent feedback and minimizing survey fatigue.
  • Monthly: Provides a broader overview of employee sentiment and allows for deeper analysis of trends.
  • Quarterly: Suitable for monitoring long-term trends and assessing the impact of larger changes.

How many questions should be included in a Pulse survey?

Keep the survey concise to avoid survey fatigue and maximize response rates:

  • 5-7 questions: Ideal for capturing key areas of concern or sentiment without overwhelming respondents.
  • 8-12 questions: Suitable for covering a broader range of topics while maintaining engagement.
  • 13-15 questions: Consider this the upper limit to avoid fatigue and maintain quality responses.

How can organizations ensure confidentiality and anonymity in Pulse surveys?

Confidentiality and anonymity can be assured by:

  • Guarantee anonymity: Clearly state that individual responses will not be shared or linked to specific individuals.
  • Use anonymous platforms: Utilize online survey tools with secure data encryption and anonymous response collection.
  • Avoid identifying questions: Exclude questions that could easily identify individual respondents.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How can organizations effectively act on the feedback obtained from Pulse surveys?

Organizations can effectively act on feedback through:

  • Analyze and prioritize feedback: Identify key themes and recurring issues from the data.
  • Communicate findings: Share key insights and action plans with employees in a transparent manner.
  • Implement and track changes: Take concrete steps to address concerns and implement improvements based on feedback.
  • Measure progress and impact: Monitor the effectiveness of implemented changes and adjust actions as needed.

By effectively utilizing pulse surveys, organizations can gain valuable insights into employee sentiment, identify areas for improvement, and foster a more engaged and productive workforce. Remember, consistency and transparency are critical in building trust and demonstrating that employee feedback truly matters.

How are employee pulse surveys used?

Here are some ways organizations leverage employee pulse surveys:

  • Measure employee satisfaction: Gauge overall employee satisfaction with various aspects of work life, such as company culture, workload, or management effectiveness.
  • Identify areas for improvement: Pinpoint specific areas where employees might have concerns or frustrations, allowing you to address them proactively.
  • Monitor the impact of changes: Evaluate the effectiveness of recently implemented changes within the organization and identify any unintended consequences.
  • Improve communication: Pulse surveys can be used to gather feedback on communication channels and ensure employees feel informed and heard.
  • Boost employee engagement: Regularly checking in with employees demonstrates that their voices matter, leading to a more engaged workforce.

What are employee pulse survey best practices?

To get the most out of your employee pulse surveys, follow these best practices:

  • Clearly define the purpose: Be clear about what you aim to learn from each survey. This helps you tailor questions and ensures you gather relevant data.
  • Keep it short & sweet: Pulse surveys should be concise and take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete.
  • Use a mix of question types: Incorporate a variety of question formats, including multiple choice, Likert scale ratings, and open-ended questions for more nuanced feedback.
  • Maintain anonymity: Guarantee anonymity to encourage honest and open responses.
  • Communicate & act: Clearly communicate survey results and outline any actions you plan to take based on the feedback received.
  • Regular pulse, not one-time fix: Employee pulse surveys are most effective when conducted regularly. Aim for monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual surveys to track trends and measure progress over time.

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