How to Create Employee Pulse Surveys - Best Practices & Sample Questions

How to Create Employee Pulse Surveys - Best Practices & Sample Questions

Creating an employee pulse survey on your own can be daunting. Check out these employee pulse survey templates and best practices to ensure you're asking the right questions.

How to Create Employee Pulse Surveys - Best Practices & Sample Questions

The role of people leaders has become increasingly complex. With many organizations managing a hybrid or remote workforce, employee burnout, and new vaccine legislation, human resource professionals are looking for new and innovative ways to improve employee retention and engagement.

But with so many workforce issues at hand, how do you collect honest and real-time feedback from your employees? Most importantly, how do you know that your organization's action plans will move the needle on employee engagement and create a people-first company culture? Let's discuss a critical component of your employee engagement strategy: employee pulse surveys.

What are Employee Pulse Surveys?

Similar to employee engagement surveys, pulse surveys are designed to gather confidential feedback to learn about the overall sentiment of your organization. The key difference is that they're shorter and can be implemented year-round to gather quick feedback. Many companies use pulse surveys to complement their company's annual employee engagement survey. Based on the engagement survey results, you can pick out a few focus areas that your company needs to improve upon. Then, you can create pulse surveys to take a deeper dive into these topics, like wellness, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEIB), or onboarding. Consider rotating topics throughout the year based on your business's priorities and needs.

Not only do pulse surveys empower companies to create and implement more targeted employee engagement solutions, but they let your employees know that the company genuinely cares about them year-long. Whether big or small, employees get to express their concerns in real-time, rather than 6 months too late. Let's dive into some sample employee pulse survey questions you can start using today!

Employee Sentiment Pulse Survey Questions

Before surveying on specific topics, it's important to measure your organization's employee engagement levels overall. After establishing a baseline from the get-go, you can then measure specific employee concerns in future surveys. Below are employee sentiment questions taken from Cooleaf's platform:

How much do you agree with the following statements? (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)                                                        

  • I would recommend [Company] as a great place to work
  • The leaders at [Company] keep people informed about what is happening.
  • I understand our company core values and feel they are ingrained in the company culture.
  • I receive appropriate recognition when I do good work.
  • My manager appreciates me and recognizes me for doing good work.
  • I have access to the learning and development I need to do my job well.
  • I feel motivated to go above and beyond because I know my work is valued at [Company].
  • My manager (or someone in management) has shown a genuine interest in my career goals.          

Open Ended Questions:            

  • What do you enjoy most/least about working for [Company]?
  • Please share one idea that would support [Company] in being a great place to work.
Employee engagement survey questions

Return-to-Work Pulse Survey Questions

COVID-19 pulse surveys were popular at the beginning of the pandemic, but many companies still use them to measure how employees feel about returning to the office. Here are a few key questions to consider:

How much do you agree with the following statements? (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)

  • I feel confident leadership can bring me back to work safely.
  • I believe appropriate safety protocols will be in place when I return to work.
  • I have no fear of being infected with the coronavirus while at work because of my own health conditions.
  • I have no fear that I will carry the virus home to family members and infect them. I feel safe traveling to and from work.
  • I feel I will have adequate access to child care.
  • I feel confident about my job security.

What safety measures do you want to see in the workplace? (Mark Yes, No, or Unsure)

  • Required Masks  
  • Optional Masks
  • Face shields
  • Employer-provided masks or face shields
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Additional hand-washing areas/stands
  • Shoe covers
  • Disposable gloves
  • Daily employee health screening
  • Limited business travel
  • Not allowing visitors/clients in the workplace

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Pulse Survey Questions

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging directly impacts employee engagement, retention, and the bottom-line. Whether you're measuring DEIB for the first time or you already have an existing program, these survey questions can help clarify your employee's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs:

How much do you agree with the following statements? (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)

  • The leadership at this company encourages diversity.
  • Management shows that diversity is important through its actions.
  • This company is committed to improving the diversity of employees.
  • This company fosters a workplace that allows employees to be themselves at work without fear.
  • This company respects individuals and values their differences.
  • The leadership at this company treats all employees fairly.
  • At this company, employees appreciate others whose backgrounds, beliefs and experiences are different from their own.
Measure your Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging efforts with employee pulse surveys

Onboarding Pulse Survey Questions

Onboarding is more than ensuring your new hires have the proper forms and instructions – it involves acclimating new employees to the company's values and culture. In fact, employees that are properly onboarded are 30 times more likely to have high job satisfaction. Here are a few questions you can ask to measure onboarding effectiveness:

How much do you agree with the following statements? (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)

  • Were you provided clear information regarding your first-day orientation meeting (location, time, what to bring, etc.)?
  • Was the information presented in an easy-to-understand format?
  • Was the person presenting the information able to answer your questions during your orientation?
  • Do you feel that sufficient time was allotted for the HR orientation meeting?
  • Did you contact HR after the orientation meeting with additional benefits and/or policy questions?
  • If you followed up with additional questions after the orientation meeting, were they answered to your satisfaction?
  • Was there enough information given on employee benefits?
  • Was there enough information provided on key company policies?
  • Did you get what you expected from your HR orientation?
  • Was the HR staff courteous and professional?

Explore 7 expert tips for onboarding remote employees to your team effortlessly.

Wellness Pulse Survey Questions

Wellness encompasses all aspects of our lives, from physical wellness, to mental health, and financial wellbeing. If you're stuck on how to measure and improve employee wellness, check out this list of questions:

How much do you agree with the following statements? (1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree)

I feel comfortable talking about my mental health at my company.

  • I have an understanding of what resources are available for mental health at my company.
  • I feel like my company's leadership prioritizes mental health at work.

Open-Ended Questions

  • What workplace factors, if any, contribute to poor mental health or burnout at my company?
  • In what ways did a mental health condition or symptom affect your productivity at work in the past year? Note: This question in particular can be sensitive. Take care to ensure your employee data is confidential.

Check out all the insights about wellness from Cooleaf experts.

Pulse Survey Best Practices

To ensure your pulse survey program is as effective as possible, keep these best practices in mind:

1. In order for your survey data to truly reflect what the majority of your employees think, high participation is essential. Having minimal response rates can decrease morale because employees may feel managers and team members aren't taking the initiatives seriously – or worse, it can skew results so it's not accurate for your entire organization.

Increase survey response rates by gaining support from the top-down. Managers and employees should receive communications from leadership about why the survey and their responses are important. Managers can also encourage team participation, either through email or a team discussion. Emphasizing the meaning behind the program will signal to employees that managers aren't just going through the motions.

Even with strong communication, sometimes new programs need a boost of encouragement. Increase response rates by offering participation incentives, like reward points. With Cooleaf, team leaders can easily send quick, incentivized surveys to teams, departments, or the entire company. Managers can also send instant nudges directly from the platform to remind their staff to take the survey.

2. Stress survey confidentiality to gain employees' trust. If employees think their manager will discover what they wrote, they're less likely to participate or respond truthfully. One way to build trust is to emphasize that all data is collected and analyzed from a third-party platform, meaning your managers will only see a high-level view of their team's results, rather than individual responses. With Cooleaf, all results are kept confidential and analyzed by our engagement experts so you can build and retain trust with your employees.

Confidential, incentivized surveys help employees feel heard at work

3. Avoid survey fatigue by not surveying too often. How often you survey depends on your company culture and what else is going on in your organization. For example, surveying right after a high-stress event, such as a merger or acquisition, could be beneficial so you can collect real-time feedback on what your company needs to improve on. Though the results won't reflect the typical sentiment of your organization, it allows you to quickly pivot your people strategy. Though there's no right or wrong approach to establishing your survey frequency, the important thing is to maintain a consistent cadence so you can follow-up on events and experiences that matter.

4. Turn insights into action by ensuring executives, managers, and employees are well-equipped to act on their results. At Cooleaf, we believe employee engagement isn't just another survey. In fact, conducting an employee survey and not taking action can actually decrease engagement and participation rates in the long-term!

After results are in, managers should review results with their team and brainstorm actions they can take to increase their engagement. HR or your third-party survey platform can also partner with managers and recommend effective actions.

Cooleaf helps companies take quick action on employee feedback with strategic recommendations and programming. Team leaders can easily send quick, incentivized pulse surveys to teams, departments, or the entire company, or work with our Customer Success team to adopt an ongoing engagement survey strategy. Our Customer Success team helps you conduct surveys based on your goals, measure and analyze the data, and create an engagement plan to address workplace issues.

More than a survey platform, we tailor recommendations specifically for your organization so you can increase your company's engagement levels, boost productivity, and strategically improve your workplace culture.

Looking for more employee engagement solutions? Just let us know! We'd love to chat with you.


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