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5 Reasons to Keep Your Employee Survey Anonymous

anonymous employee surveyWe know that employee engagement surveys are powerful tools that allow you to gain actionable insights and a more accurate view of how your workforce views your company. Properly implemented, a survey can help you make changes that will shift your staff from being merely content with their work (or worse) to becoming fully engaged. When you decide to conduct an employee survey, working with a third-party research firm allows for anonymity of your respondents. This is a crucial step that is sometimes forgotten. Investing time and resources into employee data collection, as well as action-planning to increase engagement scores, is worthwhile only if employees feel they can respond honestly, remain anonymous, and see positive change as a result of their feedback.

 

1. Better Response Rates

Employees who are concerned that their identity could potentially be linked to their answers are less likely to complete the survey at all. In fact, anonymous employee surveys can achieve response rates upwards of 90%.

Imagine walking into your boss’s office to say, “I don’t understand our long-term strategy, I don’t trust my supervisor, and I don’t plan to be here for the long haul.” We’d never do that if we hoped to have a job tomorrow. It’s too risky. But that’s exactly the kind of intelligence you’d like to collect. What will help your employees feel comfortable answering employee satisfaction surveys questions honestly? Ensure their anonymity by hiring a third-party research firm to protect it.

 

2. More Accurate and Actionable Data 

Safeguarding the anonymity of respondents will help ensure the accuracy of the data you receive. Employees who feel their identity may be revealed are more likely to offer the kinds of answers they expect upper management want to hear. They're also more likely to sugar coat responses relating to their immediate supervisors for fear of possible reprisals or hurt feelings. Under the cover of anonymity, employees feel safe psychologically, allowing them to be more open about what may be bothering them at work. 

A primary goal of conducting your employee survey should be to collect feedback that's actionable. More honest and accurate responses will allow you to take take action in areas that truly require your attention.

Some individuals are less likely to share their opinions and ideas in a public forum. Perhaps it's due to an innate shyness, insecurity, or fear of being ridiculed. With an anonymous employee engagement survey, these individuals can contribute as much as all of their colleagues. As a result, you may get great ideas and invaluable insights that you might not have received otherwise.

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3. Employees Feel Respected 

In addition to seeking ways of improving the workplace environment, anonymous employee engagement surveys also serve to make employees feel valued and that their opinions matter. They're more likely to feel that they have a voice and an active role to play in shaping the future of the organization.

When employees feel like they're able to contribute to creating a better workplace, they are likely to become more engaged, and therefore more productive.

There is a caveat to add to this section, however. In order to maintain the sense that employees are respected, management must take the steps required following the employee survey to address any issues that have been uncovered. It's also a good idea to involve employees in the process of finding solutions to those issues.

 

4. Improved Employee Retention 

When you take action based on the data you receive from your anonymous employee survey, you'll be going a long way towards improving employee engagement and ultimately, retention within your organization. 

Again, failure to follow up on the feedback from the survey could potentially have the opposite effect that you had envisioned. Employees could become angry, disillusioned, and further disengaged, increasing their likelihood to seek employment elsewhere and leave your company. 

It's estimated that the cost of replacing an employee can be as high as 60% of his or her annual salary, and that doesn't factor in the cost of orientation, training and lost productivity through the transition period. When you consider those figures, it becomes clear that better retention should be a top priority. Disengaged employees have a negative impact on your company that can ultimately result in the loss of productivity and even revenue. 

 

5. Establishing Overall Trust 

Taking steps to safeguard the identity of respondents is a gesture that tells your employees, "You can feel safe providing your honest feedback." If employees feel that their anonymity is not protected or taken seriously by management, it could create distrust and even animosity. Employee Trust

The best way to protect your employees’ anonymity and to underscore that you take their concerns seriously, is to use a third-party engagement survey. Unlike surveys that are entirely created and managed internally, third-party surveys utilize tools and technology that guaranteed total anonymity.

When you plan your next survey, make sure you get accurate data, a good response rate, and show respect for your staff by employing a qualified third-party engagement survey provider who will protect your employees’ identity. 

 

Learn more

You need to know what your employees think. Are they happy? Are they engaged? Do they plan to leave? Would they go the extra mile to see you succeed? That’s where we come in.

When you’re ready to learn more about employee survey timelines, process and pricing, schedule a time to meet with one of our employer coaches. We'll get all your questions answered.

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Tags: Employee Retention, Employee Surveys, Employee Engagement, Employee Trust, Employee Data, Anonymous Surveys

Leila Zayed
As VP of Best Companies Group, Leila has established Best Places to Work programs, given talks on employee engagement topics all over the U.S., and launched our employee survey brand Best Employee Surveys. Before joining Best Companies Group, Leila had been a publisher at Mainebiz, a research analyst at several great firms, and an avid gardener. (She can still be found digging in the dirt most mornings before the office opens.) She received her training in social research from the University of Vermont. Leila resides in Portland, Maine with her son, Henry, their cat, Phoenix, and their flock of six pampered suburban chickens.
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