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 Employee Engagement Pulse Survey Questions You Need to Ask

Employee Engagement Pulse Survey Questions You Need to Ask

Pulse surveys are a great way to have frequent, informal check-ins with employees as opposed to a single annual engagement survey. With pulse surveys for employee engagement, you are literally ‘taking the pulse’ of employee satisfaction. 


According to Scot Chrisman, Founder, and CEO of The Media House, “these surveys are timely, with the global pandemic and being in quarantine and back to work again with the threat of getting infected still at the back of everyone's mind, an employee engagement survey is a must.


As a digital marketing expert and a CEO, we regularly initiate these kinds of surveys to better understand where our employees are and how we can fix underlying issues or better our company's services or resources.”


However, with a limited structure, it can be all too easy for brands to get pulse surveys wrong. It is important to ensure brands are asking the right pulse survey questions.


If you need a refresher on pulse surveys, read our Heartpace guide here on what pulse surveys entail and how to get started

Why asking the right questions is important 

Employee surveys are easy to execute, but not always easy to get right. This is why asking the right questions is so important when carrying our pulse surveys. 


What organizations want to get out of pulse survey questions is targeted feedback. A good pulse survey should bring up any potential issues inside the organization that require swift attention before becoming larger problems.


David Walter of Electrician Mentor says, “asking the right questions is important in an employee pulse survey because if you don't, you won't get the data you need, and more importantly, your employees may lose interest in filling out the survey adequately if they feel the questions are irrelevant.”

What type of questions you should be asking

With many different survey types, it might be overwhelming to know where to begin with pulse survey questions. Pulse surveys should be two key things: fast and frequent. This will shape how your organization chooses pulse survey questions. 


According to Vincent Scaramuzzo, HR Professional at Ed-Exec, “the type of questions to ask in a pulse survey will vary from one organization to another. Generally, these questions should target immediate, smaller concerns that can be addressed in the short-term. Important themes to touch on include;


  • Retention - Find out about each employee’s lifecycle in the organization, for example, ask how likely they would reapply to their current position
  • Satisfaction - These questions address employee happiness and morale
  • Culture - Find out employees’ perceptions of the organization’s culture and how this affects their level of engagement
  • Leadership - Determine whether employees feel recognized and valued based on their interactions with their respective managers and leaders.”


What to consider when choosing the questions

Pulse survey questions should be short, to the point, and specific. You want to make it as easy as possible for an employee to fill out the survey so they can return to their daily job tasks. 


There aren’t strict rules for what specifically to ask in a pulse survey, because at the end of the day it all depends on the goals of your organization. Ask: What are we hoping to get out of conducting pulse surveys?


You will want to consider the strategic goals of the organization as well as the specific goals of your company’s HR department.


Chrisman says, “consider the diversity of your employees. From here make them answer your

questions freely and tell them honestly why you are doing such surveys.”


There are three key pulse survey question types:


  • Multiple choice
  • Sliding/rating scale 
  • Open-ended


Of course, there are other survey question types, but these three are used the most often in pulse surveys. Have a good portion of pulse survey questions be of the sliding/rating scale type because it standardizes employee responses. This helps make the results of the survey more specific and measurable.


Make sure to check out our best practices for conducting pulse surveys in your organization.

The 6 best questions to include in your next Pulse Survey

We will reiterate that there are many good pulse survey questions. Make sure the questions asked reflect the goals of your company. Here are some of the commonly used employee pulse check survey questions that have proved effective for multiple organizations:

1. How likely are you to recommend working at the company to a friend or colleague?

This question measures employee sentiment toward the company and works similarly to the employee net promoter score (eNPS)

2. What are the current challenges you’re facing in your job?`

This is an open-ended response question that can uncover where employees are being prevented from doing their best work. It can also help organizations see if issues are isolated within a unit or if it is a company-wide problem.

3. My work gives me a sense of purpose

This is a scale question (1-10) but it can be followed up with an open-ended question of “why.” It is a great question for measuring employee satisfaction and engagement.

4. Are there parts of the business you would like to see improved?

Another open-ended question, this is a space for employees to leave suggestions on how they think the business could do better. It can provide some valuable action-items on how to improve going forward.

5. Do you have the resources you need to achieve your goals?

This question helps assess whether or not employees are set up for success in the organization. If there is a gap in resources, that should be further investigated and fixed.

6. How well aligned is the company with your career goals?

A lot of employee turnover can be the result of the misalignment of career goals. It is good to assess whether employees are engaged in this area and if not, the organization and HR teams can make efforts to ensure employee career goals become a focus.


When organizations ensure their pulse survey questions are carefully chosen, it helps in getting higher success rates. 


Jenna Carsen, HR Manager at Music Grotto says, “employee engagement surveys are hard to get right, but it’s worth spending the time and effort on them as they are an essential way to find out howyour employees are feeling and where the company may need to improve.”


Looking to improve your pulse surveys? Our new software module, Heartpace Pulse, can help you formulate the right pulse survey questions.

Henrik Dannert


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