Pulse Surveys Must be Part of Every Company’s Data Strategy

Pulse surveys are important tools that data-driven organizations can't afford not to take advantage of.

pulse surveys are important for data-driven companies
Shutterstock Photo License - Viktoria Kurpas

More companies than ever are investing in big data. However, many feel that their data strategies are not proving to be effective. According to a report by VentureBeat, only 13% of companies feel that their data strategies are providing the results they are looking for.

One of the reasons that data strategies often turn out to be ineffective is that companies define them too narrowly. They often end up focusing entirely on using big data to optimize their financial and marketing strategies. However, they don’t use data enough to improve their internal culture.

One option data-driven companies should take is to invest in pulse surveys. As a manager, executive, supervisor, or human resources professional, part of your role is to develop and help talent grow. This comes in the form of developing talent, retaining employees, giving/receiving feedback, and interacting with employees in a meaningful way. Understanding your employees, helping them achieve work-life balance, and soliciting feedback from them is beneficial to your business. Pulse surveys can be helpful, especially when used in conjunction with other data analytics tools.

Surveys are an ideal delivery system for these efforts. Surveys give employees voice while identifying opportunities and exposing potential issues that can be resolved. They are a valuable way to gather opportunity with the extra benefits of holding leadership accountable and improving employee morale. Surveys serve a dual function at most organizations. On one hand, they help human resources departments establish a direction to focus their efforts. On the other hand, they help employees feel heard while seeking to develop workplace culture and a more robust operation. Here is how to use them at your organization.


Pulse Survey Defined

Pulse surveys are short, direct surveys given out to staff frequently. Other, longer surveys—such as baseline engagement surveys and job satisfaction surveys—do exist for gathering other types of information. A pulse survey should be short and sweet, handed out roughly every other quarter. Their frequency means it’s easier to obtain meaningful data that actually matters. Its immediacy is punctuated by the fact that pulse surveys are not designed to measure specific items, instead existing as a vehicle for rapid, high quality feedback.

Keep It Short and Simple

Anyone who’s ever worked in data science knows that people don’t always enjoy taking surveys. They especially abhor lengthy surveys with no clear direction or compensation. This idea should extend to designing a pulse survey for an organization. Remember that your employee’s time is valuable and you should design your survey with brevity in mind. Believe it or not, plenty of excellent quality data can be obtained from a few simple questions.

The optimal length for a pulse survey should be between five and fifteen simple questions, but ten is the best length. Keeping it short and simple will get you better results and make people more willing to fill out your survey when it’s administered.

Don’t Ask Intrusive or Inappropriate Questions

Surveys sometimes run into an issue where they tend to ask intrusive or invasive questions. Never ask questions that might offend, intrude, or possibly be illegal. It’s also wide to avoid leading questions in your survey design. These questions prompt the respondent to answer any particular way, ultimately leading to bias and spoiled survey results. If the researcher wants the respondent to reply with a particular response, leading questions are used to do that. Avoid it at all costs in your survey design! Assumptive questions can be a problem in survey design as well. Double barreled questions—where you’re asking two questions at once—can confuse respondents. They also mar the data a bit because of the lack of precision such questions can generate. Avoid nonsensical questions and always make sure to offer quality scale choices. A likert scale isn’t going to provide quality data if the respondent doesn’t understand the options! The goal of creating a survey is to be as straightforward as possible, in order to obtain the best possible data.


Use Artificial Intelligence to Administer Surveys

Technology is a powerful tool for any aspect of business. In data analysis, artificial intelligence can be quite useful. It makes it easier to do complicated tasks quickly and with higher efficiency. This is especially prevalent in administering employee surveys. In the past administering surveys was a much more lengthy process. Sending them out through emails, using an employee work platform, or standing by with the old paperwork in the break room method weren’t necessarily the best ways to administer surveys. Using artificial intelligence to check and double check survey rollout, reception, and results assessment is incredibly useful for running your pulse surveys. Remember that AI is not a replacement for human workers; instead it is a valuable tool to aid in analyzing data and drawing conclusive insights from pulse surveys. A survey platform that incorporates both AI and machine learning.


Find A Platform Rooted In Data Science/Analysis

Selecting a sample size, defining variables, and gathering data are only the starting points for your survey. It’s imperative to find a platform for the surveys that is rooted in data science. That way, you have the tools you need to disseminate and parse data at your disposal. Simply trying to do a survey in house without any kind of platform isn’t very efficient. That’s why you need a data-driven pulse survey platform. These type of platforms are meticulously designed to have the data science aspects baked in already. That means you can get important information and insights from your surveys, while largely automating them. Using AI to assess results, and having ready reporting that includes benchmarks and context means that giving out these surveys—and getting the results you need—is no longer the headache it was before the days of high technology applications.

Sean Parker is an entrepreneur and content marketer with over 5 years of experience in SEO, Creative Writing and Digital Marketing with Rank Media. He has worked with several clients from all over the globe to offer his services in various domains with a proven track record of success.