Does Your Company Have a Pulse

by | Apr 13, 2017

It seems that no matter where I do business – at the bank, with my phone provider, places I shop – everyone wants to know how I feel after speaking with them. Have my questions been answered? Is the service friendly? How satisfied am I with my experience?  If that weren’t enough, everyone I know is concerned about how many LinkedIn recommendations they have and whether they are receiving a constant stream of “likes” on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Today, more than ever, feedback has become the quintessential mechanism when measuring goodness.

After conducting workforce engagement surveys for members of the BEDC community (and several other large organizations both here and abroad), I have learned a few things over the past decade:

  1. People want to be asked what they think.
  2. They want to know you’re listening.
  3. They’ll even help you figure out how to make things better.

And, with the advent of the millennials joining the workforce, I’ve learned something else:

  1. People want to tell you what they think right NOW. And, they want to know they are heard NOW… not at the annual performance review, nor at next quarter’s staff meeting. Instant feedback. Instant engagement.

There is also something else I’ve observed that’s worth noting. When it comes to the topic of feedback, scientists and engineers differ from other work groups. They are often negative in their response, but not because they are a pessimistic lot. Rather, they are wired for perfection. It is part of their DNA – there is always room for improvement. Always.

Today’s technology has produced tools to help gauge your team’s perspective – even the views of your staunchest scientist and engineer critic. Engagement surveys certainly remain a great option. They are effective, especially if your company can be benchmarked against other, similar companies during the same period.

But there is also another tool in the digital workplace to consider – the pulse survey. Like an engagement survey, it is anonymous and it is automated for convenient access. But, unlike an “across the neighborhood” approach of engagement benchmarking surveys, the pulse survey is based on real-time reporting. It captures a wealth of data because it is always on.

A pulse survey should not be confused with online polling where a specific question is asked and raters click one of several pre-populated responses. It is also not the same thing as the 1980’s “suggestion box” located in the break room where, by and large, it was a receptacle for employees requesting better snacks.

A pulse survey is instantaneous and unfiltered. It is a tool that can gauge employees’ views and moods. More importantly, because it is a digital tool, it can gather actionable, real-time data synthesizing and presenting it in a way that can help the HR team build a healthy culture. It is increasingly becoming a way to ask what people think, to let them know you’re listening, and even as a mechanism to ask for their help when it comes to implementing change.

Bottom line?  As an HR decision maker, you might want to consider how adopting a pulse survey can help you measure your company’s goodness. Would instantaneous access to see what matters most to your team members be of value? Explore whether streaming the results from smartly phrased questions to a live feed might be an efficient way to encourage and enable your workers to provide feedback. At the very least, have conversations with other decision makers in your organization about ways to let your team know you are, in fact, paying attention.

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Victoria Tucker

Co-Founder / CEO, ZBglobal, Inc.

Victoria Tucker is the Chief Dreamer at ZBglobal, where she lends her 30+ years of experience on pivotal topics like workforce collaboration, engagement, mentoring and project management. She also plays ukulele…but not very well. Reach out to her!