Pulse surveys help employers gauge how their people are feeling on a number of workplace issues. Lately, they’ve been an important tool for checking in on remote work and other effects of the pandemic. They can also be an excellent way to regularly assess employee well-being. In this week’s blog, we offer some well-being pulse survey examples and questions you should ask, and tips for creating your next survey.
What is a pulse survey?
A pulse survey is a short set of questions sent to employees to gain insight into particular aspects of their experience and satisfaction at work. In other words, it’s a quick way to get a pulse on how your employees are feeling. The main difference between a pulse survey and an engagement survey is that a pulse survey is much shorter—typically just 5 to 20 questions. Pulse surveys also tend to focus on a near-term objective or change management initiative, and are distributed multiple times per year versus annually.
Pulse surveys work well because they:
- Are short, making employees more likely to complete them.
- Result in candid employee responses with quick, to-the-point questions.
- Let you compile and analyze results quickly so you can take action on employee feedback faster.
- Surface minor issues before they become more significant problems that are harder to deal with.
- Allow you to see trends over time and determine if the actions you’ve taken as a result of an earlier survey are having an impact.
- Show employees that you care about what they have to say.
Tips for creating your employee pulse survey strategy.
A successful pulse survey will provide transparent, honest feedback from employees that you can use to make a change. But to get those straightforward answers, there are a few things you should know before sending out your questions.
Gain leadership buy-in.
Your first step should be to meet with senior leadership to agree on the goals for the pulse survey. This will help you focus your questions on the exact issues you want to know more about and get support for the effort. For example, do you want to determine if your employees like working remotely? Or maybe you want to learn how they want you to support their well-being in this moment. Whatever the goal, use it to drive your survey questions.
Consider your questions and cadence carefully.
Be intentional about the questions you ask to make sure you’re receiving valuable responses. Here are a few tips to consider while you think through which questions you’d want to ask:
- Think about how you craft the questions to get the most accurate responses. For example, do you want to use a scale, provide multiple choice answers, or fill-in-the-blank responses?
- Keep questions to one topic at a time, avoiding “and/or” options. This will help keep the results clear and actionable.
- Ask what you really want to know, not generic questions. Solicit input from managers on the hot topics they are hearing from employees.
- Generally, the more frequently you do pulse surveys, the fewer questions you should ask each time.
- Include a few open-ended questions to get deeper insights from employees.
- Ask questions you can actually respond to and have influence over.
- Agree on timing and frequency—employees may experience “survey fatigue” if you send out too many. Plus, you may not have the resources to respond to the feedback.
Let employees know about the survey.
A few weeks before sending the survey, communicate why you’re conducting it and when employees will receive it. Pulse surveys generally don’t need as much nudging to complete as engagement surveys, but you can send a reminder if you feel you’re not getting the response rate you’d hoped for.
Share the results and take action.
The worst thing you can do is survey employees and then not let them know what you heard. Make sure to report out in multiple ways—at an all-employee town hall, on the intranet, or in small team meetings. Most importantly, share the ways you’ll take action based on the feedback and—it goes without saying—do it! Then, plan to follow up with another survey to gauge how your changes have been received.
With these considerations in mind, you can begin crafting your questions! For inspiration, I’ve included a list of example questions for a well-being pulse survey below.
Pulse survey questions focused on employee well-being.
Whether you currently have a well-being program for employees or are thinking of adding one, a pulse survey is a great way to assess what’s truly important to your people. Keep in mind that it might be helpful to engage a survey creation expert to ensure that the types of questions and responses are properly designed to elicit the right input.
Here’s a sample list of pulse survey questions for employees to get you started:
- How do you feel about your overall health and well-being?
- My company prioritizes my health and well-being.
- Open-ended: What are three aspects of your health and well-being you’d like to improve?
- Open-ended: What are your top three suggestions for programs we can offer to improve employee health and well-being?
- I am able to successfully balance work and personal life.
- I feel that the organization respects setting boundaries to manage work and life.
- I feel that my manager supports flexibility for my daily needs.
- I feel comfortable taking time off.
Physical health and exercise.
- I feel good about my physical health.
- I engage in a regular program of exercise.
- I get the right amount of sleep.
- My eating habits are healthy.
- I feel that the company supports a healthy diet in the cafeteria.
- The company provides adequate space or places to be active at work—such as walking trails, yoga rooms, gyms or other areas.
- My company supports getting physical activity during the workday.
- I have the resources I need to ensure an ergonomic workspace when I work from home.
Mental health, stress, and resilience.
- I feel good about my mental health.
- My company provides me with the tools I need to support my mental health.
- I feel comfortable talking about mental health at work.
- My company believes mental health is just as important as physical health.
- I feel I can bounce back from setbacks quickly and easily.
- I have the tools I need to manage stress when it comes my way.
- Open-ended: What are your top three suggestions for additional tools you would use to better support mental well-being?
Social connections and inclusion.
- I have the resources I need to stay connected to co-workers when working remotely.
- I feel the company provides enough opportunity to socialize with coworkers.
- I have a good social life.
- I have enough time to keep up relationships with friends and family.
- I feel connected to my community.
- I am encouraged by my manager to participate in company events related to inclusion, diversity or volunteerism.
- I feel a sense of belonging at this company.
Work culture and engagement.
- How happy are you working at this company?
- I feel proud to work at this company.
- I would recommend this company as a great place to work.
- Working at this company gives me a sense of purpose.
- My company allows me to express my feelings and emotions without fear of punishment.
- I feel comfortable being myself at work.
- There are people at my workplace who genuinely care about me and my well-being.
- I have a best friend at work.
- I feel respected by my manager.
- My manager values my perspective.
- Leaders openly and honestly share information about their own well-being.
- Leaders at the company value different perspectives.
Employee benefits/well-being program.
- The benefits offered by the company support my health and well-being.
- I know about the benefits I can take advantage of when it comes to mental health.
- I am aware of the Employee Assistance Program and the type of help it provides.
- I know where to go when I have a question about my benefits.
- I understand what our well-being program offers and how to access it.
- I know about financial wellness programs I can take advantage of.
- I’m aware of our paid time off policies to rest and recharge.
- I receive good communication about my employee benefits.
While you may still conduct a more lengthy engagement survey once a year to get really deep insights into employee well-being and satisfaction, consider adding several smaller employee surveys to get a quick pulse-check throughout the year. If you need help crafting your next employee well-being pulse survey, visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.