University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Pulse Frequently Asked Questions


Will my supervisor know my survey responses?
No. Campus, college, and administrative unit leadership only receive reports that show aggregate results. Reports are issued only where there are sufficient responses to be statistically meaningful and to ensure anonymity of respondents. Supervisors will never see any individual responses.
If the survey is confidential, why is there a unique identification number associated with my survey responses?
A unique identification number allows your survey responses to be linked with other information about you already in University databases. For example, your employee group (e.g. faculty or civil service) can be linked to your survey thus eliminating the need to ask you this question in the survey.
Who will be able to see my individual survey responses?
Individual survey responses only are available to the handful of researchers associated with the Pulse Survey project. These include a research team at the Human Resources Research Institute (HRRI) at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management led by Professor Theresa Glomb and from the Office of Institutional Research (OIR). Reports with aggregate results are issued to leadership only where there are sufficient responses to be statistically significant and to ensure anonymity of respondents. While the Office of Human Resources sponsors the Pulse Survey, it is not part of the research team. No one other than the researchers affiliated with HRRI or OIR will have access to your individual data.


Taking the Survey

Why is it important for me to take the Pulse survey?
With over 18,000 employees, the University cannot have a conversation with all employees about their work experiences. The Pulse Survey allows us to gather views of our faculty and staff about satisfaction and engagement with important aspects of work at the University. With the many transitions in University leadership, it is more important than ever for new leaders to get a clear picture of employee views. The survey results provide opportunities to inform decision making, assess alignment with our mission and priorities, gauge how we are progressing, and appreciate employee perspectives.
Why do the survey questions use differing scales for responding (e.g. 5-point or 7-point scales)?
Each question uses a response scale that has been validated through research. Additionally, some of the questions and scales are used by other organizations thereby allowing the University the possibility for external benchmarking on those questions. This has led to a variety of scales for questions on the Pulse Survey. Now that the survey is on its fifth iteration, changing scales on some of the questions to achieve consistency across the survey would mean losing the rich longitudinal comparisons that we have for these questions.
When taking the survey, am I able to revise an earlier response on a previous page?
No. The survey is broken down into pages, and, once you complete a page and select “continue,” you cannot go back to a previous page. Note that you are able to save your already completed survey responses and continue from that point in the survey if you are not able to complete the survey in one sitting.
If my colleague did not receive or misplaced the email invitation to take the Pulse Survey, what can I do to help?
Advise your colleague to contact Scott Murdoch at to obtain an invitation with a unique identification number. Please do not forward your email invitation because it has an identification number unique to you. This number allows your survey responses to be linked with other information about you already in University databases.
Why is the 2012 survey coming at the end of the spring semester when academic life is so busy?
Invitations to participate in each of the Pulse Surveys since 2004 have been sent to employees identified in the “spring payroll snapshot.” The spring payroll snapshot captures the identities and information for employees in the twenty-first payroll period of the year. To be consistent across different reports, information captured in this snapshot is used. Because the spring payroll snapshot is so late this year (i.e. April 19), the surveying period also falls late on the academic calendar. We apologize for this inconvenience but hope you take 20 minutes from this busy time to complete the survey.