When employees work remotely, it’s hard to know how employees are feeling. The lack of communication and clarity can slow down progress and the risk of getting disconnected employees is real.
By regularly conducting Remote Employee Pulse Surveys, managers and HR professionals can determine how engaged, aligned, and motivated employees are. It will help you to make better decisions.
At Springworks, we regularly conduct remote employee pulse surveys to understand how our employees are feeling and coping. And today, we’re going to share our experience.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is a remote employee pulse survey?
- What benefits of remote employee pulse surveys?
- How do we set up a Remote Employee Pulse Survey (best practices)?
- Employee pulse survey questions for remote teams (Examples from our survey)
- What to do after getting pulse survey responses
- Free Template: Our Remote Employees Pulse Surveys
What Is a Remote Employee Pulse Survey?
A Remote Employee Pulse Survey is a short and quick survey (5 to 15 questions) that tracks how remote employees feel. It’s replacing the traditional long surveys that employees procrastinate to fill.
This pulse survey can focus on different aspects of remote work, such as communication, happiness, motivation, relationships, employee satisfaction, and engagement.
The survey results will help you to act quickly and make better decisions. Pulse surveys give Springworks frequent and timely feedback. It gives us the pulse of our company’s health.
Why conduct pulse surveys? In the next section, you’ll find the benefits of these pulse surveys. Let’s go:
Benefits of Remote Employee Pulse Surveys
We have conducted a number of pulse surveys and experienced some positive changes. Here are some benefits:
1. It Improves Employee Engagement
When we decided to go completely remotely, it was complicated to keep every employee and team engaged when working from home. They may feel disconnected from what’s going on in the company. But asking our team for feedback regularly increased employee engagement.
Employees suggest us some innovative ideas and share their feedback freely. We take action based on their feedback.
2. It Improves Our Company Culture
One of the biggest challenges was: How can we build and maintain a culture when our employees are working from home?
Pulse surveys help us to build and grow our company culture. As I mentioned above, we make decisions based on employees’ anonymous feedback and it allows us to make a healthy and positive remote work culture.
People mention our company culture in their Glassdoor review. Check out here.
3. It Has Higher Response Rate
Unlike traditional surveys, pulse surveys are short, simple, and quick to complete. It allows employees to give their honest feedback in a few minutes.
We receive feedback in real-time on the team’s health and take the right action. At Springworks, we follow this system: Survey > Response > Action.
4. It Encourages Open Communication
When you conduct pulse surveys frequently (and act), employees feel they’re an important part of the company. And it promotes a more open culture. And they will provide you insights, thoughts, challenges, and ideas that you cannot guess.
5. It Makes Employees Feel Valued
At Springworks, employees and managers share close relationships. They can share and discuss anything openly. Thanks to Pulse Surveys.
By sending the pulse surveys, employees feel like you want to listen to them and their opinion is important. It will improve their productivity, happiness, morale, and engagement.
Let’s move on to the next section.
Recommended Resource: HR Survey Templates
How Do We Set up a Remote Employee Pulse Survey (Best Practices)?
Here are some pulse survey best practices. At Springworks, we follow the OTQSTC formula.
Let’s talk about these elements:
Before creating a remote employee pulse survey, we define our objective first. We ask these two questions: Why we’re doing this survey and what we’re looking to learn.
Before typing your questions, pick a theme or area of focus, and stick to it. Perhaps it’s to determine their level of engagement and connection while working from home or even their readiness to return to the office.
You can quickly push out and collect data with pulse surveys due to their short nature that centers around one main theme.
Now it’s time to create and find the right questions. Think about mixing the different styles of questions. It will make your survey exciting and improve the response rate.
Consider these styles of questions:
- Multiple choice questions.
- Open-ended questions.
- 1-10 scale questions.
- Boolean questions (“Yes” or “No” response)
Make sure your survey is as simple as possible to answer. Use clear and friendly language. Choose a channel or platform they already know well, such as JotForm Survey Maker, Google Form, or Typeform.
The main reason remote employee pulse surveys work is that they are short and quick to answer.
Studies have found that employees are much more likely to fill out shorter surveys that require a small time commitment on their side.
Just focus on what is most important for remote teams and create your survey around that.
It’s crucial that you communicate with your employees and clearly explain your idea to them. Communicate the purpose of your survey with your workforce – Why they should participate and what’s in it for them.
Employee Pulse Survey Question Types (Examples from Our Survey)
Survey Theme for Example: Checking in with your remote teams
Multiple choice questions:
“Since the time we went on a mandatory WFH, did you miss coming to the office?”
“Now that we have been working from home, what are your thoughts on WFH?”
Purpose: This will tell you whether your employees enjoy working from home or miss coming to the office.
1-10 scale questions:
“How has your productivity changed since we started WFH? (On a scale of 1 to 10).”
“Do you think your workload has increased or decreased since we went to mandatory WFH?”
Purpose: This will allow you to check whether employees feel stressed or productive. Their working hours may be too long or the working culture too demanding.
“Are there any challenges to your productivity when you’re working from home?”
“If we had to offer a perk, what would you prefer?”
Purpose: This will tell you whether your employees are productive in their job and what they need to do your job more effectively.
“Are you satisfied with the activities being done to bring the team together?”
“If we do a mental wellbeing webinar + a program by a professional organization, would you be interested to participate?”
Purpose: It will tell you if your employees are enjoying fun and personal development activities or not.
What to Do After Getting Pulse Survey Responses
Here are two actions that we take after getting pulse survey responses:
Act on answers: After collecting data, we analyze it and act accordingly. If you take no action, it will fuel distrust and discontent among your employees. Why would your employees take the time to respond to surveys if they didn’t notice any real changes?
Share the results: If the data is not confidential, it’s a great idea to share the results with the organization and your audience.
How to Share Employees Pulse Survey Results
Use the following tips on how to communicate employee pulse survey results effectively:
1. Thank employees for participating
Who: From senior leadership and HR to all employees.
What: Keep employees involved in the results rollout process by sending a simple thank you email as soon as the survey closes.
Your email should:
- Confirm the survey close
- Thank employees for participating
- Mention the percentage of employees who participated
- Outline the next steps in the process
This shows employees that their feedback is valued and prioritized, which is essential to getting honest, thoughtful survey responses in the future.
When: Immediately following the survey close.
Why: This step is simple but important. This is a great opportunity for positive communication that kicks off the results-sharing process.
2. Company-wide announcement
Who: From senior leadership to all employees.
What: Give a summary of results in an all-hands meeting or an organization-wide communication. Then, make the summary report accessible to all employees, letting them read the results at their own discretion.
Here are some of the key messages to share:
- Start with the objective
- Overview of key findings
- Provide the description of focus areas
- Review roadmap
When: Once the team prepares a summary for employees (within one week of survey close).
Why: Let your people know what you learned from the survey data to affirm that you paid attention to their feedback and understand their current perceptions of the workplace.
3. Analyze results with leaders
Who: Managers and HR
What: The managers and team leaders must be well informed about the results’ insights. This is best done in a presentation format that encourages open dialogue.
The presentation should include:
- Overall engagement score
- Emerging strengths and opportunities
- Compare results to previous survey efforts
- Summarize constructive comments received via the survey
- Outline next action plan
This way, you will be able to dig into the survey results in greater depth and identify key takeaways.
When: 2-3 weeks after the survey closes.
Why: Analyzing the result with leaders enables you to take the right actions for the betterment of the team.
4. Share specific results with teams
Who: Managers and their teams
What: This step involves a more specific message tailored to the concerns of each team.
- Managers should share results with teams using the methods that they know to be most effective for their team.
- Help the team understand how their feedback is similar or different from the rest of the organization.
- Clearly define what is being improved and how. Define the process and end goals.
Share the results openly and let team members formulate their own conclusions.
When: 1 month after the survey results have been announced.
Why: The team will be naturally curious about how their team compares and whether any specific implications will impact them.
5. Connect survey results to business outcomes
Who: From senior leaders to all employees
What: At each stage in the communication of survey results, try to link your findings to business objectives. Connect the results to operational considerations, organizational goals, and key results.
Using your data in compelling stories that explain findings makes the process more relatable for employees. Highlight the most important action plans and how improvements will impact them and the organization.
When: 1 month after the survey closes.
Why: This way, employees will feel that pulse surveys are relevant rather than a check-the-box activity.
Our Remote Employees Pulse Survey Template for Free
Copy this template to your Google Drive and customize it for your own organization. Reuse the template immediately for your next Remote Employee Pulse Survey.
Employee Survey Questions
Asking the right questions can help you break through issues and better support your team. Here are 55 great employee survey questions that you can use in your next pulse survey.
1. What’s your favorite part about working remotely?
2. What’s most challenging for you in your daily work routine?
3. What’s your home office setup like for working?
4. What’s one thing we could get for you that would make your remote work easier or better?
5. Do you think you can fully disconnect at the end of the day or when you’re on vacation? What helps you do so?
6. Have you interviewed for another job in the past two months? (Yes/No) If you did, please explain why.
7. Did we help you to accomplish any of your career goals in the last six months? If so, please write them down.
8. Would you like to learn any additional skills? If yes, please name at least three skills and explain why they’re important for your career.
9. On a scale of 1 to 10, how challenged are you on a daily basis at work?
10. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your work-life balance?
11. Do you think our organization supports you in your professional development? Please explain why?
12. Do you feel like you’re progressing professionally at this organization? Please explain what moving you forward or holding you back.
13. I am satisfied that I have the opportunity to apply my talents and expertise:
A. Strongly Disagree
D. Strongly Agree
14. Are you pleased with the career advancement opportunities available to you?
15. Are you happy with your current duties and responsibilities? Or would you like to change?
16. If you were to leave this organization today, what would the reasons be?
17. How motivated are you to see the company’s growth? (on a scale of 1 to 10)
18. How transparent are we when it comes to the company’s performance? (on a scale of 1 to 10)
19. Name one (or more) activities or practices you’d like to see us continue doing here?
20. Are you proud to work here? (Yes/No) and why?
21. Are you satisfied with the company culture? (Yes/No) and why?
22. What would make this company a better place to work?
23. Would you recommend your friend to work here?
24. Do you feel like your voice is heard at this company? (Yes/No)
25. What else can we do to improve our company culture?
26. How well do you feel you know your coworkers? (on a scale of 1 to 10)
27. Do you feel supported by the team so that you can go to anyone asking them for help? (Yes/No)
28. When you had a doubt, how quickly were you able to get a hold of a person to clarify?
- Less than 5 minutes
- 5 to 15 min
- 15 to 30 min
- More than 30 Min
29. Are you satisfied with the activities being done to bring the team together? Do you have any other ideas?
30. How has your feeling of being part of a company/team changed over the last few months? What makes you feel connected/disconnected?
31. On a scale of 1 to 10, how good is your manager at recognizing your contributions at work?
32. Do you think your manager cares about you as a person? (Yes/No) and Why?
33. Does your manager effectively communicate the information you need to understand a particular task/project?
34. Is your manager responsive to your ideas, requests, and suggestions?
35. Does your manager have the expertise and ability to help you and your team succeed? Please explain.
Recommended Read: 50 Management Survey Questions For Effective Managers
36. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much respect do your coworkers show with each other?
37. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your onboarding experience. Please explain.
38. Do you have the resources/tools you need to do your job efficiently?
39. My organization has a safe work environment:
A. Strongly Disagree
D. Strongly Agree
40. What do you think is the organization’s biggest strength?
41. Are you happy with your compensation and benefits? (Yes/No) and Why?
42. Do you look forward to coming to work each morning?
43. On a scale of 1-10 how happy and satisfied are you with the organization?
44. Does company take care of your wellness?
45. Do you feel a sense of accomplishment from what you do?
Diversity and Inclusion
46. Do you feel that you can voice an opposing view or argument without fear?
47. I am comfortable talking about my background and cultural experiences with my colleagues. (on a scale of 1 to 10)
48. Organization publicly communicates information about its diversity goals. (on a scale of 1 to 10)
49. Our organization is committed to diversity and inclusion:
A. Strongly Disagree
D. Strongly Agree
50. Racial, ethnic, and gender-based jokes are not tolerated at this firm. (on a scale of 1 to 10)
51. How do you prefer to receive feedback?
52. Do you feel you’re getting enough feedback? Why/why not?
53. What’s an area of your work you want to improve?
54. How many hours a day do you feel you’re productive? How could we help you be more productive?
55. Does your direct manager value your opinions?
Other questions to ask remote employees in a survey:
56. Are the remote work policies clear?
57. What communication channels work best for you?
58. Do you have all the remote tools you need to complete your work to your usual ability? If not, what do you need?
59. What can leadership do to support your work while you work from home?
60. Is it easy to “turn off work mode” at the end of the day?
Pulse Survey Checklist
You can use pulse surveys for a variety of situations and scenarios. With so many factors to consider, building the right survey isn’t always easy. This quick checklist will help you paint a clear picture for creating, executing, and following up on your next pulse survey.
- Identify the purpose of the survey
- Determine what information you need
- Ask yourself if you can collect this info without a survey
- Determine what you want to measure
- Decide how you will measure it
- Establish how the results will be used
- Choose your survey open date
- Choose your survey close date
- Determine your capacity to act on new feedback
- Take note of the last time you surveyed this audience
Construct Impactful Survey Questions
- My survey has 5-10 questions
- My questions are simple and void of jargon
- The tone of my questions is positive
- Each survey question is asking about something specific
- My responses align with my survey questions
- All participants involved will be able to respond
- Connect with senior leadership to create a plan
- Develop your key message or a brief description of the survey
- Have leaders and managers communicate that there is a survey coming and why
- Create an employee communication plan to share results, conclusions, and next steps
- Send an email (or another type of communication) to communicate the purpose of the survey to respondents
Survey Follow up
- Identify where you need to improve
- Source employee feedback regarding changes or decisions to be made
- Break up bigger initiatives into smaller steps
- Assign ownership of tasks
- Create a plan to check-in
- Evaluate current progress
Gathering this feedback isn’t always easy, but with this checklist in your back pocket, employees will feel like their opinion counts and that you care about their future in your organization.
Pulse Survey FAQs
1. What is an employee pulse?
Employee pulse is a short, frequent survey that measures a particular metric. In simple terms, it checks the organization’s health- thus, it is called ‘pulse.’
It replaces long format, complicated questions and is purposefully designed to gain insight weekly or monthly instead of the traditional annual surveys. Therefore it is an employee pulse if:
- It is Short: They have 5-6 questions that are easy to complete.
- Frequent: This mini-survey will pop up once or twice a month. Thus, it is more frequent than traditional yearly employee engagement surveys or feedback sessions.
- Measures Metric: It usually aims to measure a quantifiable metric over a period of time. (e.g., measuring the effectiveness of the team in April).
2. How does the employee pulse survey help?
- Action: Employee pulse surveys provide insights that can benefit employee engagement, increase team building and improve the overall organizational climate. Thus, it seeps into the roots of the company culture and helps strengthen it. Pulses assure data that allows actions with 10x returns.
- Frequency: Pulses are your answer to capture an employee’s mood as and when you want. This helps combat the recency effect by capturing the mood of employees whenever required rather than the bi-yearly regular engagement surveys.
- Metric: Pulses are an effective way to measure specific necessary measures, which as Team Building, Leadership, Organizational climate, or asking fun ad-hoc questions such as ‘what do you think should be the company theme song?’ or ‘If you could get a new skill in 10 minutes, what would it be?’ to boost conversations. Employee Pulse should be the beginning of conversations, not the end of them. Each metric is crafted to be measurable and trackable to understand organizational trends. This can be a big win for effective strategy building and planning.
Pulsing → Evaluation → Actionable metrics → Changes → Feedback.
- Engagement: Employee pulsing helps increase engagement by boosting overall productivity, well-being, and mood. Moreover, Employee pulse can help managers check-in employee moods, attitudes and set up 1:1 meetings when needed. Use employee engagement apps and tools to create a positive office culture. How does this engagement help you? The equation is:
more engagement= more voluntary involvement= more productivity= better results.
- Anonymity: Anonymity can be a compelling feature if wielded well. When you know someone has the power to make or break your career, you will avoid offending them. In that case, anonymous pulses can help capture honest answers without any disguise. But as a manager, it’s your responsibility to focus on the ‘what’ and not ‘who.’ What could work is simple- strong opinions, loosely held.
- Scaling: One of the biggest pluses of Employee pulses is its flexibility in scaling. Instead of an inelastic, long traditional survey, pulses are short and allow you the liberty to choose your own scale. EngageWith allows 4 types of Scaling- Binary (Yes/No), Rating (1-10, Likert scale), MCQ or Open text. Thus, managers are allowed customization and in-depth insights from responses.
No matter how well designed, an organization is only as good as the people who live and breathe in it. To win in the marketplace, you must win at the workplace. Employee Pulse is a step towards it.
3. Can employee pulse surveys replace traditional engagement surveys?
Not particularly-Employee Pulse surveys don’t replace traditional engagement surveys but instead help gain data on a real-time, regular basis rather than a once-in-a-year way. Thus, they act as validation to the primary employee engagement survey.
4. What is the response rate that I can expect?
One of the most significant advantages Employee Pulses gives is its response rate. In addition, it arguably has a better response rate than a traditional survey because of its shorter format and customization.
This allows managers and HR to capture real-time data and better insight into training, initiatives, culture, and overall processes.
5. How frequently do I send the pulse survey?
We recommend sending pulse every 2 weeks to track data and gain real-time results. Thus, in a month, the team would have results on at least two metrics or initiatives.
This can help the organization implement the necessary changes or bring in training at the nascent stage to avoid any further conflicts and increase team building.
Additionally, its customizable features save the effort of personally DM’ing the team or the entire company for any suggestions/ views or feedback when it comes to remote working.
EngageWith allows more data in less time as employee pulse are individually received by the whole company or team. Thus, the frequency is flexible according to your needs.
6. What response rates would be expected?
Typically, most pulse surveys enjoy a 90-100% response rate. This depends on the situation, but to ensure a higher response rate:
Why the survey (objectives), what would be achieved (end goal), and how the feedback/ responses would be used (process) should be mentioned clearly.
7. Is the pulse survey customizable?
Absolutely, a customizable pulse survey allows more flexibility in terms of the data. EngageWith allows questions to be picked from a library of pre-made, research-backed questionnaires.
It also has an ad-hoc questionnaire for fun, playful questions about the organization. Furthermore, it also allows customization, which is allowable without additional costs or setup.
BONUS: Make or Break Features in Employee Pulse Surveys
Anonymous or Non-Anonymous
Ideally, the product should have both features. However, the feature of anonymity would be particularly great while collecting feedback on culture or any data of sensitive nature (e.g., responses on important metrics about Diversity/ Inclusivity or leadership are preferred to be anonymous).
If the pulse survey does not have an anonymity option, it could result in higher dropout rates, which would be an organizational loss.
Comprehensive, easy-to-read reports
Survey screens are easy, but if the nature of reports is too lengthy, technical, or complicated to asses, it would be chaotic.
EngageWith gives accessible, comprehensible data within minutes, which can be converted into different formats, so it’s easy to work with and share.
When it comes to sensitive data, especially employee information, culture, feedback, etc., security and encryption are extremely essential.
When choosing the right survey for your organization, security and protecting information should be non-negotiable. EngageWith encrypts data using SCRUM_SHA_256. This ensures thorough data protection and integrity.
The interface may not seem like a make-or-break feature at a micro level. But, if observed closely, a poor interface can reduce the response rate and increase the time per survey.
For example, if a poor interface increases the time per survey from 2 minutes to 4 minutes, and the company deploys 2 surveys a month, it means a loss of 8 minutes. On the other hand, if the company has 100 employees, a 2-minute survey, and works for a week, it would mean 23 hours.
But, if they fill out a 5-minute survey and work for a week, it would mean 58.3 hours. So the loss of time is almost 35 hours, which is approximately a loss of 1 and a half days.
Additional features such as peer-to-peer recognition, 1 v 1 meetings, etc., can be a massive plus in the later data. EngageWith has an employee pulse survey tool, Rewards, and Recognition (shoutouts and kudos, to recognize employees daily for their work, contribution, etc., and boost productivity and morale).
Additionally, EngageWith has been working on 1 v 1 meetings, OKR’s, 360 Reviews, etc. Thus, it’s an all-in-one package for the organization.
Pulse surveys tracks how remote employees are feeling. These surveys will help you to take better decisions and improve employee engagement.
We recommend keeping these surveys open for 5 business days. This shorter response window provides you with valuable, real-time insight.
Yes! It will empower managers to understand and help their teams.
Here’s a remote employee pulse survey template where you can find some employee engagement questions that you can include in your next surveys.
Here are some tips:
– Make it convenient for your employees to give feedback. Make surveys mobile friendly.
– All survey results should be completely anonymous
– Don’t include more than 15 questions.
– Give them around 3-5 days to fill the surveys.
Trivia (play virtual games and quizzes) and EngageWith (employee recognition and reward platform) will help you to improve engagement and build a strong remote team culture.
Staying connected and aligned with your remote teams is very important. Knowing how your employees are doing and ensuring people stay motivated and productive is very much doable. Remote Employee Pulse Surveys are great way to do that.
Do you conduct pulse surveys at your company? Or thinking about it? Please drop your views here.
Originally published July 14, 2020 12:23 PM, last updated Nov 30 2022