How to set up an effective Employee Pulse Survey for remote teams

When teams work remotely, it can be difficult for managers and HR professionals to know how employees are feeling, if they're still aligned and how to support them appropriately. This lack of clarity can slow down progress and the risk of getting disconnected employees is real. Prevent this with Pulse Surveys.

Working with remote team members and remote teams, in general, poses its challenges when it comes to communication. One of the bigger obstacles is seeing and understanding how employees feel. Research shows that managers of dispersed teams are struggling to get the basics right: developing a clear shared focus and team ethos.

When working from home (or from another part of the world) for a longer period of time, managers need a good understanding of how their direct reports are doing while HR needs to track the overall pulse of the company. By conducting Remote Employee Pulse Surveys regularly one can better determine how engaged, aligned and motivated people are.

In this article, we focus on these main points (jump ahead):

- What is a Remote Employee Pulse Survey?

- 4 Benefits of conducting Remote Employee Pulse Surveys

- How to set up an effective Remote Employee Pulse Survey

- Examples of Remote Employee Pulse Surveys

- Summary

What is a Remote Employee Pulse Survey?

A Remote Employee Pulse Survey is a relatively short survey that tracks how remote employees are feeling within a company. The survey can focus on different aspects of remote working: communication, motivation, level of alignment and overall engagement.

Regularly conducting Remote Employee Pulse Surveys will help managers throughout the organization to stay connected with their direct reports, regardless of location, and ensure objectives are being met.

The goal of these surveys is to stick to a short format and not overwhelm participants with too many questions covering different topics. If you’re interested in learning more about various themes, simply send out short surveys more often. The insights you get will help you measure remote employee satisfaction and engagement. It will also help you act quickly if something is not going well.

Pulse Surveys are more frequent than traditional engagement surveys.

4 Benefits of Remote Employee Pulse Surveys

Remote Employee Pulse Surveys are shorter and more topic-centric than traditional engagement surveys. There are some clear benefits to checking the company pulse more often.

1. Quick turnaround time

By constantly keeping your finger on the pulse of the organization, you can track changes quickly and act on the feedback accordingly. This also makes the pulse survey more attractive to use as opposed to annual surveys as there’s a better feel of what's happening in the organization on a regular basis because of near-real-time feedback from your employees.

In addition, pulse surveys can be delivered and answered in the flow of existing work, via emails. As a result, they don’t hamper productivity and employees will be that much more likely to fill them out.

2. Better-informed decisions

HR professionals and managers can make quicker and better-informed decisions regarding employees and their work goals based on this data stream.

Working remotely entails a different type of dynamic compared to working within an office environment. Employee struggles will differ and so will their solutions. The only way to know what’s going is to regularly check-in with Remote Employee Pulse Surveys surveys.

3. Higher participation rates

Keeping it short and sweet is a sure way to increase the number of people who will participate in the survey. As long as it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes of their day, you’re in the clear.

Nobody wants to deal with 30-question surveys. Communicating the length and what time commitment is required from your employees is also a great way to establish trust and encourage participation.

Last but not least, be very clear on what the benefit of filling out this survey is for employees. If you’re wondering what else can help with increasing participation rates, check out this list of 6 tips to get maximum participation on your engagement survey.

4. Increased engagement and retention rates

When working from home, there’s a bigger possibility that individuals and teams will disconnect from what’s going on in the company. Creating a strong feedback loop is a surefire way to identify morale or collaboration changes.

It’s also crucial to follow up on the feedback you’ve collected and act upon it in a timely manner. That’s how employees will feel heard and recognized. Hence, how engagement and retention will increase. However, employees need to see that action is taken within the organization following their response, otherwise, you risk causing the opposite effect.

How to set up a Remote Engagement Pulse Survey

How can companies and managers know how their remote teams feel? What are their struggles and needs when working from home? What is the impact on morale, productivity, and engagement? How can I see it over time? How can I improve it? All important and time-sensitive topics. But before you jump into clustering a few questions together and sending them to employees, there are a few things to consider.

Clearly communicate with everyone taking the survey

Once management/leadership is on board, there needs to be clear communication sent to all employees about the what, how and why of pulse surveys so they know what to expect before receiving the first one.

If you’re doing it because there are current events impacting the world on a global scale and your workforce has to adapt to remote work quickly, explain that. Don’t forget to emphasize how this action will benefit them.

Decide on a theme and learnings first

Before you get to typing out all burning questions, consider what you’d like to learn first and stick to one theme. For example, trying to learn how communication in teams is going as well as asking general questions about the direction of the company might overwhelm the participant.

Trying to explore different topics might result in not asking the right questions and as a consequence, not getting the right data.

The goal of pulse surveys is to test the waters for trends during ongoing situations that might affect employees. In comparison, annual engagement surveys are a backward-looking exercise and they take a lot longer to create, complete and extract learnings simply because they focus on a broader range of topics. With pulse surveys, you can quickly push out and gather data due to their short nature that centers around one main issue.

Create a short survey and a cadence

After you’ve decided on a theme, make sure to stick to a short survey. Research has found that people are much more likely to fill out shorter surveys that require a small time commitment on their side.

The Remote Employee Pulse Survey should be no longer than 10 questions and they should be created in such a way that the participant can quickly give an answer. Focus on what is currently most important for remote teams and build your survey around that.

Create a cadence, too. Gathering data more frequently means more awareness about the ongoing state of employees. You can check the company pulse as often as every week if this makes sense for your organization. Checking weekly, monthly or quarterly is another way to go.

Analyze data and act quickly

Once you’ve set all of this up, you can start gathering data on different topics every week if you’d like. It's important to send out these surveys out only as quickly as you can act on the conclusions you've made from the gathered data, not more frequently. There’s no point in checking the pulse on a regular basis if no actions will come out of it, as this will fuel distrust among employees.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Examples of Remote Employee Pulse Surveys

You can find, copy and reuse examples of Remote Employee Pulse Surveys in this Template Doc.

#1 Template - Remote Employee Pulse Survey

Purpose:

While your teams (or team members) are working remotely, you can use the Remote Employee Pulse Survey to check in with them, and understand how you might be able to support them in the best possible way.

Communication (to be added as review instructions):

Working remotely is a skill as well as learning to communicate, staying engaged and productive. We want to make sure you feel supported, have the tools you need and feel connected to each other and our objectives.

Please answer this short 10-question survey by <HOUR OF THE DAY> on <DATE>. The same survey will be sent every <DAY OF THE WEEK> so we can adapt and iterate our way of working. Feedback is shared <(NON)-ANONYMOUSLY> with <HR NAME ACCOUNT> so HR can follow up with any additional support needed.


Questions:

  1. My direct teammates respond in a timely manner in order to keep me moving forward with my work (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  2. Other teams respond in a timely manner in order to keep me moving forward with my work (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  3. If applicable, other teams make decisions in a timely manner that keeps me moving forward with my work (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  4. I know what I need to be working on to contribute to my team's priorities (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  5. I have access to the resources & tools I need to get my work done (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  6. I am feeling motivated (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  7. I feel supported by management/leadership (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  8. Leadership communicates extensively (1 = strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree) - Multiple choice: 1-5
  9. What can your manager, team or leadership be doing in order to support you? (open question)
  10. What is the biggest challenge you are facing with working remotely? (if any) (open question)

    If you would like to use this template or get more examples of Remote Employee Pulse Surveys,
    check out our Template Doc here.

    Copy the Template Doc to your Google Drive and customize it for your own organization.

    Reuse the templates as many times as you like. You can also copy/paste templates now and use them immediately for your next Remote Employee Pulse Survey.

Sticking to 10 or less questions will increase the chances more employees will complete the survey.

Summary

Staying connected and aligned with remote team members is not impossible. Knowing how everybody’s doing and ensuring people stay motivated and productive is very much doable.

It just requires:

Remote Employee Pulse Surveys are the ideal way to do that. These short and regular questionnaires guarantee a deeper understanding of what the current challenges are, and what needs to be done so HR professionals and managers can gear up and tackle these obstacles.

Help remote teams stay connected and engaged with the right tool and processes in place. Impraise helps you set up, distribute and analyze Remote Employee Pulse Surveys all in one platform.

You can choose the right questions to ask from an already pre-populated library or build your own template. Directly notify employees about upcoming Pulse Surveys with a few clicks and automatically send reminders to make the process as effortless as possible. Collect relevant data, monitor engagement and identify blockages so managers can spend their time on what matters most: their people.

Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you set up your remote teams for success, and support your employees now and in the future.

Not sure if you need another tool for pulse surveys? We created a prioritized list of all the tools you need to build productive remote teams, so you can understand what is most important for your teams right now.

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