1. With a defined purpose, determine how often you’ll run the survey
Now that you know what you’ll focus on, take some time to figure out the best recurrence for your pulse survey. Although it can also be a one-off, we recommend making pulse surveys recurrent and tracking engagement and other data trends over time for even better insights.
Different survey goals may determine different recurrences. For instance, if running a survey on your company’s DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives, would it make sense to run it every month? Or would a longer gap (e.g., 3–6 months) be more appropriate, considering the time you need to analyze results, create an action plan, and kickstart these DEI initiatives?
If, however, running a pulse survey on a new company policy (e.g., a new hybrid work setup), a six-month gap between surveys might be too long to identify decreased engagement and issues that you could tackle fairly quickly.
2. Choose your survey’s questions
Determine the number of questions for your survey and work on those questions. Setting a cadence in step 1 will be helpful now — if sending a pulse survey every four weeks, you’d want to keep it as brief as possible. We recommend keeping pulse surveys to 5–15 questions, so it’s better to keep it on the shorter side for monthly or bi-weekly questionnaires. Ideally, these surveys should be completed in no more than five minutes.
When selecting the questions, refer to our downloadable survey template with best-practice questionnaires on 22 categories and, if creating more questions, keep in mind that they should be measurable. Although a platform with advanced people analytics can provide sentiment analysis for qualitative answers, quantitative data makes for clearer tracking. Besides, if pulse surveys require thorough input (which can be the case with too many open-ended questions), you might see response levels drop.
Keep things simple and actionable. Asking “Do you feel engaged at work?” won’t provide the same insights as a more specific “Can employees at the company voice their opinions without fear of retribution or rejection?” would.
3. Invite participants and provide the information they need
Implementing pulse surveys shows that your organization values communication, so take the lead by sending, along with the questions/survey invitation, straightforward information on:
- The purpose of the survey;
- How much time would be needed to fill it out;
- A deadline for participation;
- Anonymity. Make it clear that participation is anonymous — and of course, ensure that anonymity is guaranteed (which you can easily do with a survey platform like Leapsome);
- How you intend to use these results. Employees know when there’s no practical purpose for a survey; in such cases, survey fatigue rises and the response rate plummets. Communicate that the organization intends to act upon survey responses to make improvements.
4. Send out reminders to increase participation
Don’t be forceful, as that could lead to participants skimming over the survey and unreliable results. But don’t be afraid to remind your team that surveys are essential to give them the best employee experience possible.
A best-practice tip is to use multiple internal communications channels to share these reminders. E.g., company all-hands meetings, chat, email. You can also ask managers to remind their team members during 1:1s and department meetings.
Follow-up best practices for OKR check-ins
Dig into the data
This is how you’ll understand what’s most crucial and flag key insights. Without interpreting quantitative and qualitative responses, you’ll have plenty of data, but no way to inform an action plan. A tool with advanced people analytics can even analyze qualitative responses, offering a sentiment analysis and action plan suggestions.
Share the results
Research proves that transparent communication increases engagement. Besides, you don’t want your team to think their responses aren’t taken seriously — otherwise, why would anyone put time into participating?
There’s no need to make this complex. Easy-to-understand statistics and basic graphs with strong and weak points will do the job. But be timely. There’s most likely no point in presenting results from a survey done five months ago.
You may also want to include anonymous quotes from employees to show that you are listening to them. Gaining further anonymous feedback on comments you may not have understood can also be very helpful.
Outline specific ways the company plans to respond to the data collected in the survey. If possible, communicate these when presenting results and make your actions time-bound. This way, your employees will know that you aren’t making empty promises for the distant future.
Additionally, be clear about why some employee requests won’t be tackled for the moment. If they don’t understand your reasons not to pursue specific initiatives at this time, your people can feel frustrated and not take part in future surveys.
— Interested in learning even more about employee engagement surveys? Access our People Ops Playbook on how to run an employee engagement survey and our free template with 72 engagement survey questions in 22 categories. 😉