Employee feedback is essential. But far too many companies feel like they can’t survey their workforce. They just sent their employees a bunch of surveys earlier that year. Or they haven’t been getting a good response rate. Employees are just too fatigued with surveys right now. But truthfully, survey fatigue comes from not following up on survey results, not listening to that feedback, and not asking the right questions. So, in this blog, we’ll uncover some great employee pulse survey questions to ask your employees to help you drive your business forward.
What Are Employee Pulse Surveys?
Employee pulse surveys are short form surveys that companies can use to assess how employees think or feel about certain topics over time.
Often, because of their length (1 – 5 questions), these surveys are not sent as one-off surveys, but are used repeatedly over a set period of time.
But just like a long form survey, such as an employee engagement survey, it’s still very important to follow up on your pulse survey results and how you intend to act on them. As we mentioned, this failure to follow up or let feedback drive action is really why employees stop taking surveys. Employees might also tire of repeatedly being asked to fill out lengthy, time-consuming surveys, making pulse surveys a great strategy.
Types of Employee Pulse Survey Questions to Ask
We can interpret “types” of surveys in two different ways:
- The type of survey question (e.g. multiple choice or short answer)
- The topic of your pulse surveys (e.g. employee sentiment or engagement levels)
Let’s talk about both.
Types of Employee Pulse Survey Questions
Because the goal of a pulse survey is to be quick and easy to take so you can get employee feedback more often, it’s best to choose certain question formats.
For instance, short answer questions where employees have to write in their answer aren’t great for this type of survey, unless they are optional.
That means you’ll likely want to write employee pulse survey questions that are primarily multiple choice or Likert Scale. These questions are easy to fill out and still provide you with good data. Not to mention, it’s easier to track changes over time when you ask the same multiple choice or sliding scale questions.
Topics for Your Pulse Surveys
As far as the topics you can cover in a pulse survey, you aren’t really limited. You might not be able to ask every question you want, but you can get information on a variety of important topics like:
- Levels of engagement.
- Communication preferences.
- Employee satisfaction and eNPS.
- Employee sentiment and EX.
These are just a few common examples of what you might use pulse surveys to learn more about. But if you have a specific initiative, like you’re trying to improve employee recognition and, therefore, retention, you could craft a set of employee pulse survey questions to track how that program is going.
Picking the Right Questions for Your Employee Pulse Survey
The biggest challenge with sending an employee pulse survey is picking the questions. We recommend sending no more than five questions in a pulse survey, but the fewer questions you include, the more likely you’ll get many responses more regularly.
So, how do you decide what questions should make the cut?
We recommend asking yourself three questions:
- Does the question align with the goals of your survey? And does the goal of your survey align with larger business objectives? If not, you might not want to send that survey, let alone the individual question.
- Will the data from the question you ask be actionable? In other words, will you be able to do anything with the information you get from the question?
- Are you prepared to act on the results? It’s good practice to predict what you think you might learn from your survey. Based on those hypotheses, are you prepared and able to make the changes necessary? If you aren’t ready to act on negative feedback, don’t send the survey yet. You’ll just discourage your employees.
Using this framework, you should be able to exclude certain questions. Ultimately, you want to ask the questions that will give you the most actionable and useful information based on the goal of your pulse survey.
Employee Pulse Survey Questions to Ask Depending on Your Goals
Let’s review a few example of employee pulse survey questions you might ask for a few major business goals.
The goal of this survey is to assess how engaged your employees are, including how motivated they are to do great work and stay with the organization.
(LIKERT SCALE) To what degree to you agree or disagree with with the following:
- I feel fulfilled by the work I do.
- I feel that my work is meaningful.
- I feel valued and appreciated at work.
- I feel I have the tools I need to succeed.
- I plan to stay with the organization for at least another year.
I like a Likert scale for this because it allows for shades of gray. Engagement isn’t black and white, though we often frame it that way. So, this allows employees to feel somewhat neutral and express that sentiment.
This set of five questions should be quick to take because they all follow the same framework and could be included in the same Likert Scale chart. It also provides a range of topics, fulfillment, meaning, recognition, so you can see where you are strong or weak.
The goal of this survey is to assess levels of wellbeing and burnout at your organization and determine the best ways to provide better support.
- (Likert Scale) I feel like my employer cares about my wellbeing.
- (Likert Scale) I feel like my direct supervisor cares about my wellbeing.
- (Likert Scale) I feel burnt out at least some of the time.
- (Select up to 3) What do you think our company could do better to support employee wellbeing?
- More time off
- Increased compensation
- Better work-life balance
- Better health benefits
- Career development
- More employee recognition
- (Select up to 3) What do you think our company already does well to support employee wellbeing?
- Time off
- Work-life balance
- Health Benefits
- Career Development
This mix of questions should help you pinpoint where you might be falling short when it comes to wellbeing, as well as to provide you with concrete ideas of where you need to focus your efforts.
The goal of this survey is to learn how employees feel about the state of internal communication at the company as well as what channels they prefer using.
- (Multiple Choice) Do we send enough company communication?
- Yes, I receive the right amount of communication.
- No, I receive too much.
- No, I receive too little.
- (Multiple Choice) What is your preferred channel to receive communication on?
- Employee App
- (Select up to 3) What topics are most important to you?
- Employee Benefits
- Policy Updates (e.g. safety, compliance)
- Employee Recognition (e.g. new hires, anniversaries, success stories)
- Company News
- Business Results
- Executive Communications
- Just For Fun (e.g. contests, prizes)
Update this survey to reflect your channel mix and the specific communications that you send. But this set of three questions will give you a lot of information to work off of. We recommend then running some focus groups with employees to learn more.
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