5 Ways Pulse Surveys Can Help During a Crisis

Change, Communication, Leadership

Pulse surveys are a modern leadership tool essential for building employee engagement, improving performance and motivation, and attracting/retaining talent. 

Essentially, pulse surveys have replaced the dreaded performance review. Instead of feedback being filtered down from management to the workforce, pulse surveys establish an open-communication channel where feedback and improvement becomes the responsibility of both management and staff. When this becomes standard protocol in the workplace, the organisation thrives. Operational processes, relationships and organisational culture is impacted positively – which in turn impacts engagement, performance, motivation, profit and the attraction and retainment of talent. 

Through honest feedback provided by the workforce, pulse surveys can help management determine:

  • what motivates employees
  • how employees feel about their job
  • how employees would like to improve their skills or grow within their roles
  • the ways in which they can better the workplace experience 

This information is very useful to management and much more effective for the growth of the organisation than it is providing feedback and data to the workforce through performance reviews. With pulse surveys, management can establish operational, organisational and workforce growth strategies that are based on hard data.  

During a crisis such as this where employees are working from home and teams are split up, workplace culture and employee engagement is very difficult to maintain and nurture. But pulse surveys aid in the re-establishment and realignment of the workforce with the organisational and management objectives, and helps preserve the culture that’s taken years to establish while improving, rather than weakening,  employee engagement.

During crisis, pulse surveys will help you to: 

1. Understand the needs of the workforce

As mentioned, pulse surveys encourage feedback and communication. Honest feedback is essential for management to understand what employees feel and understand what’s truly going on within their teams. Feedback enlightens management on problems or areas of weakness that may have been impossible to detect otherwise – especially now when teams are working out of office. With this information, managers and leaders are able to devise contingency plans to strengthen areas of weakness for the improvement of team and individual performance. It’s also important to remember that each person deals with crisis differently. Some may feel demotivated and struggle to perform – which can cause anything from missed deadlines, to poor communication between team members. Feedback allows for these issues to be brought to the fore where they can be minimised and managed effectively. 

2. Establish alignment strategies between workforce and management 

It can be a challenge getting team members aligned with one another and with the organisation’s goals and objectives when the workforce is separated. The only way to know whether teams and individuals are aligned is by the evaluation and review of your pulse surveys. Questions such as ‘Do you know, and are you satisfied with your KPI’s for each task?’; ‘Is there frequent communication between you, your team and your team leader?’; ‘Are you aware of your targets for each task/project?’ will help you determine the working environment and the areas of concern. 

If alignment is found to be poor, there are tools and strategies to assist the individual, the team and management; whether it be setting up frequent meetings (video calls), or making use of task management platforms to track progress and effectively prioritise tasks in accordance with deadlines, for example.

3. Provide support

Management should always provide support, especially during times of crisis. At the very least, the workforce needs to know that management is available and contactable if/when they need them, but showing concern for their wellbeing, and checking in with them on a daily basis goes a long away. It’s appreciated by staff and works as a tool for motivation. Pulse surveys will help you detect whether or not staff feel supported, and can be used as a guide when creating support strategies.

4. Maintain communication and nurture relationships

Communication is critical during this time. If communication is poor it’s likely you’ll see a sharp decline in performance, motivation, employee engagement and profit. While checking in on employees and frequently communicating is effective, asking staff to take a survey that will ensure they are heard, supported and which will help management understand areas they could improve, strengthens trust and relationships within the organisation – especially the relationship between management and workforce.  

5. Adapt to the changing business environment 

In times of uncertainty and change, businesses, managers, teams and individuals need to be agile and be able to adapt to the transformations. For businesses to see the crisis through with minimal financial damage, understanding the changes and challenges teams are facing, and keeping a pulse on essential resources such as labour and profit is critical. Pulse surveys will help to drive decision-making as they’re based on hard-data, and will give management a clear overview of where the business stands, and where it is going. 


Master Engagement Throughout the Employee Lifecycle