Pulse Surveys: Types & Best Practices

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, staying attuned to the pulse of your organization is paramount.

That's where pulse surveys come into play, offering a powerful tool to gauge employee sentiment, customer feedback, and market trends in real time.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the essence of pulse surveys, exploring what they are, the various types available, and why they stand as indispensable instruments for informed decision-making in today's fast-paced world. 

What exactly is a pulse survey?

A pulse survey is a short survey that is usually sent on a regular basis. Typically pulse surveys are sent to employees with 3-6 questions to get feedback.

However, they can be sent to many different audiences, more than just employees, with the goal of getting ongoing and current feedback for the organization.

Pulse surveys have a unique opportunity for data collection, since the data can be tracked from one survey to another and also collectively over time between all surveys.

That’s why for specific topics that need to be measured consistently - they are a perfect fit.

Why are pulse surveys important?

There are a few key reasons why pulse surveys are important. They save time, collect data over time, and can help find issues within organizations quickly.

When running a frequent survey like a pulse survey, the data gives you touch points you can use to deduce any issues or infrequencies in your organization.

Also when running a shorter survey like pulse surveys typically are - a lot of time can be saved while collecting the same amount of valuable data. It’s also helpful to see the feedback that pulse surveys collect over time, change, or stay the same (depending on which goals you’re hoping for).

In our experience, with well-built and engaging surveys, employees love giving feedback and prefer to do it on a frequent basis.

It can help improve their situation or give their organization the ability to take action on their feedback.

Best ways to use pulse surveys

Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys can help understand your employees’ experience and engagement. Employee surveys are one of the most common ways to use pulse surveys.

They can help keep a “pulse” on your employees and their feedback. It can be general or even per project or specific change in the organization. 

Customer Surveys

Customer surveys are another great option for using pulse surveys. Especially with subscription purchases or other frequent feedback needs, recurrent surveys are perfect.

Also since it can be hard to have engaging surveys for customers - the short surveys like pulse ones usually are - can be perfect to use for customer feedback.

Tips For Writing Your Pulse Surveys

Figure Out Your Frequency

With recurring surveys, it’s important to avoid survey fatigue and to know how often you want to send them. For different types and audiences, you can use monthly pulse, quarterly, or even bi-annual/ annual surveys. So decide on your goals before sending out your survey.

Keep Them Short

The survey frequency can help you decide how long or short to make your pulse survey. Typically you’ll want them to be a minimum of 3-6 questions but they can be longer if they are engaging and have good development.

  • Monthly pulse: 5-10 questions
  • Quarterly pulse: 10-20 questions
  • Bi-annual/Annual pulse: 20+ questions

Include Engagement Measurement

Pulse surveys can measure whatever your goals line up with but the standard measurements of net promoter score and employee net promoter score also are relevant for these surveys.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pulse Surveys

What do you measure in a pulse survey?

A pulse survey is a quick survey that is typically sent out to employees frequently (monthly, quarterly, etc.). This survey can be used as a check-in, providing a “pulse” check on employee satisfaction, compensation, feedback, communication, work environment, and more.

What is the difference between a pulse survey and a regular survey?

Compared to how an employee survey can be conducted one time or repeatedly, pulse surveys are often deployed more frequently (monthly, quarterly, or even weekly). The length of pulse surveys is much shorter than typical employee surveys.

What is a good pulse survey?

A good pulse survey contains a short series of specific questions aiming to measure a specific topic for an organization regularly. Since pulse surveys are typically aimed at one main idea, you can measure your survey in different ways. A good pulse survey is short, straightforward, and can measure a topic for your company. They help save time, track data over time, and help keep a check on certain things for your organization.

Final Thoughts

In our experience with our clients at Drive Research, pulse surveys are used to collect feedback on a shorter, typically more frequent basis, to measure topics like employee engagement or customer satisfaction metrics. They can be more flexible than other surveys since they are more frequent than one-time projects.

Consider working using a full-service market research company to execute these surveys.

Working with a market research company for pulse surveys provides access to a team of experts skilled in designing, executing, and analyzing surveys, ensuring high-quality data collection and actionable insights.

Additionally, a market research company can leverage its industry knowledge and network to reach a broader and more diverse audience, enhancing the survey's representativeness and reliability.

Contact Our Pulse Survey Company

Drive Research is a national market research company based in New York. Our experts can execute a pulse survey for organizations anywhere in the country - no matter the size or industry.

Hiring a third-party team like Drive Research to run these surveys ensures honest and accurate feedback to drive decision-making.

Contact Drive Research by filling out the form below or emailing [email protected].

austin author bio

Austin Parker

Austin has an extensive background in SEO as he's been blogging since 16 years old back when the internet was in its infancy. As fitting, he holds a Bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Learn more about Austin, here.

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