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Learn about pulse surveys and their benefits for employee and customer feedback. Discover best practices and free templates for creating your own pulse survey.

5 star rating with bar graph and customer reviews

Chances are, the issues you care about most are different from this time last year. How do we know?

Our survey research team asks this question to thousands of Americans in our weekly political polls, where people’s top issues change quarterly, monthly, and even weekly. 

It’s no secret that people’s sentiments can shift, but if you’re not hearing from your survey respondents often, you may lose touch with their perspective.

Thankfully, a survey strategy addresses this: the pulse survey. We’ll review how to create a pulse survey and use it to identify your respondents’ feedback and track their changes over time.

Pulse surveys are short questionnaires or feedback tools organizations use to gather real-time insights from employees, customers, or other stakeholders. Usually, these surveys have only a few questions and are designed to be quick and easy to complete. 

Pulse surveys are typically conducted on a regular basis, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, hence the term "pulse," which reflects the idea of frequently taking the organizational or individual "pulse."

The primary purpose of pulse surveys is to collect timely feedback and data on various aspects of an organization or its operations. This feedback can be related to:

A pulse survey consists of frequent (monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly), short check-ins with the same audience. Pulse surveys often have just 3-6 questions.

Have you bought into running a pulse survey yet? Read on to learn best practices when writing your pulse survey questions.

Despite the limited number of pulse survey questions, there are several ways this type of survey benefits your organization:

Pulse surveys allow your respondents to identify issues they’re having right now, instead of issues they had six months ago. This allows you to follow up with immediate action or investigate them further.

By surveying on a consistent cadence, you’ll be able to see if an internal or external event has an impact on your baseline numbers.

Regular dialogue helps your respondents feel appreciated and listened to.

Pulse surveys provide organizations with immediate insights into how employees or customers are feeling or experiencing certain aspects of the organization.

They allow organizations to quickly identify and respond to emerging issues or trends, enabling them to adapt their strategies or policies in a timely manner.

Because pulse surveys are short and frequent, they tend to have higher participation rates compared to longer, less frequent surveys.

By regularly collecting feedback, organizations can continuously monitor their progress and make incremental improvements over time.

Regularly seeking feedback from employees through pulse surveys can demonstrate to them that their opinions are valued, which can help increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

As you can imagine, getting constant feedback is valuable for many use cases.

Though it may be more practical to start by implementing one or two of the following use cases, your organization should strive to eventually use pulse surveys in each of the following ways:

Employee pulse surveys are one of the most common ways to use pulse surveys. HR may want to understand how a change in company policy impacts morale. You may want to know employees feel after working on a particular project. Whatever the case may be, asking pulse survey questions will get you closer to the answer.

Skipping out on an employee pulse survey can prove costly. Small things that impact the employee experience can build up if they’re ignored, eventually contributing to an increased trend in employee turnover. The costs of such an event would be significant. For example, replacing and training mid-level employees can cost as much as 150% of their annual salary.

Your customers are often quite different from one another. To make matters more complicated, they may have multiple goals for using your product or service that change over time.

Pulse surveys help your organization stay on top of your customers’ experiences. They provide your customer support and success teams with more up-to-date information on what each customer is looking to accomplish and reveal your organization’s performance in different areas. Over the long run, understanding your customers better improves their experience and influences your business’ competitive positioning.

To kickstart your use of customer-focused pulse surveys, use our Net Promoter Score® (NPS) survey template.

A brand’s level of awareness and perception can evolve over time. Brand tracking pulse surveys help you understand how specific events impact them. To measure your brand’s awareness, focus on surveying your target market; to measure your brand’s perception, survey your customers and your target market.

In case you’d like some direction, check out these questions from our Brand awareness survey template.

  • Include at least one open-ended and one closed-ended question: It’s often effective to pair them together, using the open-ended question as the follow-up. This allows you to compare respondents’ sentiments and understand why they feel a certain way.
  • Focus on questions that produce easily measurable results and, when improved, translate into real business outcomes and insights (e.g., The Net Promoter Score).
  • Keep it short: Pulse surveys should be quick to complete, so limit the number of questions and keep them concise. Aim for no more than five to ten questions to ensure high participation rates.
  • Focus on specific topics: Choose one or two key areas or topics to focus on in each survey to keep the questions relevant and manageable.
  • Use simple language: Write questions using clear and easy-to-understand language. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse respondents.

Career development pulse survey

Career development pulse surveys help you understand if employees are satisfied with the amount of training you currently offer and discover other ways you can help advance your employee’s careers.

Our career development pulse survey template asks important questions, such as:

  • Am I pleased with the career advancement opportunities available to me?
  • Am I satisfied with my current opportunities for professional growth?
  • Do I feel that my organization is dedicated to my professional development? 

Relationships pulse survey

Relationships management pulse surveys include questions aimed at helping you understand how well employees work together so that you can proactively develop relationship management programs. 

Our relationships management pulse survey template asks important questions, such as:

  • Am I pleased with the career advancement opportunities available to me?
  • Am I satisfied with my current opportunities for professional growth?
  • Do I feel that my organization is dedicated to my professional development? 

Work engagement pulse survey

Work engagement pulse surveys allow you to gather insights about workplace morale, understand what motivates people, and learn how to tailor your team’s training and guidance to your workforce’s needs.

Our work engagement pulse survey template asks important questions, such as:

  • Am I pleased with the career advancement opportunities available to me?
  • Am I satisfied with my current opportunities for professional growth?
  • Do I feel that my organization is dedicated to my professional development? 

Culture pulse survey

Culture pulse surveys are short check-ins that can help you learn and respond to what employees at your company think about the work culture. 

Our culture pulse survey template asks important questions related to workplace culture, such as:

  • Does my organization have a safe work environment?
  • Am I satisfied with my overall job security?
  • Do I understand how my work impacts the organization’s business goals?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey

Our Net Promoter Score sample survey template is designed to make understanding your customers' satisfaction easy. Net promoter scores are produced by asking respondents to rate their likelihood of referring your business to someone else, using a scale from 0 to 10. 

Using your customers’ answers, you can identify the percentage of customers who would promote you and use this number to gauge your performance over time. You can also customize our NPS template to fit your product offering or ask additional questions to better understand your customers.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

Our expert-written customer satisfaction template helps you get started tracking customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction surveys let you build a stronger business strategy from convenience to professionalism.

Try our free Customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey template here. 

Implement pulse surveys to drive change, boost engagement, and enhance satisfaction for a more informed and agile organization. Create a survey or get started with an expertly designed template.

NPS®, Net Promoter® & Net Promoter® Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.

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