How to Create an Employee Engagement Pulse Program

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Maintaining employee engagement and ensuring your employees are happy is a constant challenge. Pulse Programs can be a great way to better understand how your employees are feeling, so you can make changes to improve the working environment.

Article 5 Minutes
How to Create an Employee Engagement Pulse Program

Studies have shown that organizations with more engaged workforces are more likely to be successful. In fact, Harvard Business Review published figures showing a 22% increase in productivity across the workforce when staff felt engaged with their work and the company. These statistics also found that happy, engaged staff were more committed to their job, seeing a 25% lower turnover rate than organizations with a disengaged workforce.

Why are we telling you this? Because it’s clear that employee engagement is important to both employers and employees for a number of reasons and is therefore something that organizations should be prioritizing. And a key part of successful employee engagement is feedback.

There are several ways you can collect employee feedback, including monthly one-to-ones, but this can take a lot of time to meet with everyone individually and collate the findings. One proven method for gathering feedback is employee engagement surveys, but even these can be time-consuming and infrequent if not done correctly.

So if you need feedback quickly, because you’ve noticed a drop in moral, for example, or you need feedback on a time-sensitive issue, then an employee engagement Pulse Program could be the solution. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what a Pulse Program involves and how you can create one.

What is a Pulse Program?

For organizations already embracing employee engagement surveys, these may be annually, quarterly or timely, but it’s unlikely these are being used as frequently and effectively as they could be. A Pulse Program makes the switch from infrequent and time-consuming surveys to pulse-style engagement surveys that can be created and sent out in a matter of minutes. This means you’ll begin collecting results quickly, so you can interpret these and make real changes where necessary. 

What are the benefits of a Pulse Program?

There are several benefits of creating a Pulse Program in your organization and using this platform for your employee engagement surveys. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Getting consistent feedback from your employees
  • Setting up and running surveys in a matter of minutes, so these can be more spontaneous or as a result of a particular event
  • Getting your survey results quicker and in real-time
  • Using these to keep pace with employee engagement
  • Encouraging feedback conversations amongst employees and their managers
  • Setting standardized questions based on proven employee engagement drivers for those who don't want to write their own
  • Keeping your surveys anonymous to encourage real, honest feedback
  • Aligning these with your business goals

How to create an effective employee engagement Pulse Program in your organization

Pulse Surveys can be a real catalyst for positive change within your organization for both staff and for the overall success of your company. Below, we’ll look at the five steps you can take to create an effective Pulse Program for your workforce.

Step 1: align your surveys with your business goals

When it comes to the key metrics of your business such as profit, sales, and customer satisfaction, these will probably be reviewed every quarter to make sure the company is on track. And employee engagement should be no different. Put simply, people success equals business success, so you need to make sure your workforce is happy and engaged. Do this and you’ll see a direct correlation between staff engagement and your bottom line.

One of the best ways to regularly review engagement is through your Pulse Surveys and more importantly, by aligning these to your business goals. You can focus the questions on your key priorities for the next quarter and the results will help to inform how you can better support your staff, keep them happy and execute your strategies effectively to reach your business goals.

Step 2: hand over the responsibility from HR to managers

There was a time when HR was responsible for creating and managing employee engagement feedback surveys. After all, they are responsible for employee relations. But in order to implement an effective Pulse Program, this needs to change. HR can still be facilitators of change, but the real conversations must start with management.   

Pulse Surveys aren't just about finding out whether staff are happy at work, they can also help to turn managers into better leaders. The ability to run these surveys quickly and frequently means managers can get real, team-specific feedback instantly and can immediately start meaningful conversations with their employees and start to put changes in place. Because of this, managers and senior staff need to become the driving forces behind the Pulse Program.

Step 3: analyze results with confidence and choose a focus area

Once the results are in, managers are faced with one key decision; what to focus on first. With a range of issues now vying for their attention, managers must analyze the results with confidence and narrow it down to focus on one important area first. This doesn't mean other issues will go unsolved, but for now, they must turn their attention to the issue that will have the biggest impact on the team’s engagement and the organization’s success.

To help them do this, managers should ask themselves the following question:

  • What must we achieve over the next six months?
  • What are we doing to achieve those goals?
  • What do the survey results say about our abilities to do these things effectively?
  • What is our top priority as a team?

Step 4: feedback to your teams

Armed with these new insights and settled on the key focus area, managers must then feed back to their teams and start some open and honest conversations. Together, managers and their teams can begin to put positive steps in place based on the survey results. To do this they must share their experiences and listen to one another. In doing so, managers can build trust and good communication and take the time to demonstrate to the team how this feedback can be used as a positive learning opportunity.

Step 5: don’t stop!

You need to keep the momentum going. The survey and the subsequent discussion may be the main event, but it doesn't stop there. You need to make sure you keep these conversations going and start to implement real changes throughout the year, otherwise, employees will quickly see these surveys are having little impact and stop being honest with their managers.

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