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By: Kayla Bell on February 25th, 2022

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Pulse Surveys Can Give You a Feel for Employee Engagement

COVID-19 | Employee Engagement

During the pandemic, you probably saw how your employee engagement can be volatile and unpredictable. According to the polling firm Gallup, average engagement levels in the U.S. soared to an all-time high in May 2020, after the first wave of shelter-in-place orders. Just one month later, engagement had plummeted to an all-time low.

Internal and external factors can have sudden and surprising effects on employee wellbeing and engagement. If you're relying on annual engagement surveys, then you might not identify these fluctuations until it's too late. 

That's why it's important to perform regular pulse surveys. A pulse survey is a short, focused set of questions that allow you to monitor employee engagement levels. It's a great way of keeping your finger on the pulse – hence the name.  

Download Employee Engagement Survey Questions

How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Pulse Survey

Pulse surveys are short, focused questionnaires that give you a rough idea of how things are going. They're not as detailed as annual employee engagement surveys, so you won't get a precise picture of your team's current state. However, if you ask the right questions, you can identify emerging problems and take corrective action.

When conducting a pulse survey during the pandemic:

1. Use the right platform

Several digital survey platforms will allow you to create pulse surveys. These tools will allow you to set up your questionnaire in a few clicks, and employees can respond online. A good platform will offer real-time results and insightful visualization.

One such platform is the Helios HR Employee Engagement Survey Tool, which mixes live data and historical trends into a single dashboard. Using a tool like this, you can easily see whether engagement levels are heading in the right direction.

2. Limit the number of questions

Surveys are always a trade-off between detail and engagement. Too few questions and you won't get enough useful data. Too many questions and people won't make it to the end. Pulse surveys should be fast and focused.

Typically, you might include 10-15 questions in your survey. Respondents should be able to complete the whole thing in under 5 minutes, which will help maximize engagement. If you pick the right questions, the survey will provide sufficient detail.

4. Focus on what's changed recently

Your team has probably seen lots of changes recently, including a switch to remote or hybrid work

You can track the impact of these changes by asking questions like:

  • Do you feel safe in your work environment?
  • Has remote working affected your productivity?
  • Has your work-life balance improved?
  • Has the pandemic affected your sense of job security?
  • Do you feel your employer has responded well to coronavirus?
  • Has your workload increased recently?
  • Do you feel valued as an employee?
  • Does remote work make you feel disconnected from your colleagues?
  • Are you comfortable with new essential technologies, such as Zoom or cloud platforms?

If you're struggling to think of questions, reach out to your team and ask them what's on their mind. You'll soon see common themes, such as their thoughts about remote work, or their concerns about job security. Use these themes to compile survey questions that address the most important factors in the employee experience.

Recommended Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Maximizing Employee Engagement

How do you respond to a pulse survey?

Often, your pulse survey question results will show you that there are no major changes, and it's business as usual for you team. 

But sometimes you may get results that cause concern. If there's been a lot of change within the company or in the outside world, that is likely to have a knock-on effect on employee engagement

Here are a few steps to help deal with challenging feedback:

Listen and engage

If employee engagement has taken a hit, then the first step is to try to rekindle team spirit. You do this by listening to people, validating their concerns, and collaborating on plans to move forward. Team meetings are more important than ever, as these give colleagues a chance to motivate each other.

Encourage and inform

A fall in employee engagement is often a sign that your communication methods aren't working. People may feel confused about priorities, or worried about recent changes. As a leader, your first priority is to win back their confidence. Tell the truth, review your communication methods, and establish yourself as a reliable source of information. If your people trust you, they're more likely to commit to the team effort.

Diagnose and resolve

You may have some structural or technical issues that are causing engagement issues. For example, if your team suddenly switched to remote working, they probably faced issues like:

  • Slow broadband connections
  • Problems accessing cloud services
  • Communication breakdowns when dealing with other remote workers
  • Issues trying to balance commitments like childcare with working from home

Any of these problems can drag down employee engagement. This is time for leaders to act as trouble-shooters, so find whatever is slowing your people down and help them fix it.

Return to your values

People want to feel like their job matters, but that's not always clear, especially for remote workers.When people are doing mundane tasks from home, they're more likely to ask, why am I doing this? Who am I helping? If they don't know, they're likely to disengage. 

So, why are they doing their job? Who is your company helping? Take a moment to start a company-wide conversation about your company's values and objectives. How do you live your values each day?

When people see how their work contributes to the mission, they will become more engaged than ever.

Taking employee engagement to the next level

Pulse surveys have always been a useful HR tool, even before the pandemic. They're a quick and easy way to give your team a voice, and they allow you to identify minor issues before they grow into big problems. They're also an excellent way to measure employee engagement, which greatly impacts productivity and retention.

If you're interested in the Helios HR Employee Engagement Survey Tool, or you'd like to talk to us about strengthening employee engagement, set up a no-obligation consultation call today.

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