As a business owner, you should be aware that understanding how your employees feel is a crucial component of a productive workforce and plays a huge role in employee retention. The best way to gain insights from your employees is with a survey—but will your employees feel comfortable answering your questions honestly?
Anonymous employee surveys allow your employees to provide genuine, candid feedback without fear of reprisal. Let’s take a look at the anonymous employee survey and how you can use it to make your business environment and culture stronger and more productive.
Employee surveys are an important tool for learning in-depth information about your employees—directly from them. However, many employees are uncomfortable answering with complete honesty and candor because they fear there will be repercussions for negative comments, complaints, or feedback. This is where an anonymous employee survey can be a lifesaver.
Anonymous surveys do not collect any personally identifiable information such as employee ID number, email address, or organizational team, and ensure that employees cannot be identified based on their survey responses (if questions are prepared correctly). This anonymity allows respondents to feel more comfortable speaking their minds and providing feedback that’s both positive and negative. Anonymity also prevents social desirability bias, which is the act of answering questions in a way that looks good in the eyes of others.
Anonymous surveys should not be confused with confidential surveys. In confidential surveys, personal information is collected but kept private. This means that survey administrators will be able to view who provided what information and can follow up on responses as they wish.
As with any process, there are disadvantages to anonymous employee surveys. One of the most difficult issues is the inability to follow up on negative comments. If an employee indicates an issue with management, for example, but doesn’t identify the department or manager, there’s no way to put the comment into the appropriate context to follow up on it.
Without any personal information, there’s also no way to segment answers based on department, team, seniority, or other employee segments for comparison purposes.
And with the freedom to speak their minds, some employees will use the opportunity to complain without offering constructive, actionable feedback.
Anonymous surveys are immensely helpful in a variety of situations in the workplace. Your willingness to collect feedback in a way that makes employees feel safe to provide honest answers will promote trust and yield the most valuable information.
Employee engagement identifies the extent to which employees feel valued and involved in their everyday work. It also indicates their dedication to your mission and the company’s success. Recent studies from Gallup show that employee engagement is well below 35% in the US and globally. Quiet quitting is prevalent across the board, and the employee engagement trend is headed down. Clearly, it’s important to understand employee engagement in the context of your business.
So, are your employees engaged? The best way to uncover that information is with employee engagement surveys. If you’re wondering, “Should employee engagement surveys be anonymous?” the answer is yes—if you want the real scoop on how they feel. Anonymous employee surveys utilize mostly qualitative questions, so the data you collect should provide detailed insights into why or why not employees are engaged at work.
By taking action on issues raised on employee engagement surveys, you can not only improve engagement but also provide the message that you care about your employees and value their opinions and feelings. Since employee engagement has an enormous impact on business success, it’s well worth administering an anonymous survey to find out where you stand and where you need to improve.
Employee satisfaction is a term used to describe how content employees feel with their jobs, experiences, workplace, and overall organization. Understanding employee satisfaction is critical for retaining top talent and improving employee engagement in the workplace. The Gallup study referenced above also shows that US employees are experiencing dissatisfaction with their workplaces. A mere 19% say they are extremely satisfied. Satisfaction is a key component of engagement, so finding out what’s causing dissatisfaction and taking action to correct problems will improve both engagement and satisfaction.
To find out how your organization measures up in the employee satisfaction department, try using an anonymous employee satisfaction survey. Since satisfaction is tied to compensation, culture, recognition, benefits, workload, effective leadership, etc., you’ll be able to find out how you are meeting the tangible and intangible needs of your employees. This knowledge—and the actions you take based on it—will directly affect employee engagement and retention.
By making the employee satisfaction survey anonymous, you’ll receive candid feedback to identify areas in need of improvement. Taking action on this feedback sends a positive message of caring to your employees in addition to increasing satisfaction.
Employee exit surveys are a critical tool for finding out why employees choose to leave a company. The answers provide an important look into what may be causing dissatisfaction among other employees and why they might choose to leave in the future.
Employee exit interviews are undeniably important, but many individuals leaving companies don’t feel comfortable being candid when face-to-face with a human resources representative. This is likely because they know that any information provided in the exit interview could be shared with former colleagues, recruiters, or their new employer. Anonymous employee exit surveys are the solution to obtaining valuable information from departing employees.
Anonymous surveys provide an alternative way for employees to provide feedback that may prove useful in increasing the retention of existing employees.
Adding anonymity to complaint forms provides protection to employees who come forward with criticisms or allegations about the organization, individuals, or teams. They may be used to address workplace misconduct, state grievances, or report incidents.
Anonymous complaint forms empower employees to bring complaints without fear of retaliation. This can mean the difference between an incident being reported or not. You can reassure employees that the door to human resources is always open, but an anonymous complaint form will encourage them to report problems in plain language without couching or minimizing the issue out of fear.
When you’re ready to create your anonymous employee survey, SurveyMonkey can help. We have the tools and features you need to collect the necessary information while providing anonymity to respondents.
SurveyMonkey provides you with the option to use our Anonymous Responses Collector to prevent tracking and storing identifiable respondent information. We record respondent IP addresses in backend logs, which are deleted after 13 months.
If you’re using multiple collectors for your surveys, you’ll need to turn on Anonymous Responses on each one. With Enterprise plans, Administrators can choose to turn on the default Anonymous Responses setting for the entire team.
Pro tip: Anonymous Responses must be turned on before you send out your survey. Any responses collected prior to turning this feature on will not be anonymous.
When using an employee survey, you may encounter this question, “Are employee surveys really anonymous?” Include a statement with your survey link or place text in the introduction of your survey answering this question. Let employees know how their responses will be handled and how their anonymity will be maintained. Providing this information in advance will increase the likelihood of honest responses and an increased response rate.
Using a third-party survey tool like SurveyMonkey makes it easier to ensure anonymity, as no identifying information such as email address or IP address is passed through to account administrators.
There are obvious questions to avoid in anonymous surveys: name, email, phone number, etc. But even asking for job titles and organizations can get sticky because technically you could narrow the field and find the survey taker’s identity.
Craft questions that will collect the sentiment you’re looking for as well as the “why” behind it. You won’t be able to follow up with respondents, so be thoughtful in the way you ask questions to maximize the information you receive.
For example, rather than asking, “Do you get along with your direct manager?” Ask, “Does your manager provide support and recognition for your work?” and “How does your manager demonstrate their support and recognition?”
You may know your employees pretty well, and it may be tempting to try to identify them by their responses. Don’t do it. Even if you think the language is familiar in an answer, respect your employees by not trying to figure out who wrote the responses. This is a betrayal of employee trust because you assured them that the survey would be anonymous. No good can come of identifying (or misidentifying) an employee based on their survey answers.
Are you ready to find out what obstacles lie in the way of employee engagement? What is preventing employee satisfaction? Why someone is leaving your organization? Is it time to set up an anonymous complaint form or exit survey? These questions and more can be answered with an anonymous employee survey created with SurveyMonkey.