Why Employees Must Know Their Feedback Is Anonymous

December 16, 2020

Companies rely upon employee feedback to streamline their workplaces and delight their workers. However, without the ability to offer anonymous feedback, employees may refuse to answer honestly or refrain from answering entirely.

Build Confidence

Liz Ryan, CEO of Human Workplace, addressed concerns about employee survey anonymity in a 2016 column for Forbes magazine.

An individual by the name of Regan wrote to Ryan about her hesitance to be candid on her employer’s annual engagement survey. 

“The managers here are caught up in their own world,” explained Regan. “They don’t pay attention to the worker bees like me. I’ve been here for two years and I don’t even know whether to bother filling out the survey, but I just got a reminder to fill it out, and that made me want to ask your advice.”

Although Regan clearly had serious concerns about her workplace, she also had serious concerns about the anonymity of her responses.

“If they can send out reminders like the one I just got, that say ‘You haven’t filled out your survey yet,’ doesn’t that mean they can tell which survey responses come from which employees?” asked Regan. “Would I be taking a risk by completing the Employee Engagement Survey truthfully—and could that risk be worth it considering that I have already evidence my management team is asleep at the wheel?”

Ryan confirmed that Regan should not be confident in her anonymity: “Who would trust in the survey’s confidentiality once they get a message like that?”

Emphasize Anonymity

Honesty in employee surveys is crucial for an organization’s health. A failure to procure honest employee feedback can be disastrous.

According to a Harvard Business Review article by University of Michigan professor Palmer Morrel-Samuels, UPS conducted an employee survey in 1997 that showed “impressive marks” in terms of employee morale. Within ten months, however, employees went on strike.

Among other important considerations for avoiding inaccurate employee survey results, Morrel-Samuels indicated the need to “make workplace surveys individually anonymous and demonstrate that they remain so.”

He noted that “respondents are much more likely to participate in surveys if they are confident that personal anonymity is guaranteed.”

Meanwhile, large corporations need to “organize and analyze the results of internal surveys at the department or operating unit level” in order to effectively apply feedback.

Using employee feedback solutions that are both anonymous and easy to analyze can empower companies to collect high-quality feedback—which, in turn, empowers them to delight their employees and streamline their businesses. Qlicket offers anonymous employee feedback solutions that allow managers to analyze feedback in real time. Learn more about our revolutionary employee feedback offerings.

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