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Employee EngagementNovember 14, 2021

5 benefits of employee pulse surveys

Pulse survey for employees - woman responding on iphone

What is an employee pulse survey, and why is an increasing number of companies opting for regular pulse surveys instead of annual employee engagement surveys?

Employee engagement is at the top of the agenda for HR teams in all types of organizations worldwide. Research clearly shows that engaged employees mean improved productivity, reduced staff turnover, and a stronger employer brand. 

But how often should you measure employee engagement? In the past, annual employee surveys were common, but today they’re increasingly being replaced by regular pulse surveys. 

Employee pulse surveys are the modern way to check the pulse of your organisation and get access to real-time data about the employee experience. Regular employee pulse surveys are a fast and efficient way to find out how your employees are feeling and how they experience different aspects of their work environment and tasks.

What is an employee pulse survey?

Pulse surveys are digital employee engagement surveys that are regularly sent out to the employees. They enable HR and management to understand how employees experience their work environment, how they feel about their work, and where there is potential for improvement. Pulse surveys are a modern and efficient way of collecting feedback, enabling a more agile, scientific, and data-driven approach.

Regular employee pulse surveys - or annual employee engagement surveys?

We are currently right in the middle of a paradigm shift where the formal, annual surveys from the past are being replaced by more modern tools. Instead of using extensive annual surveys, a rapidly increasing number of companies opt for agile and intelligent pulse surveys that measure the engagement among employees and managers in real-time. While annual surveys only provide a snapshot of the specific moment in time, pulse surveys provide a continuously updated picture of the level of engagement, and how it changes and develops over time.

Gartner chart: Employee Engagement - pulse surveys vs Annual surveys

This chart from Gartner illustrates how annual employee surveys are gradually being replaced by other more agile tools.

Annual employee surveys are, of course, better than not measuring at all. But they do not capture the changing nature of the employee experience. With a traditional employee survey, where each employee often has to answer over 50 questions, it often takes a month or more to review the feedback and plan for organizational measures. This is an outdated approach that is not compatible with today's expectations of HR: to run an agile operation and to make decisions based on data.

5 benefits of employee pulse surveys

1. Increased productivity and greater profitability

According to Gallup, highly committed teams achieve an average of 21% higher profitability. This means that the cost of low employee engagement is very high, a fact that is beginning to rise for more and more business leaders. While employees who are not engaged in the business tend to make as little effort as possible, employees who are engaged will instead do that little extra and exceed expectations.

2. Reduced absenteeism and long-term sick leave

Sick leave is a challenge for many companies. When employees do not show up for work, projects take longer and productivity decreases. Some absence due to illness and injury is of course a part of life and can not be avoided completely. But there are also absences that are symptoms of other problems. Problems that can be avoided if they are addressed properly. Work-related stress and a lack of engagement often account for part of the absence, and addressing these issues and raising the level of employee engagement often has an immediate effect on sick leave. Happier staff are simply less likely to take sick leave.

3. A stronger employer brand

Engaged employees are central to building an attractive employer brand. If employees are not committed and happy at work, it will in the long run be impossible to present your company as an attractive workplace. The transparency that social media entails means that the only way to build a strong employer brand is to invest in the employee experience and in employee engagement.

4. Employees become ambassadors

Happy employees are really good marketers. Employees who are involved in your company are often fantastic ambassadors even outside of office hours, and will happily recommend you to potential customers in their network. They will share company updates on their personal social media accounts and help strengthen your organisation's reputation.

5. Reduced staff turnover and improved retention

When people are engaged in and enjoy their work, they are less likely to leave. High employee engagement correlates with a reduction in staff turnover, which has a direct impact on the company's productivity and profitability.

A proactive approach to the employee experience

By continuously analyzing the survey results and connecting them to action plans, organizations can work proactively to increase engagement levels and performance. Pulse surveys usually yield much higher response rates than annual engagement surveys. This means HR and managers always have updated access to employee views on a wide range of specific topics, as well as overall insights about the state of the organization.

Choose the right tool for employee pulse surveys

There are a variety of tools on the market that offer different types of heart rate measurements and employee surveys. So how to know which tool for digital pulse surveys is best?

Choose a survey provider who understands what motivates people at work

Proactive measures to increase employee engagement begin with an understanding of what motivates people, and what the driving forces behind engagement look like. The driving forces look different for different individuals and at different times in life. With the right tools for employee engagement surveys, you will understand the dynamics of your company's unique culture – so that HR, managers, and employees can work together to improve it.

Choose a scientifically validated tool for employee engagement surveys

The point of using software for employee engagement is to work in a scientific and data-driven way, instead of making decisions based on gut feeling. Choose a tool based on science, where the supplier can provide a solid, reliable, and validated foundation.

Choose a flexible platform for digital pulse surveys that can be easily integrated with your existing HR tools

Opt for a platform that offers seamless integration with the tools you already use. The employee pulse surveys should complement your existing processes and help you in your everyday life - and not involve more administration and hassle. The whole idea is that a platform for employee engagement should streamline and automate the collection of employee feedback. Smooth integrations are an important part of that puzzle.

Read about how Rusta uses digital pulse surveys from Eletive to measure employee engagement and well-being in their organization.

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