Use pulse checks for employee feedback

Employee Pulse Check 101

It has been said that best way to stay up-to-date on things is to keep your finger on the pulse. But how do you keep your finger on the pulse of your employees? By conducting simple and effective employee pulse checks!

The term employee pulse check is relatively new to the HR world, so lets take a look at what it means for you and your company.

What is an Employee Pulse Check?

An employee pulse check is a fast and frequent survey that:

  • uses short, easy-to-answer questions
  • is designed to be done weekly or every few weeks
  • gives a quick insight into the well being of your employees
  • allows feedback with how you are doing in your position
  • provides a way for top management to improve company culture

An employee pulse check is a great and dynamic way to check in every so often with your employees to stay up-to-date with how they are feeling. Employee pulse checks create a great opportunity to see how different strategies you are doing with your company is being received.

When is it Time for an Employee Pulse Check?

Have you noticed a change in the attitude of your employees?

Does something feel "off" at your company?

If the answer is "yes!" it usually means something needs changing. The good news is that these essential employee pulse checks can be done regularly and be used as a fantastic way to prepare for evaluations or even planning for the next coming year.

CustomInsight.com gives some insight on how best measure employee engagement. It says that the best times to conduct an employee pulse checks are:

  • October/November - For year-end evaluations
  • January - To develop HR action plans for that year
  • In-between quarter end months, as you will be able to gather more thoughtful, through responses

And when not to conduct employee pulse check:

  • December - This is a peak business time for most companies. While a pulse check should be short and sweet, tacking that on top of all the hustle and bustle of the holidays can really be stressful for your employees. When able, always avoid adding more stress to an already stressful time.

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Why Conduct an Employee Pulse Check?

For the most part, employee pulse checks are intended to be completely anonymous. They give your employees a chance to tell you how they are really feeling, what they are liking, what they would like to change, all while feeling safe behind their anonymity.

It's not that most employees are scared to voice how they are feeling, but this gives them a curtain to stand behind. Using employee pulse checks helps your employees not to worry about being singled out or causing any uncomfortable situations. In turn, this helps you, the employer receive honest, untainted feedback.

How to Conduct an Employee Pulse Check

Employee pulse checks are designed to be quick, easy and informative. You're not looking to conduct a full employee interview, just an HR tool that helps you get a quick feel for how your employees are feeling right then.

While employee pulse checks should be quick, they should not be useless. This is an opportunity to ask the questions you want to ask regarding company policies, company culture, and overall work place environment.

Your employees get to remain anonymous, which means this is your chance to ask them the questions you haven't been able to ask before, and receive a (hopefully) truthful answer.

10 Employee Pulse Check question examples:

  1. Are you happy working here?
  2. If you were to quit tomorrow, what would the reason be?
  3. Generally speaking, how would you rate your level of happiness at work?
  4. How would you rate your opportunity to improve your skills?
  5. Do you feel that you can maintain a healthy balance between work personal life?
  6. Do you feel that our workplace promotes healthy eating habits at work.
  7. Do you trust that you are paid fairly compared to similar roles WITHIN your organization?
  8. Do you feel your direct manager treats you with respect.
  9. Do you feel like you can voice your opinion regarding our company.
  10. On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend your organization as a good place to work?

With employee pulse checks, you get the chance to really learn and grow from some honest, unfiltered feedback from your employees.

Remember, these employee pulse checks are for you only. Don't use it as a chance to force someone else to improve at your company, but instead use it as a an opportunity for you to improve your HR management.

How Often Should You Conduct an Employee Pulse Check?

How often to conduct employee pulse checks is really up to you. A pulse check should be quick, easy, and take no longer than five minutes.

Some companies are conducting pulse checks weekly, other companies are doing it monthly, and some companies even recommend doing it only once a year. Ultimately, it's up to you and your HR management team.

A good rule of thumb is to try and gauge how your employees are feeling as well as how you are feeling when you go to work. If something feels off in the workplace, then maybe its time to conduct another employee pulse check. Maybe there is something you need to change, or maybe everything is fine. Either way employee pulse checks can provide a much needed piece of mind. And, if you feel like it's necessary, feel free to add a question about the employee pulse checks to see how they are being received by your employees. The last thing you want to do is irritate your employees with constant surveys that are not effective.

Don't Take Employee Pulse Check Answers Personal

While employee pulse checks can be incredibly helpful, they can, at times, be a little harsh. I heard of one HR employee who tried her own personal employee pulse check. It took her 3 attempts, and crying twice before she finished working through all of the answers. While this may seem a little extreme, it's always important to be ready for anything.

Some of the employee pulse check comments may be incredibly helpful, or flattering, but you do always run the chance of getting back some comments that can be hurtful, or upsetting.

Remember, no matter what, you are doing this to ultimately help yourself. Take what you are told, and make the most of it.

If you feel that things are getting a little too aggressive, maybe cease the employee pulse checks for a little bit. Then make sure before you start again, you are in a good, open and accepting mood, welcoming all forms of feedback from your employees. The last thing you want to do is go in grumpy.

Remember, employees are people, they aren't perfect, and neither are you. If you feel yourself getting upset while going over the employee pulse check answers, take a break. There is nothing to be gained in getting upset.

Ultimately, you want to take these employee pulse checks, and boil them down to identify the real problem, so that you can begin working to fix them. Get past the mean comments and see what they are trying to say. I wont tell you that it will always be easy. But if you can't handle some honest, sometimes rough feedback, how can you expect to learn and grow?

So there you have it, employee pulse checks in a nutshell. Do you feel like you could benefit from an employee pulse check? Employee pulse checks can be your secret weapon against constant employee turnover in your company.

For more ideas check out our article "5 Ways To Decrease Turnover".

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