Why more and more HR managers are switching to short pulse surveys instead of an annual employee satisfaction survey

by Danique Geskus | Sep 29, 2023

In the world of Employee Satisfaction Surveys, the annual survey is a common approach. IWhile it may seem useful at first glance, annual frequency also has some drawbacks. Outdated data, lack of real-time insights and missed opportunities for continuous improvement are just some of the challenges organizations may experience when using an annual employee satisfaction survey. In this article, we explore these drawbacks and examine alternative approaches to conducting effective employee surveys including the increasingly popular pulse surveys.

  1. Outdated data: Since an annual employee satisfaction survey is conducted only once a year, the data collected can quickly become outdated. Work environments and employee satisfaction may change during the year, so the results may not be fully accurate or representative at the time of analysis and action.
  2. Lack of real-time insights: The limited frequency of an annual employee satisfaction survey prevents organizations from gaining real-time insights into employee satisfaction and engagement. This can limit the ability to respond quickly to problems or opportunities.
  3. Missed opportunities for continuous improvement: An annual employee satisfaction survey can make it more difficult to foster a culture of continuous improvement. It can result in a longer time lag between identifying problems and implementing improvement measures, which can lead to missed opportunities for rapid and effective interventions. For example, it does not provide the opportunity to quickly measure the impact of an HR project. After all, with an annual frequency, you only measure the effects of HR projects after a year.

It is important to carefully consider the frequency and timing of the employee satisfaction survey or pulse survey and, if necessary, adapt it to the specific needs and dynamics of the organization.


Learned: software for employee satisfaction surveys and short pulse surveys

At Learned, we have developed a new methodology to achieve higher participation rates and gain real-time insight into employee engagement. We do this with a combination of an employee satisfaction survey and pulse surveys.


The methodology for a modern employee satisfaction survey

Instead of an annual employee satisfaction survey, we recommend that organizations start with a baseline measurement, followed by ongoing pulse surveys.

    • Zero measurement: This is a one-time questionnaire with questions about all the themes you want to measure, similar to a traditional employee satisfaction survey. You can choose to include all themes or select the most important themes, depending on the goal you want to achieve. This way, you also ensure that employees spend less time filling out the questionnaire.
    • Ongoing pulse surveys: After the baseline measurement, the process is followed by ongoing pulse surveys. These are short surveys with usually a weekly frequency, where employees complete only one or a few questions at a time. The questions rotate across different topics and per employee.

This approach gives your organization quick insight into the status of key drivers of employee engagement. Moreover, it provides real-time insight into the impact of your HR projects to improve employee engagement. The short and frequent nature of the surveys prevents survey fatigue and ensures a high participation rate.

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