What is The Pulse Process?
The goal of this process is to identify and respond to employee concerns in a timely manner. A critical component is the Pulse Report, which is a tool that measures the “pulse” of the company by revealing current concerns of employees and how they feel about key organizational issues.
How can the Pulse Process help an organization?
- The Pulse Process increases the speed and focus of communication efforts. Frequently checking the “pulse” and issuing employees a rapid summary identifies and addresses issues as they emerge. The tool acts as an early warning device enabling the organization to “nip the issues in the bud” rather than allowing them to fester or unveiling them in the annual climate survey.
- The “Talking Points” document reveals how management thinks about issues; in essence, their “thinking routines”. It also provides an opportunity for management to reinforce the core messages when responding to employee concerns.
- The Pulse Process strengthens the role of the supervisor, who is a key communication link in this process. The supervisor uses the “Talking Points” as a basis for communicating to their employees about the current responses to employee concerns, core organizational themes and timely information about the state of the business.
- The Pulse Process coordinates communication efforts. The process allows us to simultaneously evaluate the effectiveness of on-going communication efforts while reinforcing critical organizational messages.
What types of issues might the Pulse Process measure?
Some of the areas we currently assess include:
- Employee understanding of the organizational direction
- Employee “buy-in” to organizational initiatives
- Supervisory behavior
- Follow-up on organizational initiatives
How do you administer a Pulse Survey?
To gather data:
- A short survey including numeric and open-ended questions is designed to address the relevant issues. The numerically-rated questions might involve employees rating issues on an “agree” to “disagree” scale.
- The organization is divided into randomly selected employee groups; each group is surveyed on a rotating basis. As an example, an organization of 650 employees could be divided into 13 groups of 50 employees. Each Pulse would survey a different group of 50 until all 13 groups were surveyed. If the frequency of administering the survey was every other week, it would take 26 weeks to cycle through all the employees. The rotation would then begin round two, starting with the first group.
- The survey is distributed over email for most employees; those employees who do not have access to email are mailed the survey
To report findings:
- A 1-page Pulse Report is prepared that summarizes key findings. This is divided into two sections: Part I summarizes the numerically-rated questions, providing the mean and percent of respondents agreeing and disagreeing with each statement, and Part II summarizes the themes that emerged from the open-ended questions.
- Supervisors are briefed on the findings and they, in turn, update their employees. In addition to receiving the 1-page summary Pulse Report, they also receive a separate “Talking Points” document which serves as the basis for discussion with their employees. The standard format of this document contains four basic pieces of information:
- The key issues that emerged
- A story or learning opportunity
- What the company knows now about the issue
- What the company does not know now about the issue