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A pulse survey is typically a type of survey given to employees of a company to better gauge and evaluate employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall attitude. These types of surveys are often given once or twice a year, on a regularly scheduled basis, and may be given to all employees and then broken down into specific departments or categories later. They are often kept confidential so employees can be open and honest with their answers, and are usually designed and evaluated by an outside company. A pulse survey is intended to allow management at varying levels to get a sense of the “health” of the company regarding the employees working within it.
The name “pulse survey” is based on an analogy between this type of survey and medical devices that electronically monitor the heart beat, or pulse, of a person. As those devices monitor a person’s pulse and display the information graphically, these surveys are intended to allow the managers of a company to monitor the “heart beat” of the company itself. The primary focus and intention of a pulse survey is typically to indicate and provide evaluation regarding employee issues such as job satisfaction, support from supervisors, work environment, and pay satisfaction.
A pulse survey is usually designed by a company other than the one for which it is being provided. Much like other forms of corporate testing and employee evaluation, these surveys are usually designed by professional psychologists and other professionals who study human behavior. The questions on this type of survey can vary greatly and may be open questions an employee can answer freely, multiple choice questions, or use a ratings scale. A pulse survey that uses a ratings scale, for example, will typically include statements such as “I feel my supervisors listen to me,” with possible responses like “Strongly Agree,” “Agree,” “Disagree,” and “Strongly Disagree.”
The employee will read the statements on the pulse survey and then choose the response that best fits his or her own feelings or attitudes. This type of survey will likely include dozens of questions regarding various aspects of the workplace, and the responses are then entered into a computer. A visual representation of employee satisfaction regarding different issues can then be created, which resembles the peaks or flat lines of a medical pulse monitor. This data can also be categorized in specific ways to show responses only from employees from a certain store, department within the store, and even employees of a particular salary level or those who have recently been promoted.