Pulse survey vs engagement survey

Kailash Ganesh
11 min read
Pulse survey vs engagement survey

Are you on a quest to boost engagement with employees and harness the power of your workforce? Well, grab a cup of coffee and settle in because today, we're diving headfirst into pulse surveys and engagement surveys.

As a wise philosopher once said, "The only way to know what your employees are thinking is to ask them."

Okay, maybe it wasn't a philosopher, but it's a relatable quote nonetheless. In our fast-paced world, understanding your employees' needs, aspirations, and concerns is crucial for maintaining a harmonious and productive workplace.

Now, picture this: you're the leader of a dynamic team and looking for the perfect way to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization. At the same time, you also want to dig deeper and uncover hidden insights from your employees. That's where annual employee surveys, pulse surveys, and engagement surveys come into play.

A pulse survey like a quick high-five in the hallway, capturing snapshots of employee sentiment and gathering feedback on specific topics. On the other hand, engagement surveys are more like a heart-to-heart conversation, exploring the depths of your employees' thoughts and emotions to identify patterns and areas for improvement.

Table of contents:-

What are employee engagement surveys?

What are employee engagement surveys?

Engagement surveys are like a powerful telescope that helps you dive into the depths of your organization's collective soul. Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but you get the idea. Employee engagement surveys are a tool used by organizations to measure and understand how engaged their employees are in their work.

Think of it as a way to take the temperature of your workforce to gauge their level of enthusiasm, motivation, and connection to the company. These surveys are typically conducted periodically, allowing employees to share their thoughts, feelings, and feedback on various aspects of their work environment.

But why should you care about engagement surveys? Well, engaged employees are like the secret ingredient that takes your organization from "meh" to magnificent. When employees are engaged, they're more likely to go the extra mile, be more productive, and stick around for the long haul increasing employee retention.

These surveys provide valuable insights into what drives engagement within your organization. They might ask questions about job satisfaction, career development opportunities, communication channels, work-life balance, and more.

By gathering this data, you can identify trends, spot areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to enhance employee satisfaction and, ultimately, your company's success.

What is a pulse survey?

What is a pulse survey?

Employee pulse surveys are a quick and efficient way to gather timely feedback from your workforce. They are not as detailed as an employee engagement survey. They're short, focused questionnaires that can be sent out on a regular basis, providing you with valuable snapshots of employee sentiment.

Imagine you're strolling through the office and want to quickly check how your employees feel about a recent change or project. Instead of waiting for a lengthy engagement survey, pulse surveys come to the rescue.

These surveys are designed to be quick and easy for employees to complete, taking only a few minutes of their precious time. They often cover specific topics, such as recent initiatives, team dynamics, or even company culture. The idea is to gather immediate insights, track changes over time, and address any emerging issues promptly.

Now, you might wonder, why bother with employee pulse survey when you can conduct comprehensive engagement surveys? Well, they provide a real-time pulse check. They capture the here and now, allowing you to be agile in decision-making and quickly address any pain points.

What is the difference between engagement and pulse surveys?

What is the difference between engagement and pulse surveys?

Engagement surveys and pulse surveys serve different purposes within the realm of employee feedback. While engagement surveys provide a comprehensive understanding of overall employee engagement, pulse surveys offer a nimble and real-time approach to capturing immediate insights.

Let’s take a close look at the key differences between engagement and pulse surveys.

Engagement surveys

  1. They are comprehensive and in-depth surveys designed to further measure employee overall engagement and satisfaction.
  2. Conducted periodically, often on an annual or biannual basis.
  3. These surveys explore a wide range of topics, including job satisfaction, career development, communication, and organizational culture.
  4. Provide a holistic view of employee engagement and identify long-term trends and patterns.
  5. Engagement surveys are used to track engagement and gather detailed feedback, allowing for deep analysis and comprehensive action planning.
  6. They require more time and effort to complete for both employees and the organization.
  7. It is suitable for evaluating overall engagement levels, identifying areas for improvement, and tracking progress over time.
  8. These can be a valuable tool for strategic decision-making and long-term engagement initiatives.

Pulse surveys

  1. They provide quick and focused surveys that capture immediate feedback on specific topics.
  2. Conducted frequently, ranging from weekly to monthly intervals.
  3. They target specific areas of interest or recent changes, such as new initiatives, projects, or team dynamics.
  4. Offer real-time insights, allowing for agile decision-making and prompt issue resolution.
  5. Pulse surveys are used to collect concise feedback, providing a snapshot of employee sentiment without extensive analysis.
  6. It requires minimal time commitment, often taking just a few minutes to complete.
  7. They are ideal for addressing immediate concerns, tracking changes, and maintaining open communication.
  8. They serve as a tool for quick feedback, supporting timely interventions and immediate action.

When should you do an engagement survey?

When should you do an engagement survey?

Timing is everything when it comes to conducting an engagement survey. Conducting an engagement survey can serve as a baseline assessment of your employees' engagement levels.

It's an excellent starting point to both measure employee engagement at the current state and identify areas for improvement. Establishing a benchmark allows you to track progress over time and set goals to elevate employee engagement.

Major organizational changes are another opportune time to conduct an engagement survey. When your company undergoes significant transitions like mergers, acquisitions, or restructuring, it's crucial to gauge the impact of these changes on employee engagement.

It allows you to understand how your workforce is adapting and identify any concerns or challenges that may arise during the transition. By collecting feedback during these transformative periods, you can address issues proactively and ensure a smooth transition for your employees.

Many organizations opt for bi-annual or annual surveys as part of their ongoing commitment to measuring and improving engagement. These regular check-ins provide a consistent cadence for assessing engagement levels, identifying trends, and fine-tuning strategies.

In addition to regular surveys, it's valuable to conduct engagement surveys before and after implementing specific interventions or initiatives. This enables you to assess the effectiveness of these interventions in improving engagement with employees. By capturing feedback prior to their implementation, you can establish a baseline and set measurable goals.

Lastly, closing the feedback loop is essential. If you have previously conducted an engagement survey and implemented action plans based on the feedback received, it's a valuable practice to conduct a follow-up survey. This shows employees that their voices were heard and their feedback was acted upon.

Benefits of pulse surveys

Benefits of pulse surveys

Incorporating frequent pulse surveys into your feedback strategy can help you stay connected with your workforce, make data-driven decisions, and continuously improve the employee experience. Let’s take a look at the multiple benefits it offers.

1) Real-time insights

Employee pulse surveys provide immediate and real-time insights into your employees' thoughts and sentiments. By conducting more frequent surveys and targeted surveys, you can capture timely feedback on specific topics or recent changes within the organization.

It enables you to stay agile and make informed decisions based on current employee perceptions, leading to more effective interventions and improved employee satisfaction.

2) Quick and convenient

They are designed to be quick and easy for employees to complete, typically involving a concise set of questions that can be answered within a few minutes. This minimal time commitment encourages higher response rates and ensures employees respond quickly, not succumbing to survey fatigue. The ease and convenience of a pulse survey make them an efficient tool for regularly collecting more accurate insight.

3) Addressing immediate concerns

Since pulse surveys provide real-time insights, they allow you to address immediate concerns or emerging issues promptly. By identifying potential pain points early on, you can take swift action to resolve them, preventing them from escalating and in turn boost morale.

4) Tracking changes and progress

A pulse survey is conducted regularly allow you to track changes and progress over time. By comparing survey results from different time periods, you can observe trends, identify improvements, or spot areas that require attention. This helps you gauge the effectiveness of implemented initiatives and measure the impact of organizational changes.

5) Employee engagement and empowerment

They empower employees by providing a platform to voice their opinions and contribute to the decision-making process. By actively seeking their regular feedback on various topics, you foster a culture of engagement, inclusiveness, and empowerment. Employees feel valued and connected to the organization when their voices are heard.

How can annual engagement survey and pulse surveys complement each other?

How can annual engagement survey and pulse surveys complement each other?

Annual engagement surveys and pulse surveys can work hand in hand to provide a comprehensive and dynamic approach to understanding and improving employee engagement. Let's understand how these two survey types can complement each other:

1) Broad view and deep dive

An annual engagement survey allows you to capture a holistic view of various aspects of the organization. It comprehensively analyzes overall engagement levels, identifies long-term trends, and highlights areas that require attention.

On the other hand, employee pulse surveys offer a more targeted approach, allowing you to dive deeper into specific topics or recent changes. Combining both survey types gives you a comprehensive understanding of engagement while having the flexibility to address immediate concerns and capture real-time insights.

2) Benchmarking and trend analysis

Annual engagement surveys provide a benchmark for measuring progress over time. They establish a baseline understanding of company-wide engagement and track improvements or declines in engagement levels on a yearly basis.

While employee pulse surveys can be conducted at regular intervals enabling you to monitor changes and trends more frequently. By comparing results of pulse survey with the benchmark established by the annual survey, you can identify emerging patterns, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and make data-driven decisions to sustain and enhance engagement.

3) Strategic planning and agile interventions

Annual engagement surveys are valuable for long-term strategic planning. They help identify areas for improvement and guide the development of comprehensive action plans. With the insights gained from the annual survey, you can design initiatives that address the underlying factors impacting engagement.

At the same time, pulse surveys can be used to complete it for agile interventions. Since, they provide real-time feedback on specific issues or changes, it makes it easy to make prompt adjustments and address immediate concerns. The combination of annual and pulse surveys gives you a strategic and responsive approach to improving employee engagement.

4) Employee involvement and continuous feedback

Annual engagement surveys provide an opportunity for employees to share their feedback on a wide range of topics. It demonstrates that their opinions are valued and contribute to a culture of employee involvement.

In contrast, pulse surveys, conducted more frequently, foster continuous and frequent feedback loops. They create ongoing opportunities for employees to express their thoughts, share concerns, and contribute to decision-making. The combination of annual engagement surveys and pulse surveys ensures that employees have multiple avenues to voice their opinions and be part of the improvement process.

Why just conducting employee surveys is not enough?

Why just conducting employee surveys is not enough?

While an annual employee survey is valuable, conducting them alone is not enough to capture the dynamic pulse of employee sentiments and foster continuous improvement. This is where an effective pulse survey come into the picture, demanding their need alongside traditional surveys.

Employee surveys are typically conducted annually or annually, providing a overview of engagement levels and identifying long-term trends. However, they often lack the agility to capture immediate feedback and address emerging issues.

Pulse surveys, on the other hand, offer real-time insights by being conducted more frequently, such as weekly or monthly. They allow organizations to stay connected with their workforce, quickly assess changes, and make timely interventions.

Pulse surveys are designed to be short and focused, making it convenient for employees to provide feedback without a significant time commitment. This leads to higher response rates and helps organizations gather insights on specific topics or recent negative or positive changes that might directly impact employee engagement.

Organizations can bridge the gap between annual employee surveys and check-ins and maintain an ongoing dialogue with employees by incorporating pulse surveys alongside them. They complement the broader engagement strategy by capturing the ever-changing pulse of employee sentiments, promoting transparency, and fostering a positive work environment.

How can technology help in conducting surveys?

How can technology help in conducting surveys?

Technology enables organizations to leverage online survey platforms that simplify creating, distributing, and collecting survey responses. Nowadays, online survey platforms like CultureMonkey allow for easy distribution of surveys reaching employees across various locations and time zones.

This accessibility ensures broader participation and higher response rates, providing more comprehensive and representative data. With its employee engagement survey platform, CultureMonkey can help you listen to your employees better and create more growth opportunities.

It offers multiple survey options, including eNPS, pulse surveys, and employee engagement surveys, to accurately measure your employees' engagement levels and improve them.

Companies can take anonymous feedback in real-time and ensure their employees are not facing any major roadblocks. It can also help find areas of focus that the management needs to work on to improve employee engagement.


1) How do I choose the right survey tool for my organization?

To select the right survey tool, you need to consider factors such as ease of use, customization options, data analysis capabilities, and integration with other systems. Evaluate different survey platforms such as CultureMonkey, read reviews, and consider the features to find a tool that aligns with your organization's goals and survey objectives.

2) How often should I conduct employee pulse surveys?

The frequency of pulse and annual employee engagement surveys depends on the nature of your organization and the specific objectives you want to achieve. Generally, pulse surveys is conducted for frequent check ins as opposed to lengthier annual engagement surveys.

3) How can I ensure high response rates for my surveys?

To encourage high response rates, it's crucial to communicate the purpose of the whole survey process, assure confidentiality, and emphasize the value of employee feedback. Keep surveys concise and user-friendly and consider offering incentives for participation. Also, ensure that the survey platform is easily accessible across different devices and locations.

4) How should I analyze survey data effectively?

Effective data analysis involves careful examination and interpretation of survey responses. Start by summarizing the key findings, identifying trends, and comparing results across different segments or time periods.

5) What actions should I take based on the survey results?

Taking action based on results is crucial for driving positive change and improving employee engagement. Start by communicating the survey findings transparently to employees, acknowledging their feedback, and expressing gratitude for their participation. Identify areas that require improvement and develop action plans with measurable goals.

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash is a Product Marketer with 5+ years of experience. He loves story-telling in the simplest way possible and he is an avid reader, movie buff, and likes to travel new places to meet new people.