All Articles Leadership Communication Tap into the true pulse of your company with these 14 tactics

Tap into the true pulse of your company with these 14 tactics

Entrepreneurs offer advice on tapping into what's happening at your company.

6 min read




The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

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Q. What’s a really good way to get an accurate reading on the pulse of your company from your employees? 

1. Enlist HR’s help

You should make this a primary responsibility of your HR leader, and they should know that you expect to receive accurate reporting on this. While it may seem like passing it off to someone will be limiting, a good HR director will have a fluid understanding of how to check up on the pulse of the company. — Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

2. Arrange offsite one-on-one meetings

If you are serious about finding out what’s going on in your company, you have to make regular time to speak with your employees. Get out of the office. Doing them at your desk feels like a formal review (or inquisition). If you have a big team, you can rotate between departments or levels on a quarterly basis so you’re doing five to 10 coffees each quarter. — John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

3. Have “start/stop/keep” meetings

Meet with team members regularly and ask them three simple questions: What should we start doing? What should we stop doing? What should we keep doing? This usually brings out issues or highlights things the team is really happy about. Also, creating a simple “Issues List” and asking the team to rank top issues the team is facing and then consolidate them usually brings out pulse. — Matt Murphy, Kids in the Game

4. Pay attention to their behaviors

Do team members seem close and come into work smiling on their face, or is your attrition high and people can’t wait to check out at 5 p.m.? Asking questions is great, but if something is wrong, it’s rare someone will actually tell you what’s really going on. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of how people are acting and be proactive about communicating if you feel something is off. — Mark Krassner, Expectful

5. Invest in an employee-engagement platform

We use an employee engagement platform called 15Five that our employees fill out on a weekly basis. It asks them various questions regarding their tasks, workload, goals, etc. that their direct supervisors review. It’s a great way for them to voice any concerns and for our management team to field them. — Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

6. Encourage “constructive complaining”

I think it’s good to have a constructive complaining meeting every once in a while. Ask your employees, “What can we do better as a company?” If you phrase it that way, instead of asking what’s wrong, people will provide solutions instead of problems. If you get everyone to commiserate, you’re going to see some common themes pop up. Even if you can’t address everything, now you know! — Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam

7. Stay involved in your company culture

As an executive, make sure you don’t get detached from your teams and how they’re feeling. Create an environment where there’s an expectation that people can share their thoughts and give feedback. Have small impromptu chats and deep dive meetings with employees. You can’t be involved in everything, but people need to know you care about the work and culture you’ve created. — Brendon Schrader, Antenna

8. Host social events

You can see your employees in a natural setting when you offer socials outside the company or do team building activities with them. How they act or react can help you understand what is going on. — Angela Ruth, Due

9. Put in the time

As simple as it sounds, spending time with your employees is the best way to gauge how they are feeling. Take someone out for coffee, participate in a company social event, or even just walk around the office. You will be amazed how quickly you become attuned to the mood of the company. — Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot

10. Hold open team meetings

Have regular team meetings where employees can openly voice their excitements, concerns, and observations. Building an atmosphere that is safe for employees to engage in this is key to their honesty. In turn, you get the right read on your company. — Abhilash Patel,

11. Automatically collect feedback through TINYPulse

TINYPulse is lightweight way to automatically collect feedback from your employees, and it can be as serious or as casual as you’d like. You’ll get qualitative employee feedback as well as satisfaction stats over time. When the pulse is good, you’ll know this is running in the background collecting information regularly, and when there’s a problem, you’ll be able to identify issues right away. — Roger Lee, Captain401

12. Look at how confident your employees are about their jobs

If you feel that your employees are confident about their position, you can easily gauge the overall stability and success of your business. The most important thing your employees have is their stability, and they will not hide their fear or confidence based on what they are interpreting from your customers. If your company is struggling, your employees will show fear of where they stand. — Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

13. Have them review the company

Oftentimes, companies are so focused on reviewing its employees we forget to have the employees review the company. Give them multiple opportunities to share their views, be it through informal one-on-ones, team meetings or anonymous surveys (I’m a fan of doing all three). By collecting these reviews, you will begin to see how the employees view the company and can make adjustments accordingly. — Stan Garber, Scout RFP

14. Check in on the front lines

Walk “the halls and the floor.” Don’t rely on surveys and second-hand information. Speak with and listen to your employees, most importantly those on the front lines who you may not interact with every day. They are a leading indicator of your company’s health and understand better than anyone else in your company the needs of customers and employees. — Erik Bullen, MageMail