Do More than Combat Survey Fatigue with Employee Pulse Surveys

Understanding employee perception and experience is fundamental to improving and maintaining a strong and positive workplace culture. Surveys have to deliver value to both the organization and the employee – unfortunately, this is harder than it seems. We’ll show you how to maximize your employee pulse survey by linking it with your mandatory training initiatives.  

What are employee pulse surveys?

Employee pulse surveys differ from traditional engagement surveys in that they are shorter, measure more specific things, and are often sent to a subset of the employee population. Usually, but not always, pulse surveys track and monitor the same question over time, for example, How likely are you to recommend [your company] as a great place to work?   

Pulse surveys can range from just a few questions to up to 20. In this way, employers “pulse” their employees’ thoughts and feelings on a specific issue in real time. Also, you will likely get more reliable feedback when employee pulse surveys are confidential because employees feel free to share honestly without fear of retaliation or judgment. Results are typically reported for a minimum of 5-10 people per group or category to protect personal identities. 

Why are employee pulse surveys so impactful?

Unlike annual or bi-annual engagement surveys, employee pulse surveys are conducted more frequently. There are many benefits to using pulse surveys, including enabling organizations to stay connected enough to identify potential issues before they arise and thus manage employee relations-related risks. Real-time feedback allows companies to address concerns more quickly and make more informed decisions. Pulsing enables a more proactive and adaptive response;  the more frequent the pulse, the more agile the organization can respond to emerging issues. Pulsing also reduces survey fatigue. As a result, companies may see higher completion rates with pulse surveys than with longer employee engagement surveys. 

What are the cons of employee pulse surveys?

Some challenges with surveys in general, including pulse surveys, are getting enough people to respond, topic sensitivity, survey fatigue, and skepticism. Leaders face additional difficulties with information overload and the cost of administration. That said, an innovative approach to pulse surveys is delivering a pulse survey within a learning experience. 

Link your pulse survey with training and learning initiatives.

Another way to get a pulse of your employee’s perception is by combining pulse surveys with your learning and training strategy. 

How Emtrain delivers training while gathering employee perception data:

  1. We show a video of a specific scenario in the workplace 
  2. We ask a question or two to understand how these situations are addressed in your company and what your employee’s experiences are related to the topic (this is where we get the sentiment data.) 
  3. Then, the employee’s answers are collectively benchmarked against our global database. 

Emtrain courses and microlessons provide opportunities to maximize your HR operations programs’ efficiency and functionality by embedding survey questions typically asked in Employee Engagement surveys within employee learning experiences. Combining these common HR workstreams reduces employers’ and employees’ costs and effort. State-mandated training such as Preventing Workplace Harassment course has embedded employee sentiment surveys within it so you can get a pulse of how people in the workplace are experiencing situations related to allyship, healthy and unhealthy team dynamics, bias, respect, and more. This method of survey deployment yields highly reliable results because response rates for mandatory trainings are guaranteed to be 100%.  

Learn more about how to get valuable feedback and employee perception through training programs by contacting us today



Pecoraro, J. (2012). Survey fatigue. Quality Progress, 45(10), 87.

Sinickas, A. (2007). Finding a cure for survey fatigue. Strategic Communication Management, 11(2), 11.

employee pulse surveyemployee sentiment data
Leann Kang Pereira Ed.D.
Organizational Psychologist
Senior Director of People and Learning Sciences
View bio

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