Since January this year People Matters alone has published more than 50 articles on the topic of Employee Engagement. This should indicate the amount of focus and importance this particular aspect of the employee lifecycle is increasingly getting in organizations of all sizes. While companies are looking at ways to improve their performance management systems from an annual to more regular one, employee engagement is also changing from an annual engagement survey to a more regular “check-in” process. Through technology tools, companies are looking to know the “pulse” of the organization on a daily basis and respond to situations in real time than in a reactive manner.
By definition “Pulse surveys” are fast & frequent surveys which do away with complex questions and are intentionally designed to be done weekly or every few weeks. They are expected to gain a quick insight into the health of an organization. They are not necessarily only about HR related aspects but could also involve critical business situations and decisions which can then help both HR & business leaders take specific action based on employee feedback to such events. It can be as simple as a poll or a little longer survey with specific questions to be answered. Pulse surveys can be done daily, weekly and monthly depending on what you are measuring and how frequently you want to measure the same. The daily pulse surveys could just be “mood” surveys which may ask employees to report how are they feeling today, for the leaders to know what’s the general mood in the organization is like.
From an HR Technology standpoint, this is one area where we see a lot of action in terms of multiple solutions including point solutions being offered.
Most large enterprise HCM solution providers like SAP, Oracle, Ramco, and others have basic survey functionalities included. Most organizations have been traditionally relying on survey specific applications like SurveyMonkey to design & distribute employee engagement surveys within their organizations. Some others would rely on Great Place to Work, Aon Hewitt, or similar other frameworks which offer the entire gamut of design & analysis of results via the platform as a service. Most of these approaches, however, focus on an annual exercise to derive insights and drive actions.
This is the reason, when pulse surveys came into vogue many new startups used this as either their specialized offering or an entry point into the organization. In recent past, we have also seen specialized performance management software providers emerge offering this as part of their overall solution set. While many argue that “pulse survey” is just a feature in the overall scheme of HCM technology applications, it is fast becoming an important feature to have in the overall consideration set.
In the global context, CultureAmp, Gethyphen, Impraise, 6Q, Tinypulse, and OfficeVibe are some companies which are taking a specialist positioning in this market and have been able to grow their customer base. These companies have replaced the “annual” survey with a more regular and fun way to know the “pulse” of the organization via their platform. Most players offer standard and customized survey design combined with analytics to help organizations drive actions.
In the Indian context, Peoplecart, Qilo, Engazify, Rejoyos, Integrity Matters, Feedback Socially, are some companies which seem to be embedding the pulse survey as a feature in an HR or business process rather than treat the pulse survey as a standalone intervention.
nFactorial which won the Spotlight award at People matters Tech HR 2016, is another specialized player in this space which offers surveys with insights on a platform. Here the main focus is on the analytics and insights from the pulse survey and not so much on the survey itself.
This goes to show that more and more integrated HCM solution providers will go down this route and will look to embed pulse surveys in the overall HCM experience. Such companies may create short feedback surveys either based on achieving a particular milestone in the HCM solution journey or a milestone achieved in the employee’s lifecycle in the organization.
While we continue to see the emergence of specialist players in this particular category, we would also see the complete HCM suite solution providers including this as a feature in the overall solution set. Can both co-exist and thrive in this growing market trend of seeking employee feedback on a continuous basis, time will tell.