A pulse survey is typically a type of survey given to employees of a company to better gauge and evaluate employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall attitude. These types of surveys are given periodically and followed up by more comprehensive employee engagement surveys. They are often kept confidential so employees can be open and honest with their answers. A pulse survey is intended to allow management at varying levels to get a sense of the "health" of the company regarding the employees working within it.
A pulse survey aims to indicate and provide evaluation regarding employee issues such as job satisfaction, work environment, and pay satisfaction. Pulse surveys allow you to track the trend between major surveys - get an immediate guide for how your actions are making an impact.