In an ideal world, employee satisfaction surveys are intended to provide senior management with rich insights into the state of workforce morale and areas for improvement that are actionable. But one of the biggest problems with annual or bi-annual polls is that action often isn't taken. According to PwC Saratoga's 2013/2014 U.S. Human Capital Effectiveness Report, nearly 60 percent of companies don't require managers to develop an action plan for employee engagement. Still another shortcoming with annual employee satisfaction surveys is the annual part - even when employees do fill out these assessments, they're only being captured once every twelve months.Against the backdrop of an increasingly nomadic workforce and a U.S. unemployment rate that's at its lowest level in six years, it's imperative for company leaders to keep close tabs on employee satisfaction, sentiment, and engagement. After all, research shows that employee engagement helps drive customer satisfaction.
These are some of the key factors that are leading a growing number of organizations to conduct short daily, monthly, or weekly "pulse surveys" to obtain regular feedback on employee opinions and to identify emerging problems before they mushroom, according to a recent Wall St. Journal article.
One company that administers these surveys is TINYpulse. The Seattle-based company sends out short surveys comprising just a handful of questions or even just a single question on behalf of clients such as Amazon.com to their employees (e.g. 'How happy are you as an employee on a scale of 1 to 10?'). Responses shared by employees are anonymous, says TINYhr CEO David Niu.
One of the benefits of conducting frequent (but short) employee surveys are that senior management can quickly act on employee feedback when an emerging issue has been identified (i.e. numerous complaints from employees about work overload) to prevent it from festering and becoming a more widespread issue. Periodic surveys can also enable leadership to identify a sudden shift in employee satisfaction or engagement and then drill down to determine the root cause and take action.