The Value in Anonymous Employee Surveys

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Employee feedback is invaluable. However, it doesn’t do much good if the feedback isn’t meaningful or honest. While your company should strive to create a culture where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions, it can be scary for employees to take that leap, especially if their opinions include constructive criticism.

Anonymous employee surveys are an important component of a broader feedback program, one that includes open conversations, suggestion outlets, and regular meetings.

Why Anonymity Means Meaningful Feedback

The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) lists high assurance of confidentiality as one of their Best Practices for Research.  When it comes to employee surveys, the two obvious reasons for keeping them anonymous are to promote participation and encourage truthful responses without fear of retaliation from management.

If you really are looking for ways to improve employee retention and recruitment, you need to hear the negatives as well as the positives. With the assurance that their responses are anonymous, employees are more likely to provide truly candid responses and comments. Further, without anonymity, an employee may choose to leave important information out of their responses, allowing a bad situation to get worse. An anonymous employee survey can help you catch these sticky issues before it’s too late.

Using a Third Party to Administer Anonymous Employee Surveys

Even if you’re convinced an anonymous employee survey is the way to go, it’s still hard to make sure employees feel comfortable responding.

This is when using a third party administrator (like CultureIQ) can really come in handy. It adds an extra layer of comfort for employees, which can improve participation and elicit more meaningful responses to the survey. In fact, while the response rates for internal surveys usually fall between 30-40%, we see average response rates of 70-80%, with many exceeding 90%!

Additionally, communicating the specifics of how respondents’ identities are protected can offer further confidence in the anonymity of the survey. Employees should have access to a written anonymity policy or clause before taking the survey.

By administering anonymous employee surveys, you are opening your company up to meaningful feedback and creating a valuable dialogue. Sure, you might see criticism, but you will also see recommendations for improvement, honest compliments, and plenty of pleasant surprises.

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