Pulse Surveys


A pulse survey is an attempt to interview a representative sample of staff to obtain data about specific issues of interest in the quickest possible time. A pulse survey is an extremely valuable instrument for a manager or HR business partner. Typically a pulse survey assesses three main things:
  • Staff opinions about recent
  • System or process changes;
  • Staff mindsets or myths about important issues; and staff perceptions of recent initiatives.
Pulse surveys differ from more traditional employee opinion surveys in the following ways:
  • Only 20 – 50 employees are interviewed to improve turnaround time
  • Participants are trained
  • Participants are asked to speak on behalf of a group of staff that they represent, not just themselves
  • The same sample of participants are interviewed over time to help identify trends
  • Surveys are conducted face-to-face or via telephone
  • Questions are a mixture of predetermined and opportunistic probing questions.

The outputs will depend on the specific purpose for each survey but will typically include:
  • Qualitative or quantitative responses about the issues that were being explored
  • Identification of the dominant mythologies or mindsets of the workforce
  • Collation of any suggestions for improvement


One of the biggest myths perpetrated by consultants in business today is that the only way to conduct an objective assessment of staff is to survey everyone. While a large-scale EOS can be a critical management tool, such a process can also have significant draw-backs:
  • Slow turnaround
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