The Potential of Pulse Surveys: Transforming Surveys into Leadership Tools

Theresa M. Welbourne
  • Employment Relations Today, April 2016, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/ert.21548

What is it about?

Pulse survey are becoming more popular in business; however, most of the use is very simple - focusing on creating "baby" versions of organizational large, annual or every other year surveys. In this article I introduce the reader to a model for using the technology of pulse surveys to transform the process. Instead of using technology to simply mirror what we already do in a condensed manner, this article shows the reader how to get more value out of ongoing, frequent and strategic communications with employees. This model has been proven with high return on investment in organizations around the world.

Why is it important?

Leaders today are wasting money by not getting full value out of their survey work. Most surveys are a backwards-looking exercise; they are not used to influence or to abstract trend and predictive data that can enhance decision making. Taking surveys to the next level by thinking differently and using the model presented in this article can help any organization or researcher.


Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne (Author)
University of Alabama

I have been working to transform surveys for over 20 years, and have deployed the model described in this article to organizations, large and small, around the globe. The result of using the technology of pulse surveys in a new way has led to return on investment numbers as high as 2,000 per cent in less than one year. Rather than using surveys to examine the past, in a way that is similar to an annual report exercise, this article describes a process that transforms surveys into leadership tools to drive positive change and support a firm's culture. I've seen the process work in numerous organizations, and employees go from hating the survey process to thinking this type of approach is not even a survey. It's fast, light and useful. Technology needs to be used to change how we think about processes, not just put the same old way of doing things on the web. That's my bias!

The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne