Pulse Survey: Everything You Wanted To Know [A Complete Guide]

Get the whole picture about Pulse Survey. Learn from what, to how to conduct Employee Pulse Surveys with the right questions and following the best practices.


min read

Leading the culture for your organization, employee engagement must have been a key priority for you, given its impact on the bottom line and other attributes of organizational success. While you may be focusing on augmenting experience, are you paying close attention to measuring engagement score to track and monitor progress as well? Invariably, the focus on employee engagement surveys has also been on the rise. To increase the efficacy of surveys, you must ensure that they are conducted in a way that makes them most efficient, results-driven and impactful. It is here that an employee pulse survey comes into the picture.

What is a pulse survey?

Have you been following the conventional approach to survey largely focused on an annual methodology, collecting responses to all the questions together, once a year? If yes, then, a pulse survey is a radical transformation that you must explore. By definition, a pulse survey is short and frequent. On the one hand, they have fewer questions, preferably under 10, to ensure that stakeholders are able to answer them without any fatigue. Furthermore, you should conduct a pulse survey at regular intervals, and not wait for the year end to gauge stakeholder experience.
Types of pulse survey

A pulse survey is an overarching term and is not limited for use to any one type of target group. You may leverage pulse surveys to gauge the pulse, opinion and satisfaction of all their major stakeholders that directly have a business impact. Invariably, two main stakeholders groups that may be most relevant to you include:.

Employee pulse survey

An employee pulse survey is a short survey with crisp and very limited questions that is shared with the employees on regular intervals. The objective is to gauge employee pulse on a set of parameters over a period of time and measure the performance of engagement efforts. You can use an employee pulse survey to get data-driven insights into the overall employee experience and track whether it is transforming for the better or worse.

Customer pulse survey

A customer pulse survey plays a similar role as the one mentioned above, albeit for customers. This involves tracking customer satisfaction with crisp, to the point questions. Obviously, the frequency of customer pulse surveys may not be as high as the employee ones. You can conduct them more frequently than once a year, to also keep your customers engaged and gauge their relationship with the brand.

Why do a pulse survey?

Resistance to change on anything is natural, and, therefore, your business leaders might question the rationale behind moving to a pulse survey over the long drawn tradition of annual surveys. Undoubtedly, the annual surveys have their set of merits and benefits, providing comprehensive and deep insights into employee pulse. However, in the face of a dynamic and uncertain work environment and market conditions, you may want to experiment with a pulse survey, by the virtue of being short and frequent. Following are some of the top reasons as to why you should leverage a pulse survey.

1. Quick turnaround

Pulse surveys by definition are short and crisp. Not only are the number of questions less, they are also to the point and don’t require a lot of thought. Hence, they take less time to complete and employees are able to respond to a pulse survey much faster than a regular long annual survey which requires greater time and attention.

2. Real time insights

Since pulse surveys are conducted on a frequent basis, they are able to deliver real time insights. This can help you address any issue from the very beginning, rather than waiting for the year to end. Real time insights from an employee pulse survey can empower you to make alterations and changes in the approach to engagement as early as possible and, subsequently, gauge whether they work on not, soon.

3. Higher rate of completion

Owing to the fact that the number of questions are less, the rate of completion for a pulse survey is significantly higher. The reason is simple, it takes less time and effort and prevents survey fatigue from kicking in. When employees don’t have to answer lengthy subjective questions that run into two digits, you are likely to get more responses. 

4. Greater engagement

While the primary objective of an employee pulse survey is to measure engagement, they also gradually become a source of augmenting engagement. As contributing to these surveys becomes a part of one’s routine and employees see that their responses are actually making a difference in real time, their engagement is likely to go up and their commitment will also increase.

5. Display value

Finally, frequent surveys which define pulse surveys, showcase a commitment of the organization towards their employees. More often than not, annual surveys are considered to be a tick in the box and don’t excite employees. However, when surveys are frequent, employees see that you are making an effort to augment their experience, which is a direct display of how you value your employees.

What is the purpose of a pulse survey?

Simply choosing a pulse survey over annual ones based on the reasons why a pulse survey may not be enough for you to create a leadership buy-in. Hence, let’s delve into the purpose of a pulse survey. A very obvious answer is that an employee pulse survey will gauge the engagement quotient and help you capture different aspects of employee experience. However, that’s not all, there are several factors which contribute to the purpose of a pulse survey, including:

1. Monitor progress

The benefit of having shorter and more frequent surveys is to make sure that any challenges are addressed at an early stage itself. A pulse survey makes most sense in this case. It can enable you to gauge the problem, identify and implement a solution and again test the same to track and monitor progress. This means that you no longer have to wait for the year to end to see if your engagement practices worked or not, and then another year to fix the remaining challenges. Real time insights result in real time solutions and real time increase in employee satisfaction.

2. Directed focus

Another purpose of a pulse survey is to have directed focus. Your annual survey is likely to cover every aspect of employee experience and the focus on a few aspects of high importance diminishes. Pulse surveys, on the other hand, can help you work at a micro level and fix one employee experience parameter at a time with a directed focus. This way, you can give equal attention to each aspect of engagement to add to a positive experience.

3. Culture of feedback and communication

Employee surveys can be an effective tool for you to communicate with the employees and gather their feedback. However, when surveys are conducted only once a year, their contribution to facilitating more pronounced feedback and communication is limited. On the other hand, with pulse surveys, you can offer employees an opportunity to share feedback and communicate with the organizational leadership on a regular basis. This will invariably foster a culture of feedback, empowering people to share their voice more frequently.

4. Easier to manage and analyze

Finally, annual surveys are not just difficult to complete from an employee lens, but may be equally difficult for you to manage and analyze too. It is likely to be a tedious task for you to comprehend responses for 1000s of questions and garner insights from them to create impact. However, pulse surveys are easier to manage and analyze as the number of questions and types of responses are limited and uniform. This will help to develop the right insights and deliver impact-driven results.

How to create a pulse survey?

How to create a pulse survey is a natural question that is likely to come to your mind when you are excited about conducting pulse surveys to gauge employee engagement. The secret recipe for creating an effective pulse survey lies in ensuring a fair balance for all the important parameters that make a pulse survey successful. You cannot simply throw in random questions to employees every month without a clear strategy. This will yield no result, leading to wastage of time, effort and resources. Here are some top tips to ensure success with employee pulse surveys:

1. Determine length

Start by identifying the number of questions that should be a part of the pulse survey. Make sure they are on the lower spectrum of the number line, preferably, in a single digit. You may even have just one focused question, as we have seen that can be extremely powerful and impactful.

2. Determine frequency

Based on the number of questions, you can decide how frequently the survey should go out. Invariably, length and frequency are inversely proportional. This means that the lesser the number of questions, the more frequently it can be conducted, without survey fatigue kicking in. For instance, if an organization just has one question, it can even send surveys on a daily basis.

3. Decide cadence

Determining the frequency will also help in deciding the cadence. While an organization might decide that it will send the survey once a week, but also deciding which day of every week it should go is equally important. This invariably creates a recall value for employees, and they expect the survey on that particular day and are prepared to answer. Catching them off guard on any random day will negatively impact the completion rate.   

4. Identify parameters to measure

To create a survey, it is important to identify the parameters that need to be measured. While a long survey might capture all parameters at once, a shorter one like a pulse survey needs to be crisp and direct. Based on the frequency and length, you can pick one theme like satisfaction or wellness or some other and share questions on the same for a particular time frame. 

5. Identify mode of use

Any pulse survey you create must focus on the user experience it is able to deliver. Identify the device your employees most use to answer the survey and make sure the survey is calibrated for a positive experience. This would determine the number of words in each question, the format, etc. More often than not, employees finish surveys on their phones, and, therefore, making them mobile friendly is important. 

Top pulse survey questions for employee engagement

Creating the right pulse survey questions is the key to success. As they are conducted frequently, the questions must be crisp and easy to understand. At the same time, answering them should also be simple. While some questions can be subjective, others should be objective, ratings or very short answers. You can also experiment with a measurement scale of agreement and disagreement. Here are a few pulse survey questions that you can use as a starting point:

  1. How happy and satisfied are you at work?
  2. Do you feel confident about sharing your opinions?
  3. How often are you appreciated for your work?
  4. Do you have a clear understanding of the benefits and incentives offered?
  5. Are you satisfied with the current wellness practices?
  6. Do you have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities?
  7. Would you recommend others to work here?
  8. How would you rate the learning and development opportunities presented to you?
  9. How much do you trust the organization’s leadership?
  10. What do you think about the work culture?
  11. How open and transparent is the communication at all levels?
  12. Do you face any challenge in communicating with your colleagues and managers?
  13. How often does your manager take interest in your career development?
  14. How often does the leadership seek your feedback?
  15. Are you satisfied with your growth in the company?
  16. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  17. Do you have access to all the resources to unlock your potential?
  18. Do you feel motivated to give in your 100%?
  19. Do you feel like a valued member of the organization?
  20. Do you think you are a perfect fit for your role?

How to conduct a pulse survey successfully: Pulse survey best practices

The success of an employee pulse survey depends not only on the questions framed and the cadence, but on the entire process from start to finish. Unless you follow a robust and comprehensive approach, leveraging the benefits of a pulse survey will be difficult and the purpose of putting in so much effort will be defeated. To make things easier, we have compiled a list of steps that can help you to conduct a pulse survey successfully:

1. Have a clear objective

The first step is to have a very clear objective of what you wish to achieve out of the survey and draft questions accordingly. Since the survey is very directed and niche, each one should have targeted questions that help give an answer to the identified objective. For instance, if the objective is to gauge wellbeing, questions on work life balance, wellness benefits, mindfulness, etc. must be included.

2. Popularize the idea in the organization

It is also very important to get a buy-in across the organization with respect to the pulse survey. On the face of it, a frequent survey might come across as an added burden for employees which they may want to shirk away from. Create awareness about the benefits of the same and how it will in fact reduce the fatigue that sets in when employees have to fill those lengthy annual surveys. Across all levels of the organizations, indicate the rationale and create an acceptance for pulse surveys.

3. Roll out the survey

Once the survey is ready and so is the workforce, roll out the survey. However, especially for the first few times, only sending an email may not be enough. You must encourage your managers to personally communicate the same to their teams and having a small company wide announcement can also be explored. Additionally, send a couple of follow-ups and reminders to get employees in the habit of filling frequent surveys.

4. Remove obstacles

A pulse survey can come with a few obstacles that you should remove beforehand. For instance, managers should encourage their team members to set aside some time for the survey, based on the frequency. This would allow them to focus just on the survey and increase its effectiveness. Similarly, making it calibrated for different devices as well as making it user friendly can remove any experience obstacles.

5. Analyze the responses

Conducting a pulse survey doesn’t end with collecting responses. You must analyze the results and gauge where the performance has been decent and where there is scope for improvement. If many of the team members report poor recognition, it reflects that you need to step up the appreciation efforts to augment motivation. The idea is to study the responses to get actionable insights which can be implemented. Additionally, a plan of action must be created to bridge the identified gaps.

6. Share the results

Being transparent is key to the success of an employee pulse survey. Therefore, you must share the results of the same with all team members. If you feel that sharing results might highlight your weakness, think again. Your employees are already aware of the same and talking about it openly will only lead to improvements. But, you must support the results with a potential course of action to address the challenges and open it for discussion. The idea is to not only understand the problems of employees, but also hear from them on how they would like them to be solved. Having a democratic approach can be beneficial here.

7. Take action

Invariably, when a plan of action is ready, there is no point delaying it. You should go ahead and take action. You might need to invest in new programs or resources, offering greater training and learning opportunities, etc. To ensure that employees’ confidence in pulse surveys and organization’s leadership doesn’t decline, implementing the decided action steps is important.

8. Monitor and alter

Finally, it is important to track and monitor progress based on the action taken. For instance, if you have invested in some tool to augment communication, it is important to again gauge the employee pulse on communication to check whether the needle has moved or not. The idea is to understand the effectiveness of any new practice and make alterations to the approach to achieve the initial goal.

Marching towards effective pulse surveys with SuperBeings

Sustaining pulse surveys overtime can be a tedious task for organizations internally. Fortunately,  a partner like SuperBeings can address all your challenges. It offers a customized solution for pulse surveys with one question a day. It can help you capture maximum responses, offers real time data driven insights to managers, aligned to industry benchmarks and helps track performance over different time periods to gauge progress and achieve maximum effectiveness. The bottom line is that the more frequently you measure engagement, the faster your organization will grow, contributing to an inclusive, positive and forward looking employee experience. 

Suggested reading:

Custom Pulse Surveys to Enhance Employee Experience

How to Choose the Best Employee Pulse Survey Tool in 2022

Like what you read? Now see it in action in your team, book a free demo with our experts today!

Garima Shukla

Marketing, SuperBeings

Hello world! I am Garima and I research and write on everything we are doing to make the world of work a better place at SuperBeings

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50+ Most Useful Employee Onboarding Survey Questions

‘Onboarding: How to get your new employees up to speed in half the time’ - George Bradt, founder and Chairman PrimeGenesis

Did you know that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%? 

However, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job at onboarding new employees. 

This clearly states that while employee onboarding has a direct impact on the bottom line, most organizations miss out on how to get it right. 

Don’t let that happen to you. To onboard new employees like a pro, keep reading.

What is an onboarding survey?

By definition, an onboarding survey is a questionnaire that is administered on new hires to gauge their initial experience and level of satisfaction, in an attempt to understand their engagement and retention potential. 

As an HR, you can get multiple insights from an onboarding survey, including:

  • what employees thought about the organization when they heard about it for the first time
  • how their impression changed over time 
  • whether or not their experience aligns with their expectations, etc.

It can help you estimate how long the employees are likely to stay and how you can further optimize your onboarding process to make it more aligned with employee expectations. 

Why are onboarding surveys important?

An effective onboarding survey can help you reflect on your performance through the onboarding process, which directly impacts KPIs for organizational success, including:

1. Retention

93% of employers believe a good onboarding experience is critical in influencing a new employee’s decision whether to stay with the company. At the same time, 25% of a company’s new hires would leave within a year if the onboarding experience was poor. 

2. eNPS

20% of new hires are unlikely to recommend an employer to a friend or family member and an onboarding survey can help you identify the reasons for the same. However, new team members who were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date also had a 79% increase in willingness to refer others. Thus, illustrating how onboarding surveys and feedback can impact eNPS.

Read: How to use eNPS for better employee engagement

3. Satisfaction and Engagement

Employees with exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace and 70% say they have ‘the best possible job’.

4. Performance

77% of employees who went through a formal onboarding process were able to meet their first performance goals. However, 49% of individuals who failed to reach their first performance milestone had no official onboarding instruction. An onboarding survey can help you determine the effectiveness of your onboarding process.  

5. Other

In addition, your new employees might also have an inclination towards providing feedback as a part of the onboarding survey, which you will lose out if you don’t conduct the same. Research shows that only 26% of new employees recall being asked for feedback on their candidate journey and the hiring process before their start date wherein 91% of new hires are willing to provide this feedback. 

Employee onboarding survey: Best practices

Now that you understand the importance of an employee onboarding survey, let’s quickly discuss how to effectively run an onboarding survey. 

1. Set the cadence

You must coincide your employee onboarding survey with important milestones for the new employee in the organization. Mostly, these milestones coincide with the end of the first few months. Thus, you should circulate your onboarding survey after 30, 60 and 90 days respectively, with different objectives for each. Furthermore, you can send interim surveys in case you feel the need, for instance, when the employee starts a project, or when the orientation process is over. 

“Effective employee onboarding isn’t about swag, stickers, & company value pamphlets on their desk the 1st day. But, how you help them understand their goals & how co values are interwoven in operating are more important.”- Suhail Doshi, founder and chairman of Mixpanel, Inc.

2. Identify critical areas and build questions

Based on the milestones or cadence you have set up, it is important to identify areas you would want to cover with each milestone. For instance:

In the first 30 days, you should focus on themes like: 

  • Orientation process
  • Initial thoughts
  • Expectation alignment 
  • Recruitment process
  • Onboarding experience

In 60 days, you can touch on themes like:

  • Knowledge transfer
  • Level of engagement and satisfaction
  • Induction process

By the end of 90 days, focus should shift towards:

  • Manager support
  • Role clarity
  • Likelihood to stay
  • Organizational alignment

Once you have decided the themes, you can start building questions, a snapshot of which is covered in the next section or you can download the template now here. The themes can be fluid across milestones, depending on the context for your organization. 

3. Roll out the survey for participation

Once the milestone arrives, you should roll out the onboarding survey and drive participation. It is important to explain to your new employees why the onboarding survey is important and how they can fill it up. Give them the requisite time, deadlines and communicate what will be the next steps to encourage them to participate. 

4. Follow up

Simply rolling out the survey is not enough. You must reach out to your new employees to remind them to fill the onboarding survey as amidst numerous new things, they might lose track of it. Don’t push too hard, yet send subtle reminders to get genuine responses. For instance: employee survey tools such as SuperBeings integrate with chat tools like Slack, Teams, Gchat to send personalized nudges to fill out the survey in the flow of work at set intervals as well as allows them to participate directly without switching context. 

Unlock a wide array of survey questions and employee analytics. See how SuperBeings can help

5. Take action

Once your onboarding survey responses are in, slice and dice them to get insights into what your employees feel and leverage the data points to further refine your onboarding process to facilitate engagement, retention and advocacy from the beginning. 

Sample onboarding survey questions for 30-60-90 day review

Taking cue from the section above, here are 50+ onboarding survey questions that you can leverage to gauge the pulse of your new employees as they complete different milestones.

You can also download these questions as a template and use it whenever you need. Click here to download

1. Onboarding survey questions for 30 day review

a) Onboarding and orientation process

  1. How can we change or improve the onboarding process?
  2. What did you like most about the onboarding process?
  3. Was the orientation interactive and engaging?
  4. Did the onboarding process meet your expectations?
  5. Do you feel welcome and proud to be working here?
  6. How would you rate the duration and quality of your onboarding experience?
  7. How would you describe your first day?

b) Decision related questions

  1. What were the top 3 reasons for joining this company?
  2. Do you think those reasons have been met?

c) Technical training and knowledge transfer

  1. Have you received the training that you were promised during your induction?
  2. Did the training meet your expectations and was accurately described during the hiring process?
  3. Is the training relevant to your roles and responsibilities?
  4. Were adequate tools and materials shared during training to facilitate knowledge transfer?

2. Onboarding survey questions for 60 day review

a) Engagement related questions

  1. Would you recommend the company to others in your network?
  2. Do you see yourself working here in 2 years?
  3. Do you feel motivated to come to work in the morning?
  4. Do you feel prepared for your role?

b) Onboarding experience

  1. Did the first 30 days of onboarding go as expected?
  2. What is the one thing you would like to change from your experience so far?

c) Company policies

  1. Are you clear on the different company policies shared with you?
  2. Do you have any concerns about any of the policies that you would like to highlight?
  3. Do you think any policy is missing that you think must be a part of our governance?

d) Questions about team

  1. Have your team members been integral in smooth onboarding?
  2. Have you been able to connect and collaborate with all your team members?
  3. Do you consider your team members to be welcoming and inclusive?
  4. What is the thing you would like to change about how your team works currently?

e) Reflection questions

  1. Have you been able to achieve the goals you set out for your 60 days?
  2. How has your journey been so far?
  3. What has been your biggest accomplishment in 60 days?
  4. What are some achievements you would like to ensure in the next 30 days?

3. Onboarding survey questions for 90 day review

a) Role and expectation clarity

  1. Do you have an understanding of what is expected from you as a part of this role?
  2. Is your role similar to what was communicated to you during the hiring process?
  3. Do you have the necessary resources you need for the role?
  4. Do you have clarity of your goals?
  5. Do you understand how your work will be evaluated?
  6. Does your role meet your career aspirations?
  7. What do you think is the most difficult part about your role?
  8. What excites you most about your current role?
  9. Do you understand the importance of the work you do?

b) Organizational alignment

  1. Do your values align with the organizational values?
  2. Do you believe in the vision and mission of the organization?
  3. Do you believe your ideas are valued?
  4. Do you have clarity on the organization’s future plans and do you align with them?
  5. Do you see yourself as a part of this organization 5 years from now?

c) Manager support

  1. Have your conversations with the managers been effective?
  2. Does your manager support your career aspirations?
  3. Does your manager provide you with the necessary support to perform your role effectively?
  4. Do you receive regular feedback from your manager?
  5. Does your manager include you in key discussions, wherever applicable?

d) Other questions

  1. What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
  2. Do you feel your onboarding was successful?
  3. How can we help you in improving the overall experience?
  4. Do you feel included and accepted by everyone in the team?
  5. How do you see yourself progressing from here?
  6. Do you have access to all the information you need?

Wrapping up (TL:DR)

By now, it would be very clear to you that an employee onboarding survey can help you in multiple ways to create a high performance culture. It can enable you to augment retention, engagement, satisfaction and advocacy among employees to ensure that there is minimal turnover and you are able to attract high quality talent. Ensure that you roll out an onboarding survey at 30/60/90 days frequency to check onboarding experience, knowledge transfer, manager support, role clarity, etc. 

You should focus on other forms of employee feedback on culture, training and development opportunities, level of engagement, manager effectiveness, workplace collaboration, work-life balance, among others. 

Finally, you should focus on leveraging technology and automation to add efficiency and effectiveness to your onboarding survey and process. 

Research shows, automating onboarding tasks resulted in a 16% increase in retention rates for new hires.

Thus, consider partnering with a survey platform which enables you to:

  • Use science-backes best practices onboarding survey templates
  • Track employee milestones automatically and roll out surveys on due date with zero to minimal manual intervention 
  • Integrate surveys with existing chat tools for reminders and sending out survey questions
  • Use NLP for decoding sentiments behind open comments to understand the reason behind each response
  • Use other employee engagement surveys to get the whole picture of new hire engagement

Related Reading

How to use employee engagement survey comments

Best employee engagement survey tools in the market today

min read

How to Give Constructive Feedback? (With Examples)

When it comes to performance management for employees, you would agree that feedback plays an important role. However, only offering positive feedback and appreciating the performance of your employees is not enough. You need to give them an equal amount of constructive feedback which is specific to ensure high levels of performance. If you feel that your employees may not embrace constructive feedback, think again.

Research shows that 92% of people believe that constructive feedback is effective at improving performance.

In this article we will help you understand how you can give constructive feedback and examples you can leverage. 

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is essentially a tool that most forward looking professionals leverage to help others in their team with specific and constructive inputs on areas where one’s performance can be improved. Put simply, if you have an employee who doesn’t pay attention to detail, constructive feedback involves helping them acknowledge that this is a problem area, and more than that, enabling them with the support to overcome the same. It involves not only identifying a performance problem, but also, providing action items and ways to address the same. 

Importance of constructive feedback

Now that you have an understanding of what constructive feedback means, let’s quickly look at some of the top reasons why constructive feedback is important. Constructive feedback:

  • Improves performance: It enables your team members to understand how they can perform better with specific inputs on areas of improvement
  • Reinforces expectations: It helps your employees clearly gauge what is expected out of them in terms of performance, and sets clear deliverables and measurement parameters to avoid any surprises during performance appraisal
  • Boosts morale and confidence: It involves also appreciating employees for a job well done and illustrates how they can become a better version of themselves
  • Facilitates employee stickiness: It ensures that employees see your organization which cares about their professional growth and encourages them to stick around longer, and even act as advocates for others.

Positive feedback vs constructive feedback 

When delivering feedback, you must understand the difference between positive and constructive feedback and ensure that you use both of them where they fit the best. Here a quick distinction between positive feedback vs constructive feedback:

  • Positive feedback focuses on a job well done and highlights where an employee has excelled. Whereas, constructive feedback talks about areas of improvement and action items for desirable outcomes. 
  • While positive feedback seeks to reinforce the positive behavior, constructive feedback focuses more on facts and traits.
  • Positive feedback is a reflection of the past performance and doesn’t necessarily have a futuristic orientation, however, constructive feedback takes reference from the past to feed better performance in the future.  
  • “Your presentation during the board meeting was crisp and informative” is an example of positive feedback. Whereas, “While your presentation was informative, you can focus more on articulation to ensure that all your research is communicated in a way that everyone is able to understand. Using pointers can help here”, is an example of constructive feedback.
In a nutshell, positive feedback is a reinforcement tool, whereas constructive feedback is a mechanism to facilitate development. 

How to give constructive feedback

With an understanding of the fundamentals of constructive feedback, let’s quickly jump to the best practices which can help you deliver constructive feedback in a nuanced and effective manner. 

1. Decide when to give the constructive feedback

The first thing you need to focus on is ensuring that the timing of the constructive feedback is ideal. For instance, a busy period when the employee is putting in a lot of effort may not be ideal for giving them feedback about their performance from three months ago. At the same time, ensure that you provide constructive feedback regularly and consistently, to avoid recency or primacy bias. However, don’t offer feedback when you are angry about their performance either. 

2. Set the context and build trust

Before you get down to giving the feedback, set the tone. Share with the employee the purpose of the meeting and make them comfortable prior to sharing your reflections. It is important that you build trust so your employees can share their perspective and don’t feel intimidated by what you have to say. 

3. Share your reflections

Once the context and tone is set, start sharing your reflections. Your focus should be on sharing what you have observed about their performance. However, ensure that you also share how the same is likely to impact their career growth as well as organizational success. For instance, if you are providing constructive feedback about missing deadlines, you can use the impact of losing clients for the organization and a casual attitude marker for the employee.

4. Give specific examples

When sharing reflections, use specific examples of when you noticed a particular behavior. For instance, in the above example, you can share instances of when the employee missed his/her deadlines. Ensure that you use examples which illustrate a pattern, rather than a one off incident, which is very uncommon. Furthermore, always use concrete examples and not interpretation of what you hear or see.   

5. Balance positive and negative

With constructive feedback, your focus should be on helping the employee improve their performance and work on their areas of development.

However, simply pointing out their weaknesses or negatives in their performance will not help. You need to also talk about some of the positive aspects of their performance and how those qualities can help them absorb and implement their constructive feedback. 

6. Be empathetic

Emotional intelligence is extremely important when delivering constructive feedback. You cannot be apathetic towards your employee when delivering the same. Put yourself in their shoes to choose your phrases carefully. We will share some examples in the next section. Also, use your EQ to read the situation when you are delivering the feedback. If you see that the employee is getting uncomfortable, take a pause and comfort them first. Read their gestures and body language to ensure that the employee is not feeling attacked. 

7. Don’t make it personal

Like it or not, constructive feedback involves pointing out one’s weaknesses and areas of improvement. However, you should refrain from equating the performance of the employee with his/her personality or whole self. For instance, if someone misses deadlines, encourage them to be more organized or prioritize important work, than labeling them as a procrastinator. 

8. Encourage response from the other side

While you are delivering the constructive feedback, you have to make sure it is a dialogue.

The idea is to give the other person enough room to share their side of the story.

Try to understand whether or not they agree with your feedback and how they perceive the same. They may share the lack of support or resources, which have resulted in a weak performance. Be open to some reverse feedback as well. Again, your EQ must be at play here. If your employee has an outburst, or reacts negatively, you need to stay composed and calm them down. 

9. Discuss potential solutions

Once you and your employee are aligned on the areas of improvement, the most important part of constructive feedback is to provide adequate solutions to address the performance challenges. Don’t give abstract or vague solutions like be punctual if the employee misses deadlines. Rather, give very specific and action oriented solutions which are directed towards a particular outcome. The idea is to collectively understand the cause of the weak area of performance and use concrete solutions to remedy the same. 

10. Create a time bound action plan

Now that you have shared some potential solutions, you must revise the top action items with your employee to avoid any confusion. At the same time, you should focus on creating a time bound plan with key milestones to ensure that development is taking place. Summarize what was discussed and how you will proceed from there. Best is to set up a date to review the progress to ensure constructive feedback is paid heed to. 

Read our article on Start Stop Continue Feedback to give action oriented feedback

20 Constructive feedback examples 

Here are top 20 constructive feedback examples that you can use during your next conversation. To make your constructive feedback more effective, we have also illustrated examples of what you should steer away from.

1. Communication skills

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I would really like to know how you have progressed on the tasks assigned to you last month. It would be ideal if you could share a progress update on what has been achieved with a small summary of challenges/ support needed at the end of every week to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have not kept your team updated about your work, this is highly unprofessional.

2. Attention to detail

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I was going through the work you submitted last week and I can see you have put in a lot of effort. However, I could see that there were some small errors and inaccuracies in the report across multiple sections. I believe that if you proofread your work thoroughly before turning it in, it will reduce the number of iterations and improve your quality of work. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You seem completely distracted as you have been submitting flawed and below average work, this will not be tolerated. 

3. Time management

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I understand that you are working on multiple projects, however, you need to ensure that the most important projects are not overlooked and their timelines are not missed. Therefore, I would suggest you create a list of tasks you are working on and check with the respective reporting managers on the priority and set clear expectations to ensure that no deadlines are missed. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have missed your deadline again, it seems like you are not serious about you work. 

4. Goal achievement

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you have been able to achieve only a part of the goals that you set out for this year. Maybe you were trying to spread yourself too thin. I would suggest you reduce the number of projects you are working on and ensure that the goals you set you are able to achieve. Furthermore, you must be vocal about the support or resources you need to achieve your goals. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

Are you even serious about your work, your level of goal achievement indicates otherwise. 

5. Absenteeism

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you have been taking some time off lately, without any prior intimation. Let’s try to understand if there is a particular reason for the same. We can work on your schedule to make it more flexible. 

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You have been missing all meetings lately, this tardiness is not appreciated. 

6. Problem solving

Example of how to give constructive feedback

I see that you are excellent at execution of ideas. However, I believe that you need to focus more on coming up with solutions on your own. I would suggest participating more in the brainstorming sessions and coming up with solutions. Try to think on your own, before you reach out to others with the problem.

Example of how not to give constructive feedback

You lack any problem solving capabilities, and will be stuck to execution for the rest of your career.

Wrapping up

Constructive feedback is integral to organizational success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always use facts and examples to deliver constructive feedback
  • Don’t forget to differentiate between positive and constructive feedback
  • Make sure you have practical tips or suggestions 
  • Leverage specific constructive feedback examples for specific performance problems, instead of being vague

Related Reading

50 top 360 degree feedback question examples

150 performance review phrases

min read

How to Use Performance Management Cycle for High Performance Teams

While performance management has been a key priority for organizations, for a long time, year end reviews were considered to be the most effective way to facilitate the same. However, recently organizations are observing a shift towards continuous performance management with an introduction of the performance management cycle. This article will focus on different aspects of the performance management cycle and how it enables unlocking the potential of high performance teams. 

What is a performance management cycle?

Before going into the diverse aspects, you should first understand what a performance management cycle essentially is. If you have an idea of what continuous performance management is, you’re already a step ahead in the understanding. Performance management cycle primarily is a way or a model in which you evaluate or focus on the performance of your employees throughout the year. The idea is to break down the different elements of employee performance into different stages and focus on them consistently. It starts with setting goals and ends with rewards for a job well done, which leads to setting of new goals and the performance management cycle resets.  

Understanding 4 stages of the performance management cycle

While you may want to divide your performance management cycle into any number of stages, mostly there are four stages. 


The first stage, at the very beginning of the performance management cycle, focuses on creating a plan for the performance ahead. The idea is to have a clear understanding on what your employee must achieve and how you will eventually review and evaluate them. During the planning stage, you and your team member, collectively should:

  • Set SMART goals of OKRs based on the performance expectations
  • Have clear KPIs or metrics which you will use for performance appraisal
  • Clarify how individual goals or OKRs contribute to organizational vision

Thus, the planning stage of the performance management cycle sets the tone for the year ahead and ensures there is clarity at all levels. 


Once the goals have been set in the planning stage, you enter the monitoring stage of the performance management cycle. This stage essentially focuses on ensuring that things are moving as planned. The idea is to ascertain that your team members are more or less on track for specific milestones outlined as a part of goal setting. Additionally, this stage will help you address any performance challenges that you may observe, sooner than later. Monitoring stage includes:

  • Regular one-on-one meetings to review performance so far
  • Providing feedback to your team members on what you think has been going well and what needs to improve
  • Relooking at goals in case they are behind or ahead of schedule in terms of achievement
  • Understanding the kind of extra support or resources your team members might need to improve their performance
  • Having candid conversations with your employees on wellbeing, professional development objectives, and other factors which may impact performance, morale and engagement 

The monitoring stage essentially focuses on tracking the performance of your employees against the set goals to provide constructive feedback and help them perform better. 


The third stage of the performance management cycle comes into existence towards the end. It involves reviewing the performance and providing ratings based on the established KPIs and metrics. While this is the formal review process, if you have been constantly monitoring the performance of your employees, this will essentially be a consolidation of all the reviews and feedback shared overtime. While delivering performance reviews, ensure that you:

  • Shed any performance review biases that might come your way, including primacy effect, recency bias, halo/horns effect, etc. 
  • Give your employees concrete examples and facts to support your review, rather than being vague and ambiguous
  • Should try to get 360 degree feedback and review for your team members
  • Answer some of the following questions to create an informed review:
  1. Did the employee achieve the goals set out?
  2. What were the key enablers in their achievement?
  3. Did you observe growth in the employee during the performance management cycle?
  4. Did the employee share any concerns, and were they addressed?

Since you have been connecting regularly with your employees, the reviews will not come as a surprise to them, but will help you monitor the trends of their performance and guide the next stage for the employee’s professional growth. 


Finally, the rewarding stage in the performance management cycle acts as a culmination to one cycle and sets stage for the commencement of the next. The objective is to take into account their performance over the performance management cycle and create a culture of rewards and recognition to celebrate and appreciate high performance. Some of the quick ways to reward your employees include, giving them:

  • Healthy increments and promotions
  • Public appreciation through social media, company intranet
  • Bonuses and other incentives
  • Rewards like vouchers, gifts, etc. 

This stage is important to make your employees feel valued and motivate them to keep the performance going. It will also push average performers to step up their efforts and enable you to create a high performance culture. 

Why is a performance management cycle important?

Now that you understand the various stages of a performance management cycle, let’s quickly look at why the performance management cycle is important for your organization. It will help you:

  • Clearly define goals and expectations from your employees to drive directed performance.
  • Keep your employees engaged. When you constantly connect with your employees for 1-o-1 meetings and consistently take interest in their performance improvement, they are likely to feel engaged, satisfied and motivated.
  • Address performance challenges preemptively and provide your employees with corrective actions, resources and support to bridge performance issues.
  • Retain talent as employees who feel that their performance is being valued and receive regular feedback tend to stay longer at an organization. 

Top 4 ways in which performance management cycle leads to high performance

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, a performance management cycle can help you build a high performance culture in a number of ways. Some of the top aspects include:

Clarifies KPIs and metrics

What constitutes high performance can be abstract. For some, closing 5 deals can be high performance, for others, it might be closing 15. Planning stage in the performance management lifecycle will help your employees understand what constitutes high performance and thus, proceed towards it. 

Boosts recognition

A key part of the performance management cycle is the rewards and recognition. When employees feel their performance is being valued and recognized, they tend to double up their efforts, leading to a high performance team.

Facilitates communication and feedback

Monitoring and tracking followed by 1-o-1 conversations can help you communicate with your employees regularly. Not only will you track their performance, but will also listen to their concerns or challenges and offer them feedback. Such conversations and feedback have a positive impact on performance, leading to a high performance culture. 

Ensures appropriate training

One of the foundations of high performance is enabling your team members to undergo the right training. Performance management cycle can help you understand which training is important for your employees at which performance stage, realizing high quality results. 

Top tips for managers for effective performance management cycle

As a manager, there are several ways in which you can unlock the true potential of a performance management cycle. You are one of the key stakeholders who plays an important role in every stage of the cycle. Here are a few tips that can help you augment the effectiveness of the performance management cycle:

  • Invite employee participation and make the OKR setting process collaborative and action oriented
  • Provide constructive feedback to your employees, instead of being too sweet or too negative
  • Help your employees access the right resources and training they need to meet their goals
  • Give your employees a safe space to share their concerns and challenges
  • Don’t micromanage your employees in the name of monitoring
  • Be open about relooking at the goals in case of a misalignment as you move along the performance management cycle

Benefits of using a performance management tool

A performance management tool can significantly help you streamline your performance management cycle by offering the following benefits. 

Performance snapshots

Get automated performance snapshots of your employee’s performance over the 9 box grid to track performance trends over time and provide reviews without recency bias.

1:1 conversations

Leverage guided templates with AI based suggestions for your 1:1 conversations with employees during the monitoring stage based on performance over time. Receive suggested talking points for goal-centered conversations.

Compare performance

Look at historic feedback to see improvement in performance and compare performance over time. You can also compare performance of peers over specific parameters. 

Related Reading

How to create a high performance culture using OKRs

7 steps to effective performance management system

12 common performance review biases to avoid

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