Employee Pulse Survey Strategy: What’s Right For Your Company?

By Nick Hayter of Perceptyx

Right now is a time of unprecedented disruption. We’re battling a loss of normalcy. It’s no longer business as usual for anyone. But, for the majority, it is vitally important that business does carry on. Your employees face uncertainty and unpredictability. Your employees are responding to new ways of working such as remote working, changing work patterns, or new policies, procedures, and protocols.

The likelihood is that your employees are juggling personal and professional commitments. How will you help them if you don’t ask them how they are coping? (Tweet this!) Employees want to be heard.

Employee pulse surveys provide a great way to listen and act on employee feedback. There are many ways to design and deliver a pulse survey. Used for tracking sentiment over time, for better understanding employee needs, or for helping stay connected during turbulent times, the employee pulse survey is versatile to meet your needs. Thus, determining the “best” pulse survey requires a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

In this article, we’ll examine various types of pulse surveys and the purposes to which they are most suited, to help you use them as part of your continuous listening strategy.

Employee pulse surveys are just one element of a successful continuous listening program. To find out what else you should be doing, download our free guide, Continuous Listening: Developing The Right Strategy For Your Organization.

Determine Your Purpose

Annual census surveys are likely to be well-rounded, covering a range of topics that help leaders understand the barriers to engagement and performance.

Whilst pulse surveys typically feature fewer survey questions, the list of potential topics they cover is almost endless. Some employee pulse survey examples are provided below:


Pulse surveys can be used as a regular “temperature check.” Common employee pulse survey questions are the four indicators of engagement or employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Monitoring pulses can be done on nearly any cadence: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually. You can invite selected subsets of your workforce, use random sampling, or even invite your entire organization to participate on a regular basis.


Pulse surveys can be used as a “deep dive” into specific topics and issues. You can use pulse surveys to follow up on known barriers to engagement—surveys focused on recognition or other distinct topics such as vision and direction, communication, or growth and development. Here, you may want to select “hotspot” business units, geographic regions, job roles, or tenure bands—or you may want the survey to go to a representative sample of your workforce.


Pulse surveys can be tied to your planned business events to gauge employee reactions or to gather suggestions about organizational changes and business updates.

We’ve also witnessed recently that pulse surveys can be used to rapidly collect data on emerging topics to help you respond quickly and decisively to unplanned situations. Though listening to your employees is always important, that need is amplified during turbulent times. You can use ad hoc, just-in-time pulse surveys to connect with employees at scale, alongside other ways of keeping lines of communication open with your people.

Turbulent times increase stress on and within organizations, testing our leadership, our people, and our culture — as well as the strength of our relationships with others. At Perceptyx, we are supporting organizations to understand their employees’ perceptions of corporate response to the situation. To that end, we’ve created surveys specific to the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re offering completely free of charge.


  1. COVID-19 Survey: We’ve prepared a 16-question pulse survey specific to corporate responses to the pandemic. The measures in this pulse survey include indicators of confidence in leadership, perceived care for individuals, consistency in how policies are applied, effectiveness of communication efforts, and more.
  2. Managing Remote Teams Survey: This pulse survey is designed to assess the health and well-being of your employees as they adjust to the new normal working environment.
  3. Supporting Your People Managers Survey: Manager and supervisor insights are truly invaluable to senior leadership during times like these. Utilize this survey to gauge how well you’re supporting your managers and to gain a true local view of what is happening.
  4. Industry-specific surveys for Healthcare, Retail, and Manufacturing to better understand and respond to the unique challenges of each industry.



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