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Pros and Cons of Types of Employee Surveys
Pros and Cons of Types of Employee Surveys
Maria Barikhina
Maria Barikhina, Chief Happiness Officer
4 min read
Getting actionable employee feedback is easier said than done. Understandably, your workforce can be hesitant to be honest and share their thoughts without the right survey system in place. It’s common knowledge that all companies should be conducting regular employee surveys with a team app for workforce management. Employee surveys should be the backbone of a company’s employee engagement initiative with desktop and mobile workers.

The real question is, what kind of employee survey should you use with your team communication tools: pulse surveys or annual surveys?

Pulse surveys are fast and frequent. They are conducted periodically, often every few weeks or months. These are called pulse surveys because they are used to “take the pulse” of the company.  Annual surveys are done as the name implies, annually. These are the most common types of surveys where employees are asked a wide variety of questions.

Each type of pulse survey has a unique set of pros and cons.

Pulse Survey Pros

Pulse surveys offer real-time measurement of employee satisfaction, helping companies identify the concerns of their employees. They do this by asking a small number of questions (ideally 1 to 10) on specific issues on a regular basis. Because there are limited number of questions asked and they happen often, employers can act on the results quickly.

For example, Metis Communication employees were asked if they were happy with their office chairs. Within two weeks standing desks were made available to employees who wanted them. Pulse surveys that are deployed anonymously also have higher response rates because they take less time to complete and allow employees to provide feedback without fear of retaliation.

Annual Workforce Survey Pros

Annual surveys offer a global picture of employee satisfaction. They are a glimpse into employees’ attitudes, how they feel about their coworkers, office environment, and work in general. Annual surveys also provide excellent historical information.

Pulse Survey Cons

Because of their frequency, pulse surveys can sometimes be overwhelming for employees. Of course, there is also increased cost to consider because they occur regularly and aren’t just an annual expense like annual surveys. While pulse surveys do tend to have higher participation, that means those employees are spending valuable time answering questions regularly.

Annual Survey Cons

Annual surveys tend to be long and detailed. Because they take place annually, the data collected becomes outdated very quickly. Another issue is the lack of objectivity. Since employees are typically asked to rate their level of engagement, there is a strong bias present in their answers. This also can cause gamed results – employees respond how they think their employers want them to, not how they really feel. And because annual surveys are long, they tend to have a lower response rate. So which is better? It depends on what your needs are. If you want data you can take immediate action on, pulse surveys are the way to go. If you’re more concerned with historical or long-term data, annual surveys are the best bet. But don’t think you can’t do both. They aren’t mutually exclusive. With a platform like Beekeeper, you can perform pulse surveys regularly while also planning and performing annual surveys with ease. It’s the best of both worlds!

Now that you have this helpful insight, it's time to use a workforce management and group messaging platform that allows you to grow, learn, and develop your employee engagement and internal communication practices. Submit the form below to find out more about Beekeeper - the communication tool for teams that helps you reach, connect, and analyze everyone in your organization.