Key Strategies for Applying an Employee Pulse to Enhance Engagement and Improve the Customer Experience

Key Strategies for Applying an Employee Pulse to Enhance Engagement and Improve the Customer Experience

Reading time: 6 mins

Discover how an Employee Pulse can help you gain powerful motivational insights to understand employee engagement and satisfaction, improve employee engagement, and increase a positive company culture. Join us as SAP Expert Patty Riskind answers your questions, including:

  • What is a pulse for employees?
  • Why pulse employees?
  • How should you respond once you get feedback from employees?
  • How does the employee experience relate to improving the customer experience?
  • How can a pulse help with the new circumstances in a COVID-19 world?
  • What are some of the challenges in administering a pulse, and what resources can help?

I’m Patty Riskind and I’m the head of global healthcare at Qualtrics. I have worked in the healthcare industry for over 30 years, helping hospitals, medical practices, health plans, and life sciences organizations capture feedback from their customers, their patients, their members, as well as their employees and their communities.

And I am thrilled to have the opportunity to build our healthcare business at Qualtrics. I’ve been at the company for about a year and a half and, with COVID-19, the public health need has definitely been front and center. So I’ve been busy having fun with that, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with you today.

What is a pulse for employees?

A pulse is administering a survey to employees, to understand what they think about a particular issue, and how they’re feeling with the day-to-day environment. It can be administered through your intranet or on a website by just placing a URL. So, you can ask your team to click on that and give feedback and response to particular questions, or you can send an email or you can send a text. It can be administered any way that is most convenient for your workforce.

We also have ways for desk-less employees to receive a pulse so you can get their feedback as well. So, if someone doesn’t have an email or a computer onsite, there are a variety of ways to do outreach to better understand what is in the minds of your workforce and we call that pulsing.

Why pulse employees?

Especially these days, it is important to hear what your employees are thinking, and how they’re feeling. What might be an issue and what’s going well? So pulsing allows you to take the pulse of employees to better understand if there are any issues. If there are any concerns, or if they’re feeling good. It’s a great way to monitor morale, as well as asking specific questions about particular initiatives, or particular events that may have happened, to get feedback from the employee base and policy in particular departments.

To understand how that department is feeling is also critical. We also have ways to pulse a workforce on their understanding of new initiatives or their ability to understand and accept the training that they may have recently received.

There are a variety of things that you can measure that will give you insight into what is working and what’s not. It’s important to monitor your employees and to understand exactly where their head is. Do they have the resources or the communication that they need in order to be as productive as possible?

How should you respond once you get feedback from employees?

What do you do with the information after you’ve collected it? The most important part is actually doing something, so don’t pulse without the intention of taking action. Whether that’s just summarizing what you learned or actually announcing specific initiatives in response to the feedback that you’ve received.

It’s critical, if you’re going to ask, to do something with that information. So for example, if you’re pulsing in response to an onboarding process and certain things are uncovered through that process, that indicates that you need to take some action to streamline the process, to better communicate, to put certain steps in place, and to make it easier.

It’s very important that you not only take those actions, but that you communicate that you’ve taken those actions in order to continue to get your workforce to participate in ongoing pulses, based on whatever topic or issue that may be important in the moment. You need to make sure that they feel heard and that you are responding in accordance with what you’re learning.

How does the employee experience relate to improving the customer experience?

Measuring employee experience is very important to understand the current state of your workforce. There is a direct correlation between the engagement of your workforce and the customer experience. Understanding how your employees are feeling, if there are specific issues or concerns that they have in capturing feedback on the workflow, capturing feedback and perceptions related to customers, and how certain things could be improved is critical to understand, measure and understand.

So you can take action on that because oftentimes if you have disgruntled or apathetic employees, it is not lost on the customers doing business with those employees. I work specifically in the healthcare industry and we know that when nurses are engaged or stressed out or tired or enthusiastic, there is a direct impact on the patient experience.

When a nurse is disengaged, oftentimes that results in patients feeling ignored, less catered to, or less taken care of, and that often results in patients complaining. Or when they are surveyed about their patient experience, giving lower marks to that healthcare institution. So knowing that there’s a direct correlation, it’s very important to measure your employee experience and take action if there are particular issues or concerns, in order to basically deliver the best customer experience possible.

How can a pulse help with the new circumstances in a COVID-19 world?

With COVID-19, Qualtrics has rolled out a number of solutions that are helping companies, hospitals, and all kinds of organizations return to work. We have something called an Employee Confidence Pulse, which is allowing organizations to reach out to their workforce to understand what’s needed in order to make them feel comfortable coming back to the workplace.

Do they need masks? Do they have to get tested? Do they need hand sanitizer? Are the desks having to be moved in order to make everyone feel comfortable being at least six feet apart?

We’re in the process of rolling out an Employee Pulse, which really helps businesses figure out what’s it going to take to make their employees feel good about returning to the new normal.

On the flip side, we also have something called the Customer Confidence Pulse. Businesses need to know if their customers are ready to return to doing business as usual, or at least with a mask or with six feet in between. We’re using these solutions to really help manage that process of returning to work.

And what does that look like? What’s needed? And what’s the confidence level, both from a customer perspective, as well as an employee perspective.

What are some of the challenges in administering a pulse, and what resources can help?

In administering an employee pulse, there may be some challenges. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you have employees who don’t have an email address or don’t have a desktop or access to the company’s online community.

We have solutions that help reach those deskless employees like truckers or volunteers, and we can create ways by using their smartphone to allow them to gain access to the pulse so they can participate, too. Trying to reach everyone or trying to reach those that are hard to reach often can present an initial challenge, but Qualtrics is here to help you figure out what’s the best way to do that.

For other resources that Qualtrics can bring to bear, we have something called our XM Institute, which is a group of experts who can bring insight, best practices, and examples to help you better understand the most efficient and effective ways to roll out a pulse for your particular situation. Just by going to the Qualtrics website, you can read about case studies and then reach out to Qualtrics.

We have a number of experts whom we can bring to help make sure that you have the most successful solution possible.



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