Team Pulse Survey: How Managers Boost Team Engagement and Retention

ShowUp Team | Published: May 1, 2021

In 1997, Mckinsey launched a project, “The War for Talent.”

They wanted to see how top-performing companies stood out from others, particularly hiring, retention, and promotion.

First, they sent thousands of questionnaires to managers across America. Then they selected 18 firms to move onto the next phase.

Lead consultants on this project spent three days with each company, interviewing the CEO and HR team, respectively.

After sifting through interview transcripts and reports, they found the single, most important quality that set great companies apart from others:

Managers at these companies had an obsession with hiring and retaining as many top performers as possible.

The key phrase here is “obsessed with hiring and retaining.”

In other words, high-performing managers not only concern themselves with hiring. They also prioritized retention.

Now, the question is, as a manager, how do you become effective at engaging employees enough to retain them long-term?

That's where technology steps in to save the day.

In this case, a team pulse survey software.

The ever-increasing need for team pulse surveys

Imagine having access to your employees' deepest thoughts about you and your company at the tip of your fingers.

First, it'll make your job of managing employees to achieve outlined business goals a lot easier.

But most importantly, it means you’d always have first-hand insights to swiftly address internal issues, which gets top talent to jump ship.

As a manager curious about retaining top talent, you must take this seriously.

Why, you ask?

First, 20 years after that Mckinsey study, research by XpertHR in 2020 found HR professionals struggle most with finding talents.

In other words, there’s a shortage of skilled talent.

Second, experienced job seekers now look beyond benefits. Most seek companies with clear career growth paths and where their voices are heard.

Now, how do you save yourself the hassle of struggling to find talent replacement (which is scarce)? And how do you become more attractive to scarce top talent who look beyond benefits and seek where their voices are heard?

It starts with listening more than you talk.

In other words, paying close attention to your team.

If you manage a team of five, this might be an easy thing to do. But if you lead a team of, say, 50+ people, I'm pretty sure you can see how this can be a problem.

Again, a team pulse survey comes to the rescue.

Do you have a happy and productive team?

Pay closer attention to your team, boost team engagement (and productivity) with ShowUp team pulse survey software

What is a Team Pulse Survey?

Billionaire investment banker, Jorge Paulo Lemann, said:

The greatest asset of a company is its people.

Your people are your company's most essential competitive advantage.

Their knowledge, skills, and productivity drive growth for your company. As such, you must do everything within your power to keep them from jumping ship.

Team Pulse Survey helps you do this.

See it as a short, anonymous, and effective way to know how your team truly feels about you, how you manage them (and the company).

With a team pulse survey, you can quickly discover employee pain points and do away with guesswork. In other words, you can see areas where you're doing great. And uncover weak areas that need some work.

ShowUp automates the process of doing all these.

ShowUp is an automated team pulse survey that sends out anonymized weekly (or biweekly) pulse surveys to help draw out your team’s thoughts. In this case, thoughts about your role as a manager (and the company culture).

You can call it a virtual suggestion box or disguised research tool.

Your team shares their true feelings (without the fear of being judged). And these thoughts form the foundation of your improvement strategy.

Every week (or anyhow you prefer), each team member gets the survey delivered right into their inboxes.

It looks pretty much like this:

Showup - Team Pulse Survey Email

As a manager (or team leader), you can use their responses to improve your company culture and boost productivity.

It’s like Tom Peters, business management expert, said:

The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.

Team pulse surveys are an effective way to pay positive attention to your people, as you can imagine. Ultimately, the goal is to help you build a more engaged, productive, and happier team.

But are there more concrete reasons to adopt a team pulse survey?

Let's see.

Why You Should Use Pulse Surveys

  1. They are short and timely.

    Pulse Surveys are shorter, and they reduce the time your team spends on them. You can know what your team thinks about you (and the company) in a matter of minutes.

  2. Pulse Surveys are more frequent.

    Employees love when you listen more than once a year.

    And there’s data to back this up.

    Qualtrics found that 77% of employees want to provide feedback more than once per year. And they are 12 times more likely to recommend their employer if they listen and act on their feedback.

    With pulse surveys, you can track your team's pulse (and react) more regularly. It can be weekly or biweekly.

    The more you track your team's pulse, the higher your chances of spotting (and fixing) issues before they happen. And more employees will feel valued and appreciated.

  3. They are Anonymous

    Achievers 2020 Culture Report found that most employees are more honest in surveys than with their managers.

    Precisely, 77% of the respondents preferred anonymous feedback to direct conversations with managers.

    Achievers Culture Report Results

    Source: Achievers Workforce Institute Culture Report

    Sometimes, your employees may find it hard to speak openly about their concerns, especially if it concerns a team’s valued member. Or you.

    The anonymity of pulse surveys makes it easier for employees to be more open and honest.

Now, you know why you should invest in taking team pulse surveys.

Are Pulse Surveys Different From Engagement Surveys?

Yes, they are.

The traditional annual engagement surveys are a year-long, broad approach. In other words, you have to wait for a whole year (or 6-months) to find out how your employees are really doing.

Imagine how much can happen in a year…

Too much time goes by with zero opportunity to pinpoint critical pain points your team might have.

You can lose top talents to competitors, your team’s productivity might suffer, and your business will struggle to stay afloat.

No wonder, Product-led Growth Marketing Expert Jacob Shriar asked:

Do you check your bank account once a year? Of course not; that would be crazy. So then why do we only check on our employees once a year?

Team pulse surveys let you check in with your team regularly. You can address issues before it is too late.

Its simplicity makes it easy to complete. And you’ll have invaluable insights to make better, more informed decisions.

When you take action, you’ll,

  • Show your team you value their feedback;
  • Increase response rates;
  • Boost team engagement;
  • Increase job satisfaction;
  • Boost productivity and retention rates;
  • Increase your company’s profitability;
  • Promote a happier, positive, transparent company culture
  • Make your company attractive to potential hires

These are just a few benefits of using team pulse surveys.

So, how do you get started?

How do you start getting regular, actionable feedback from your team?

It starts by choosing the right team pulse survey software.

How To Choose The Right Pulse Survey Software For Your Team

Choosing the right team pulse survey software is the first step to building a stronger, happier, and more productive team.

So, what are those features you should keep an eye out for, while you choose?

The right team pulse surveys should have these features:

  1. A lot shorter than a typical engagement survey, usually 5-15 questions. So, it's easy to complete.
  2. Weekly or bi-weekly surveys or monthly (compared to traditional annual surveys).
  3. Focuses on specific topics that determine company culture.
  4. Tracks the same topics (using different questions) over time.
  5. Provides relevant resources to help you take immediate action.

ShowUp, a team pulse survey built from scratch, offers all those benefits.

Right off the bat, it comes with survey questions to measure different metrics within your organization.

And as I mentioned already, these answers give you real insights to inform your strategy. This way, you can focus efforts on areas that need urgent attention.

How ShowUp Measures Your Team's Pulse

ShowUp's three-step process lets you know what employees think about you and your company in seconds, not days or weeks.

The process looks like this:

Showup - Ask, Analyze, Act

Let's review each in detail.

1. Ask - Give your team a voice.

ShowUp lets you take the guesswork out of your retention efforts.

It's pretty straightforward.

After you sign up, you invite your team members.

Once they join, they'll receive (weekly or biweekly) surveys directly in their inbox, based on your preference.

Your team will get an email that looks like this:

Showup - Team Pulse Email

To participate in the survey, all an employee needs to do is click on one of the options provided in the email.

For example, one could choose “Not very often” to question above.

And once they do, ShowUp smoothly transitions them to complete the survey quickly:

Showup - Team Pulse Survey Question

In all, they’d answer six questions.

These questions are from a pool of 60 well-researched questions that measure six individual team culture traits. And they take seconds to complete.

I'll throw more light on these team culture traits soon.

2. Analyze - Measure your team culture

After your team completes the survey, ShowUp presents a clear, detailed weekly pulse report on your dashboard.

Right there on the dashboard, you can see your team's strengths and growth opportunities(areas that need real work).

Those metrics usually have the lowest score.

It looks just like this:

Showup - Team Pulse Lowest Score

If this were your team, you’d see that your team has transparency and alignment issues.

ShowUp also gives you a chance to measure changes made throughout a specific period.

The trend line shows you how consistent your efforts have been over time. So, you can tell when you've been doing well consistently (and when you're spiraling downward).

You can also share this with the team to promote transparency (and boost performance)

3. Act - Focus your efforts.

In this phase, you focus your attention on developing an action plan.

This is where you ask yourself, "what actions can I take to grow the company?"

With ShowUp, you get a backlog of actionable resources to create an action plan and solve problem areas immediately:

Showup - Team Pulse Lowest Score

So there you have it…

A practical way to keep your team aligned with accurate data and actionable tips.

With a tool like ShowUp (and applying each step above), you can build an engaged, productive team, retain top talents, and win the war for talent.

What ShowUp Measures

With a comprehensive team pulse survey like ShowUp, you can track six essential team and company-wide traits:

  1. Alignment
  2. Innovation
  3. Trust
  4. Passion
  5. Transparency
  6. Respect

These traits show whether or not you have a healthy company culture.

Alignment, for instance, means your team has a shared sense of purpose. They understand the company's vision and goals and their part in it. Most of all, they collaborate with other employees to achieve those goals.

Transparency means your team has a clear understanding of the company’s direction. They know how their day-to-day tasks help to achieve set goals. They give honest, direct feedback, knowing you’ll take action. These insights, in turn, help you focus your efforts.

When you get it right in these six areas, you’ll see a continuous increase in engagement, productivity, retention, and of course, profits.

If you equip yourself with a team pulse survey platform like ShowUp (and follow the steps above), your team will grow beyond your expectations.

How Long Should A Pulse Survey Be?

5-15 questions long. And it should take under five minutes to complete.

Pro Tip: The more frequent the survey, the shorter it will be. This will prevent burnout.

ShowUp sends out six questions weekly. Just enough to measure the necessary metrics (and keep employees from getting bored.) And it takes seconds to complete.

Boost Your Team Engagement and Productivity with ShowUp's Pulse Survey

Are Team Pulse Surveys Anonymous?

Yes, they are.

Your employees will be more honest if you lean more towards surveys than direct, one-on-one reports.

ShowUp anonymizes the weekly (or bi-weekly) pulse surveys.

We believe this will help your team openly (and sincerely) answer questions. So, you can get more accurate results.

And you'll use their responses to improve your company culture. Instead of starting a witch hunt, trying to find "who said what.”

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Team Pulse Survey

  1. Clearly define your company's values.

    Your company's values will determine where you'll focus your efforts most. In other words, those traits that align with your company values will come first while analyzing your team's pulse results.

    If your company values trust the most, then you'll be more inclined to track the trust metric more than the others.

    Tracking the trust metric doesn't mean you'll ignore the other metrics. It just means that if there are two weak areas and trust is one of them, you’ll prioritize trust over the other.

  2. Choose the questions you'll ask.

    You should carefully choose questions each week (or biweekly, depending on the frequency you choose).

    These questions should be in line with the metrics you want to measure. That way, you'd get meaningful data to focus your efforts, not something useless.

    ShowUp has 60 well-researched questions that provide actionable insights across all six metrics.

    Showup - Focus the Next Team Pulse

    You can choose questions for your first (or next) pulse

    While choosing, it's crucial to ensure the six questions for the week focus on the areas you want to measure.

    Of course, you can choose to measure all six metrics at once—one question for each metric.

  3. Let Your team Know About the Survey.

    Some managers surprise their team with surveys, with little or no information to go on.

    You don't want to be that kind of manager. If you are, you won't get the most sincere answers from your team.

    You have to prep them in advance by letting them know beforehand.

    That way, you'll have great response rates and sincere responses.

  4. Take Action on Your Team Pulse Survey Results

    Culture Amp CEO, Didier Elzinga said:

    The most typical reason people don’t want to fill out your survey is because you haven’t done anything since the last one. They don’t have survey fatigue; they have lack-of-action fatigue.

    The highlight of a pulse survey is taking fast action on survey results.

    When you take action, you make your team feel valued (and you give them a reason to trust you).

    But when you don't take action, your team will feel ignored and neglected. And this will affect their engagement and performance rates.

    Ultimately, you'll lose top talents.

    Bottom line?

    Take action!

  5. Keep up with the analytics. Involve your team in the process.

    Measure the effects of your actions and compare them with the previous results. If there's no improvement, you need to revisit your strategy.

    You can invite your team (or managers from other departments) to collaborate with you.

    When you do this, your team members will feel valued. Their viewpoint just might be what you need to break your team into a new level of productivity.

    No matter the survey’s outcome, positive or negative, you should share it with your team. Let everyone pitch in to find a solution.

Conclusion: Track Your Team's Pulse Regularly with ShowUp

Your team's health is just as good as your efforts.

Imagine having access to your employees' deepest thoughts about you and your company in seconds.

It'll make your job a breeze.

But knowing your team won't give this information without some protection, ShowUp acts as a go-between.

You can call it your virtual suggestion box. Or a research tool.

With it, you can know your team's thoughts and sentiments (and take necessary actions). You can create a happier, more productive work environment, boost team engagement and retention rates, and stay way ahead of your competitors.

Ready to take your team's pulse?

You can start here:

How transparent is your organization? Find out what they think.

Track your team’s pulse with ShowUp's weekly surveys and boost retention rates.

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