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Employee Pulse Surveys: The 6 Types of Questions That Should Go Straight Into It

Clare Zacharias

26 October 2021

6 min read

Once upon a time, everyone thought that going through the motions of running employee pulse surveys would always get them insights into what is happening in their companies. But times have changed! And people have started realizing that not just any survey would fetch them the data they needed.

So, if you’re here, looking for the best questions you ought to ask in your survey, you are already in a good place to start. For one, you care that your questions work right. For another, you already know that not all questions work the same. While it’s certainly helpful to learn some tips to create a good survey and the questions you should avoid, let’s dive into those questions that should make it into all employee pulse surveys.

What should I ask in an employee pulse survey?

Type 1: Questions that target any concern they might have.

  1. Which of the following (if any) would you consider helpful for performing your job?
    a. Time-management training
    b. Consistent feedback
    c. Flexible work schedule
    d. Better pay and perks
    e. Other
  2. Do you feel connected to your coworkers?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at work?
  4. Do you receive meaningful recognition for your work?
  5. On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you giving suggestions and feedback to your managers?

What it will tell you: Your workplace might resemble cloud nine or a scene out of Inferno for your employees. Find out which is the case. Probe into the troubles they encounter and the actions you can do to resolve them.

"With little recognition for making progress, it's hard for anyone to stay motivated."
Often, you’ll find out that your employees feel unappreciated or unrecognized. If people don’t get any recognition for making progress, it’s hard for them to stay motivated. Appreciation can be anything from a simple gesture you make to offering tangible benefits like a bonus or a vacation. Decide which is in demand and act on it.

Type 2: Questions that discuss what is in it for them in the long run.

  1. Do you feel like you’re progressing professionally at this organization?
  2. Where do you see yourself in one year?
  3. What types of training or development interests you most?
  4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank the long-term career opportunities at this company?
  5. How challenged do you feel in your current role?

What it will tell you: Discuss with your employees the scope of their career growth. Often it is the case that those who cannot envision a career advancement with your company are the ones that seek out organizations, that will accommodate their growth. Monitor how optimistic they are about their future with the company, with questions such as these.

While most employees would welcome a challenging role or project, ensure that you are not forcing them down a path that they don’t want to go down to. We’ve all heard of developers turned creatives or the accountant who took up coding. Assist them to explore their career interests and they’ll prove to be precious resources.

Type 3: Questions that reveal if your organizational goals are popular

  1. How important do you feel your work is to the success of the company?
  2. How transparent are we when it comes to the company’s performance?
  3. Do you know what you should do to help the company meet its goals and objectives?
  4. Can you see a clear link between your work and the company’s goals and objectives?
  5. Do you have the appropriate amount of information to make the correct decisions about your work?
  6. Do you have a good understanding of the informal structures and processes in the organization?

What it will tell you: Stating the obvious here, but it’s a fact that employees are more engaged when they understand how their work fits into the overall objectives of the organization. To succeed in their job, it is imperative that employees understand how they fit within the organization.

Questions such as these enable you to optimize your employee pulse surveys and check if your employees have a firm grasp of what is happening inside. Transparency, whenever possible, is indeed the best policy to have. It nurtures trust among the stakeholders and employees alike.

Employee pulse surveys - "Transparency, wherever possible, is indeed the best policy to have!"

Type 4: Questions that will find out if your company culture is as good as you hope.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how prominent is office politics in this workplace?
  2. What two words would you use to describe our workplace’s vibe?
  3. How well does leadership respond to internal issues?
  4. How comfortable are you speaking up about problems?
  5. What is that one word which describes our culture?
  6. On a scale of 1 to 10, how good is your direct supervisor at recognizing your contributions at work?

What it will tell you: Chances are, you’ll be surprised to learn about what your employees think of your work culture. Work culture goes above and beyond just maintaining a civil relationship with your colleagues. While bad morale can be the wildfire that breaks your company, goodwill is the slower but effective antidote that can do wonders to your balance sheet. After all, isn’t a happy workplace worth all the lengths you went to make it so?

Type 5: Questions that ask how invested your employees are in their jobs.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you recommend this company to your friends and acquaintance?
  2. Can you see yourself still working with this company in another two years?
  3. Do you believe that there are ample career opportunities for you in this company?

What it will tell you: These questions will analyze the commitment your employees have towards the company. It will help you assess these factors: their belief in your core values, their pride in working for your firm and faith in the company mission.

A positive answer can assert that your employees are more brand ambassadors than merely paid resources for your company. If the findings of your employee pulse surveys confirm that your employees can’t see where they are going, it’s high time you take note of the alarm bells and change your approach.

Type 6: Leave it to your employees.

  1. Is there something else you think we should have asked you in this survey?
  2. Is there any occasion when you’ve felt that employees aren’t informed about what is happening and are kept in the dark?

Employee pulse surveys: "Surveys help you discover what your employees wish they could tell you."
The suggestions they come up with can be eye-openers or illuminate what you’ve been ignorant of for long. At the very least, you’ll get a couple more interesting questions that deserve a place in your next survey.

What it will tell you: Are there strong working relationships between employees and managers in your workplace? How open is the company culture? What is it that your employees wish they could have told you?

It totally pays off to get a pulse of your team. Especially when you take into consideration the low morale and high turnover that you risk otherwise. Remember, cool new machine-learning algorithms to analyze employee engagement come and go, but employee pulse surveys remain the best solution to shed light on employee engagement.

Related: The 7 benefits of employee pulse surveys

Why Employee Pulse Surveys are Only as Good as the Questions in Them

I’ve sat through my fair share of surveys that made me want to jump off a cliff. Melodrama aside, I believe that surveys are only as good as the questions in it.

While there are certainly no rules about what you should ask, we can all agree that the questions should depend entirely on your goals. Ideally, they should neatly align with what you are trying to find out without manipulating the questions in any way.

Employee pulse survey questions - "Surveys are only as good as the questions in it."

While we are at it, do keep in mind that your survey questions are contextualized. Your respondents’ understanding of what the question intends and your expectation should be on the same page.

Consider anchoring your questions around a specific time period like ‘last quarter’ or ‘last month’ so that the answers make sense. For example, If your employee is answering about the appraisal meeting that happened a year ago while you want to measure how the team building went in the last quarter, the data can go horribly skewed.

To streamline the process, consider using an employee pulse survey platform like SurveySparrow. That will help you automate mundane tasks and report generation: the two major pain points of surveys.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have a crystal clear picture of what sort of questions should go into your employee pulse surveys, you are good to go. What’s more, we’re giving you an Employee Pulse Survey template to help you get started. You can create a free account to start using it and more features.

Clare Zacharias

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow.

A sort of Jill-of-all-trades! Enchanted with storytelling, fascinated with startup life.

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