Exclusive : 1st Global Rewards and Recognition Benchmarking Report (India) 2023-24 powered by SHRM India

Employee Pulse Surveys: The Ultimate Guide in 2023

14 min read   |  
Last Updated on

Employee pulse surveys have quickly become one of the most preferred methods to measure employee engagement levels.

Employee engagement is not a quantitative number that can be measured easily. It’s an emotion. Various factors come into play when you talk about “measuring engagement” in a workforce.

  • Do employees feel satisfied with their work?
  • Do employees think that their manager is fair?
  • Is recognition given in a timely and frequent manner?

A Gartner report found that 74% of organizations still use formal, detailed annual surveys to measure employee engagement.

Unlike traditional employee surveys, pulse surveys are simple and fast. The pulse survey results highlight many factors that contribute to an employee feeling engaged in a company.

Ultimately, it is a more efficient way to gather and deliver employee feedback and is easier to run and manage. If you are interested in running a pulse survey in your company, you’re already ahead of the game. Let’s get started!

Key Insights

  1. Concept of Pulse Surveys
  2. Objectives and Benefits of Pulse Surveys
  3. Steps to create a structure of Pulse Surveys
  4. Best Practices for Pulse Surveys
  5. Sample Questions for Pulse Surveys

What are Pulse Surveys?

What is employee pulse survey
Employee pulse surveys are a form of employee engagement survey used by organizations to assess the overall employee experience by gathering relevant employee feedback. It is a quick, trouble-free, and robust way to improve employee engagement by evaluating the company’s strengths and weaknesses through the survey results.

As the name suggests, a pulse survey is designed to track the organization’s “pulse or the heartbeat.” Just like our pulse rate gives a quick check of human health, an employee pulse survey measures the “health” of the company culture.

employee pulse survey question template
(Source: Vantage Pulse)

For the layman, pulse surveys are short, standardized, and focused. The employees receive a set of survey questions and have to rate them on a scale of 1-10.

The objective of a pulse survey is to quickly identify major concerns and areas of improvement within the organization.

Pulse surveys contain several short, simplified questions covering significant components of employee engagement. You can also add an optional comment section along with each question where they can elaborate on their answers.

They have become increasingly popular in modern companies due to their ease of use, management, and efficiency in collecting valuable company insights.

What is the Ideal Pulse Survey Frequency?

What is the Ideal Pulse Survey Frequency
Determining the ideal pulse survey frequency requires finding the right balance between business agility and engagement. The frequency of pulse surveys will be influenced by a range of factors, including your organization's inherent characteristics, your team's composition, and the precise objectives you strive to accomplish.

Employee Survey Scheduling
(Source: Vantage Pulse)

Weekly Pulse Surveys

Administering pulse surveys every week is ideal for organizations that want real-time, frequent insights into employee sentiment. It shows a commitment to listening to employee feedback consistently.

Weekly pulses allow leadership to monitor satisfaction related to ongoing initiatives and rapidly respond to any emerging issues. However, organizations must have the bandwidth to review results and take action each week.

Weekly pulse surveys work well in agile environments open to constant improvements.

Bi-weekly or Monthly Pulse Surveys

Conducting pulse surveys every other week or monthly provides a cadence that balances engagement with potential survey fatigue. There is enough time between surveys to analyze and respond while frequently checking the pulse.

Monthly or bi-weekly works well for tracking trends over time, monitoring the impact of longer-term changes, and keeping a reliable engagement rhythm. Leadership still needs to be committed to regularly reviewing and acting on results.

This frequency is suited for organizations that want to supplement annual engagement surveys with more frequent check-ins that don't require weekly capacity.

Quarterly Pulse Surveys

Rolling out pulse surveys every quarter caters to organizations that experience seasonal shifts or are undergoing major transformations that take time. It provides periodic feedback on larger changes versus week-to-week developments.

Quarterly works best when you want a higher-level overview of the employee experience vs. real-time monitoring. It allows time for substantive initiatives in response to results before the next survey.

Ad-hoc Pulse Surveys

Ad-hoc pulses are sent as needed rather than on a fixed schedule. They gather employee feedback at specific moments, like before or after a major company event, leadership change, restructuring, or acquisition.

Ad-hoc surveys provide targeted insights into the impact of major happenings that require immediate monitoring. However, they don't offer the same ongoing engagement rhythm as regularly scheduled surveys.

A recent survey showed that 58% of the employees (leaders and individual contributors) say they wish their company conducted surveys more frequently.

Objectives of Pulse Survey

Objective Description
Employee Engagement Measure and enhance the level of employees' emotional commitment and enthusiasm for their work.
Feedback Collection Gather timely and relevant feedback from employees on various aspects of the organization.
Performance Assessment Assess employee satisfaction, morale, and overall performance on a more frequent basis.
Organizational Alignment Gauge the alignment of employees with the organization's values, mission, and goals.
Well-being Check Monitor and address employee well-being, stress levels, and work-life balance.

10 Amazing Benefits of Pulse Surveys

Benefits Of Employee Pulse Surveys

1. Real-Time Insights into Employee Experience

Conducting pulse surveys on a regular basis allows organizations to gain real-time insights into the employee experience. Unlike annual surveys, pulse surveys capture feedback at the moment, enabling issues to be identified as they occur rather than months later.

Trends and changes in satisfaction or engagement can be closely tracked over time rather than just having one data point per year. With real-time data, organizations can also monitor the impact of policy changes, tools, procedures, and more.

2. Spot and Address Issues Quickly

A major advantage of frequent pulse surveys is that problems and concerns can be spotted way before they escalate or spread.

For instance, a dip in engagement scores from one survey to the next could trigger further investigation through focus groups into the drivers. Root causes of issues can be addressed promptly through improved communication, training, workflow changes, and more.

By rapidly resolving issues identified through pulse surveys, organizations can prevent larger problems like widespread disengagement and turnover. Employees will see that action is being taken based on their feedback.

3. Reduce Survey Fatigue

Annual surveys often suffer from survey fatigue as they are too long and involved for employees to complete readily.

Pulse surveys are intentionally brief and focused, taking just a few minutes to complete. This increases participation rates and encourages thoughtful responses compared to long annual surveys.

By varying the questions in each survey, organizations can keep employees engaged in providing meaningful feedback over time rather than just once a year.

The term "survey fatigue" was first coined by researchers when they found that people who had taken multiple surveys in a row were more likely to experience it than those who had only completed one survey at a time.

4. Create Open Communication Channels

The regular cadence of pulse surveys enables open communication channels between groups like employees and senior leaders who may not interact routinely otherwise.

It allows transparency as management can share progress based on employee feedback. This two-way dialogue builds workplace trust, collaboration, and shared purpose.

Employees feel valued knowing their perspectives are solicited frequently through pulse surveys.

5. Quick and Easy

One major problem with traditional surveys is that they are long and tedious. Pulse surveys are short, with only 5-10 questions sent at a time. The questions themselves are easy to understand, which ensures that employees find it less of a hassle.

Thus, pulse surveys provide a significantly higher participation rate than regular surveys. It enables human resources professionals to understand the employee experience situation precisely.

Additionally, pulse survey platforms like Vantage Pulse provide a user-friendly interface that can be used across multiple devices and platforms. It ensures that employees benefit from taking the survey at their convenience.

6. Timely

Pulse survey questions are sent out timely over an established period of time. It becomes easier for employees to get used to and even anticipate getting a survey. Similarly, businesses profit by getting a periodic update of the employee experience on workplace issues.

7. Creates Awareness

Lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges in corporations. When employees feel disengaged, it impacts their performance and commitment to the company.

When you fail to uncover the attributes of employee dissatisfaction, there cannot be scope for any improvement. Hence, turnover increases, productivity decreases, and the company’s bottom line suffers. Pulse Surveys can be especially helpful here by becoming a means of creating awareness.

8. Anonymous

Employees distrust traditional employee surveys since the anonymity of the surveyor is a significant issue for them. To get accurate survey results, it’s vital that employees feel comfortable while taking the survey.

Employees will only be open and transparent about their issues when they know the survey is anonymous. Pulse surveys provide them with this much-needed anonymity.

Consequently, the survey results will reflect a more genuine representation of the engagement level.

9. Setting Industry Benchmarks

Surveys are an excellent way to set an industry benchmark for companies. It is the only way to keep track of their employee engagement levels accurately and objectively.

Pulse surveys typically ask a standardized set of questions evaluating the building blocks of employee engagement. Analyzing such employee feedback can offer valuable benchmark data across the industry.

10. Facilitates Quick Action Planning

Pulse surveys are short online surveys that land directly on your employees’ inboxes. Hence, you get the results promptly and can formulate your action plan quickly. Also, the survey provides straightforward questions in a categorized format, making it even easier for you to act.

Structure Of A Pulse Survey: 6 Crucial Steps For Best Results

Structure Of A Pulse Survey with 6 Crucial Steps For Best Results
Unsure about how to run an effective pulse survey in your organization? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the structure of an employee pulse survey:

1. Defining The Purpose

Running a frequent pulse survey can be vague if you fail to define the purpose of the survey. Brainstorm the areas that you want to evaluate before curating the questionnaire.

Then, decide on areas you would like to focus on for a particular survey. Ensure that you involve people from different spheres of the organization in the brainstorming/decision-making sessions. The idea is to get a diverse set of perspectives. With a wide range of different views, your surveys will hold a strong standpoint and help you generate the desired results.

2. Designing The Survey

It is essential to ask the right survey questions. Keep your questions short, relevant, and straightforward. Try to be in “their shoes” while forming the questions. It is advisable to keep the survey anonymous to gain honest responses.

3. Running the Survey

Once you design the survey, the next step is the deployment of the survey. Make a proper announcement via oral or written communication before sending out the survey emails.

You can also add attractive incentives for answering the survey to get higher response rates. Run the survey and follow up at least once.

4. Analysis of the Survey

eNPS score on Vantage Pulse
(Source: Vantage Pulse)

After completion, when the results are in, you must review them in great detail. Look for common areas of strength and weaknesses and organize the data accordingly. You can categorize them into behavior patterns, psychographics, and demographics.

5. Action Plan

The very purpose of an employee engagement survey is to pave the path to improvement.

Therefore, the most crucial step of the survey is taking action. Sharing results with employees builds trust and promotes honesty and fairness among the workforce. It also helps the management share and implement constructive and corrective policies/procedures.

6. Finding The Right Survey Tool

Every company culture is unique. Thus, the requirements, workforce, and needs are also diverse. In this scenario, you couldn’t expect a pulse survey tool that suited a particular organization to suit yours as well.

It becomes crucial that you select a survey tool that fits your company culture. You can always opt for trusted external vendors or survey software such as Vantage Pulse, Workday Peakon, or TinyPulse for designing the survey. It will make running and managing surveys more effective and reliable.

Recommended Resource: Top 20 Employee Pulse Survey Tools

Best Practices for Pulse Surveys

Best Practices for Pulse Surveys
Here are some best practices for developing and administering effective employee pulse surveys:

Keep it short

One key best practice for pulse surveys is to keep the survey short, ideally limiting it to 10-15 questions that take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Employees are much more likely to complete quick pulse surveys consistently over time without survey fatigue setting in. The questions should be concise, focused on specific issues tied to business goals, and avoid vague phrasing that could be interpreted differently.

Ask targeted questions

It's important to ask targeted questions that address clear topics and metrics rather than broad satisfaction measures. In order to get useful data, tie survey questions directly to business goals, KPIs, and desired outcomes.

Survey consistently

Send pulse surveys at set intervals, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly, as discussed previously, to identify trends over time. Maintaining a consistent frequency reinforces the importance of employee feedback and builds engagement.

Offer anonymity

Allowing anonymous survey responses enables employees to provide candid feedback without worrying about negative opinions impacting them. Anonymity generates more honest input, especially around sensitive topics.

Communicate results

Closing the feedback loop is very crucial. Communicate the key themes, actions taken based on their survey responses, and next steps to employees. Visibly responding to feedback shows the value of participating and builds trust and engagement in the process. Pulse survey success requires transparency around how employee perspectives are driving change.

Follow up quickly

It's also important to follow up quickly once pulse survey results are in. It allows you to take corrective actions by rapidly analyzing the feedback data and identifying any areas of weakness.

Use advanced analytics

Advanced analytics should also be leveraged to go beyond just basic stats and uncover deeper insights through text analysis, correlating survey data to business KPIs, and identifying drivers of engagement.

Integrate with HR systems

Integrating pulse survey data with existing HR systems like performance management and learning platforms helps connect insights across the employee lifecycle and ensure necessary actions are taken.

45 Employee Pulse Survey Questions To Ace It In 2023

List Of Survey Questions To Gather Relevant Employee Feedback
The following list of questions covers a broad range of topics you must include in your next employee pulse survey.

Employee Engagement Index

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to proudly recommend the company to your friends and family?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how much does your work contribute to your personal growth?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how comfortable are you to recommend the company’s products/services to others?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how proud do you feel about your organization?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how excited are you to come to work every day?

Relationship With Peers

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how strong is your connection with the people you work with?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how often do your coworkers offer help?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how welcoming are your coworkers while sharing opinions different from their own?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how productive is the work collaboration with your peers?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how frequently do your team members exchange appreciation?

Relationship With Managers

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how supportive is your manager when you face challenges?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how comfortable do you feel discussing long-term career goals and plans with your manager?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how frequently does your manager try to micromanage your work?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how fairly and effectively does your manager handle interpersonal conflicts within your team?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how confident are you in your manager's ability to guide and lead the team toward common goals?

Work Environment

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how easily can you focus on your work in the office?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how respected do you feel at your workplace?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how safe and comfortable do you feel at your workplace?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how frequently do you interact with your peers at your workplace?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the facilities and tools available to make your work life easier?

Employee Recognition

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how actively does your company encourage employees to give recognition to one another?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how frequently do you receive recognition in the workplace?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how likely are you to be recognized for doing a good job?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the recognition process and the type of rewards given?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how valued and appreciated do you feel in the organization?

Compensation And Benefits

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your current compensation package?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how fairly do you think you are paid compared to your coworkers in similar roles?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the retirement/pension plan?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how adequate is the annual paid time off provided by the company's policy?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the current healthcare benefits?

Personal Development

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the variety and relevance of training courses offered by the company?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how well do the professional development workshops provided by the company align with your career goals?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how clear is the company's communication about potential career paths and the training required to reach them?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how actively does the company encourage and facilitate your participation in external conferences and training events?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, to what extent are you able to apply the skills and knowledge gained from the company's training programs in your current role?


  1. On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the direction taken by the organization in terms of the organizational goals and strategies?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how effectively have the organization's leaders communicated a motivating vision?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how strongly do you feel the company has supported high work ethics?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how strongly do you feel your values align with the company's values?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how closely do your current roles and responsibilities align with the job description you received?


  1. On a scale of 1-5, how much autonomy do you have in approaching your work responsibilities?
  2. On a scale of 1-5, how frequently are your opinions and thoughts considered?
  3. On a scale of 1-5, how often are you given opportunities to take on important roles and responsibilities?
  4. On a scale of 1-5, how comfortable are you with the amount of flexibility in your work?
  5. On a scale of 1-5, how able are you to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Pulse Surveys vs. Engagement Surveys

Factor Pulse Survey Engagement Survey
Length Short survey (<15 questions) Longer survey (30+ questions)
Frequency Frequent (monthly, quarterly, etc.) Infrequent (annually or biannually)
Goal Quick check-in on employee experience Deep dive into engagement levels
Topics Focused on specific issues Looks at a wide range of factors
Data Gathering Real-time feedback Lagging indicator
Administration Simple, fast More complex process
Participation High participation with minimal effort Risk of survey fatigue due to length


A great workplace is one where employees feel valued and cared for. Organizational attributes directly translate to employee engagement. Uncovering issues of the company helps you in creating a fulfilling employee experience.

Now that you know the fundamentals of pulse survey viz. Its objective, frequency, design, and results analysis, it’s time to put it into action. Start taking the pulse of employee engagement by signing up for a Vantage Pulse trial. Consistent pulse surveying will provide the real-time insights you need to build an exceptional employee experience.

This article was co-authored by Nilotpal M Saharia and Barasha Medhi, who work as digital marketers at Vantage Circle. For any queries reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com.

Vantage Circle Logo

The Ultimate Guide to
Reward and Recognition

An essential guide detailing the basics of rewards and recognition and on how to shape a culture that attracts, engages, and retains your top employees.
Circle Guide Book
Subscribe for HR Insights
Book My 30-min Demo
Join us in driving a
Culture of Employee Appreciation Globally!
Vantage Rewards
Celebrating 2M+ Happy Corporate Employees
Elevating Company Culture Across

Know More
Not Interested

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Rewards and Recognition