employee engagement pulse survey
Published May 3, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Pulse Surveys

Everything you need to know about using employee engagement pulse surveys in your franchise system

Franchise Business Review’s annual Franchising@WORK Employee Engagement Study showed that corporate franchisees overall are pretty satisfied with their jobs. In fact, 85% of employees find their work rewarding and satisfying, and 78% would recommend their company to a friend. And that’s great news—high employee engagement has a significant positive impact on your business. Engaged employees lead to engaged franchisees and ultimately to more loyal customers. 

An annual employee survey can help you benchmark engagement year over year and give you insights into the overall effectiveness of your employee engagement and retention strategies. But how do you know if specific initiatives or changes are having a positive impact without waiting a whole year to see if they’re working? That’s where employee engagement pulse surveys come in. 

What are employee pulse surveys?

Employee pulse surveys, or employee engagement pulse surveys, are quick, targeted surveys conducted on a regular (monthly, quarterly) basis. They are frequent and short, and are intended to give you a snapshot of how your employees are feeling at any given time. 

How are employee engagement pulse surveys different from a full (annual) survey?

Annual employee engagement surveys are a valuable tool for measuring employee engagement organization-wide. They give you a baseline measurement in critical areas of engagement like company culture, communication, leadership, management, and overall employee satisfaction, and benchmark performance of your employee engagement and retention strategies year-over-year. The results should be part of a continuous feedback strategy to drive employee recruitment, engagement and retention strategies. 

Employee pulse surveys aren’t intended to replace an annual employee engagement survey; rather, they are meant to complement it. Pulse surveys keep employees engaged all year long and help you track progress and measure incremental results and trends. 

Why do you need employee pulse surveys?

While a comprehensive annual franchisee satisfaction survey measures the overall health of your system and benchmarks performance year-over-year, there’s so much that can happen in between. Pulse surveys help you quickly identify areas for improvement—before they become problems—so you can adjust as needed and remain agile. 

What’s most important is that you only use pulse surveys if you plan to act on the results. Communicating overall results, key takeaways, and most importantly, the actions you plan to put in place to address them will encourage employees to be more engaged and keep participation rates up. When employees see that their feedback is being heard, they’re  also more likely to be more open with their feedback. 

What do employee pulse surveys measure? 

Employee pulse surveys measure employee sentiment about specific, targeted topics or  initiatives–whether that’s employee experience (e.g. recognition programs, stress/burnout levels), organizational culture and core values, opinions of leadership, diversity and inclusion, work/life balance, communication, management, or flexibility.

Asking questions around the core values of your organization is a great example of using pulse surveys to understand the culture of your organization. For example, questions like, “Do our core values help guide you in making important decisions?” and “Do the actions of leaders and managers align with our core values?”.

Asking, “Would you recommend working for our company to others?” is another great question that can give you valuable insights into  areas of potential risk for turnover—whether that’s in a particular department, a specific manager, or within a segment of the employee tenure.

Common uses of employee pulse surveys

Pulse surveys can be used to:

  • Measure employee’ engagement in real-time over the course of a year
  • Track effectiveness of changes, initiatives, or new programs (e.g., hybrid work policies, training programs, technology rollouts, etc.) and how they’re being received by employees
  • Understand the employee lifecycle—satisfaction with your hiring, onboarding, and exit processes 
  • Dig deeper into areas of the annual survey where you scored low

How long should employee pulse surveys be?

Employee pulse surveys can be just one question, or up to 10 questions, but more importantly, they are highly specific, focusing on one area or topic for feedback and improvement. Because pulse surveys are short and targeted, participation is typically higher.

How often should they be administered?

Pulse surveys can be administered quarterly, monthly, bi-weekly, or even every week. The idea is that they should be short, taking only a minute or two to complete, and provide the leadership team with consistent feedback on a specific topic so you can track progress of your initiatives.

Employee pulse survey questions: Examples

  • Our company has a strong, positive culture. (strongly agree to strongly disagree scale)
  • Would you recommend working for our company to others? 
  • What was the number one reason you came to work for our brand? 
  • How optimistic are you about achieving your work goals in the next 90 days? (extremely optimistic to not at all optimistic scale)
  • How often do you ask for help from other departments? 
  • How does our company celebrate employee success/contributions? 
  • Do you have a friend at work?* 

*Polls from Wildgoose and Gallup both show that employees that have a best friend at work are more likely to be engaged and expend more effort in their job. 

Why should franchises use employee engagement pulse surveys?

Gallup reports that the costs associated with replacing a valued employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. In a highly competitive labor market, those costs could be even higher when you factor in “brain drain”, effects on team morale, project disruptions or delays, and even lost customer relationships. 

Yet the costs associated with employee engagement pulse surveys are nominal. If you really want to move the needle, implementing pulse surveys is an easy, inexpensive way to create a consistent feedback channel and make adjustments in real time to attract and retain your most valuable assets—your people. 

Get a free 10-minute demo of FBR’s employee engagement survey to find out how pulse surveys can help you gather actionable data to improve your hiring and retention strategies.


Related Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement for Franchises

Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement for FranchisesEmployee engagement is critical to the success (or survival) of franchise organizations, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to foster engagement.

Download your free eBook to learn how to:

  • Recognize barriers holding employees back from fully engaging
  • Create a supportive and engaging workplace culture
  • Make engagement a key part of your hiring and retention strategy
  • Measure and benchmark your team’s engagement against other franchise employers


About the Author: Ali Forman

As the Marketing Director, Ali’s role is to educate franchise companies about and inspire them to participate in FBR’s research in order to grow and improve their brands. Ali's previous experience includes senior marketing communications roles in the employee benefits, data privacy, and publishing sectors. She lives in Maine with her husband and two sons.
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