6 Vital Tips For Conducting Effective Anonymous Employee Survey In 2023
It's no secret that any rational employee would be wary of a non-anonymous employee survey.
We all know that an employee survey can be a powerful tool in defining:
- The strength and weaknesses of your company
- Why your employees' performance is on a downward spiral?
- Are your employees truly satisfied with their jobs?
- Why is Team A performing better than Team B?
… and so much more.
But here's the catch.
Unless you're putting forward an anonymous employee survey, there are high chances that the survey results will be a pile of unusable data.
And do you know what that means? A set of incorrect and unusable survey results.
So, in this article, we've decided to condense our experience as an employee survey provider into a list of handy tips for making the most of your anonymous employee surveys. Without further ado, let's get started.
- How to run anonymous employee surveys?
- Benifits of anonymous employee surveys?
- Examples of annonymous Survey questions.
- Are anonymous surveys really annonymous?
6 Great Tips That'll Make Running Anonymous Employee Surveys Seem Like A Cakewalk
An anonymous employee survey is a survey that does not collect personal information from survey participants. It ensures that employees who took the survey cannot be identified later on based on their survey responses.
The logic behind anonymous employee surveys is simple.
When employees feel comfortable knowing that their responses can't be traced back, they are more open to offering honest feedback.
However, anonymous employee surveys are not as easy as they appear.
These factors can make a huge difference in how successful your anonymous surveys turn out to be.
So, if you're an HR professional or a leader, here are some must-know tips that'll turn your anonymous survey to be more effective.
Tip 1: Use Third-Party Surveys
Do you think that if you went up to an employee and said that:
Hey, we need you to take an employee survey. But don't worry! It's completely anonymous. By the way, this survey was developed in-house.
Do you think that any employee is going to treat this as an anonymous survey? Definitely not!
They will treat it as if it were any other survey, which puts us back to our original issue of receiving insincere employee feedback.
To truly make your anonymous survey— well — anonymous, you need to use a third-party employee survey tool like Vantage Pulse.
Screenshot Source: Vantage Pulse
With survey tools like Vantage Pulse, employees are free to offer their real and honest feedback to survey questions without worrying about their anonymity.
But a problem that arises with anonymous surveys is the act of following up on any serious feedback. This is what we explore in our next point!
Tip 2: Always, Always Have A Feedback Loop At Hand
The major concern that most HR professionals have with anonymous surveys is that:
How to follow up on anonymous feedback given by our workers?
It's quite a legitimate question since without the proper follow-up, there is a risk of misinterpretation of serious issues.
That is why it is critical to check with your survey tool vendor about their features that'll enable human resources to follow up on employee responses.
But here's the problem:
Following up means that the anonymity of the survey respondents will be lost.
Or will it?
While building Vantage Pulse, we knew that follow-ups are integral to every survey's efficiency. But we also didn't want to compromise on the anonymous factor since we knew it was important for the employees.
That's precisely why we designed our simple yet handy "Conversation" feature.
Screenshot Source: Vantage Pulse
The Conversation feature makes it easier for survey administrators to follow up on any employee feedback through an easy-to-use chat interface. Meanwhile, the follow-up response will land directly in the inboxes of the targeted survey respondent.
The entire process is instant, easy, and hassle-free.
The best part? Both the sender and the receiver will be completely anonymous to each other!
Tip 3: Don't Start Any Witch Hunt
Sadly, in some situations with anonymous surveys, anonymity can set off a witch hunt.
When employees provide unfavorable feedback through these anonymous surveys, some managers try to find out who gave the criticism. In such scenarios, employees can go as far as to give favorable answers that they know their bosses will be happy with.
Can you envision a workplace culture where employees are frightened to use their true IP address to complete an employee survey?
We understand that anonymous surveys can bring in a lot of criticisms rather than insights. But, when you seek out employees to find out who posted a specific piece of feedback, it affects the survey results of any future feedback that they may provide.
But there are some easy solutions to help you bring in feedback that is genuine and actionable. Here's how:
- Opt for binary or scale-based survey questions over open-ended survey questions. Anonymous open-ended survey questions make it easier for employees to go off-topic.
- Keep the questions specific yet neutral. Don't ask— "Do you like your manager and peers?" Instead, ask— "Does your manager supports you?"
- Many people mess around with surveys because they believe that no one will do anything with the survey results. A critical way to show the seriousness of the employee survey is to develop an action plan immediately following the survey and communicate it to your workers. It will reflect that the survey is being closely monitored, which will inspire employees to give more honest feedback.
Tip 4: Did You Communicate It Well To Your Employees?
Open, honest, and timely communication is the lifeblood of a business. And that includes the anonymous employee surveys too.
Before sending across the anonymous employee survey to your workforce, you should clearly communicate the following points:
- What is the purpose of the survey?
- Why is the survey so important?
- When will the survey be conducted?
- How does the entire survey procedure work?
- Be clear about how the anonymous aspect of the survey will work.
When you are open about the survey's objectives, employees feel more at ease providing honest feedback.
Tip 5: Don't Skimp On The Action Plan
Employees dislike filling out surveys because organizations rarely act on the feedback they receive.
Most people see surveys as a meaningless corporate activity that does not need active participation.
To engage employees to take part in future surveys, the survey's completion should not be met by radio silence on your part. That is, your employees should understand how the survey data will be calculated, analyzed, and handled.
After the survey is over, be sure to follow through with the following tips:
- Ask people if there are any ways to improve the employee experience while filling out the survey.
- Share and discuss the survey findings with your employees, as well as your action plan for solving the issues.
- While designing the action plan, include leaders as well as team members.
- Be specific about the areas that need to be improved.
- Make a timeline and revisit it periodically to keep track of its progress.
- Assign someone to complete each milestone. Follow up constantly.
- When you reach a new milestone, remember to celebrate the tiny victories with your team.
Tip 6: Change Is A Team Effort
The success of an anonymous employee survey is based on a two-sided contribution:
- Employees who provide honest feedback.
- The leadership team who timely respond and acts on the survey results.
Research shows that regularly following up with colleagues is an influential variable in creating long-term sustainable change in leadership behavior.
As a human resource professional or HR leader, it's your job to ensure that the entire leadership team— including managers- takes on a more hands-on approach with the survey.
Management must take a keen interest in the anonymous employee surveys for meaningful change to occur in the organization. Simply put, leaders must not be passive observers. They must take an active role in the survey's success.
The human resources department should make every effort to include managers and bosses right from the start of the survey planning process.
A huge part of why this works is because most managers are more in-tuned with what employees actually want. The survey design team can use these inputs to create the optimum survey-taking employee experience.
Similarly, it enables both parties— you and the leaders— to agree on the survey's aims and bring everyone together on the same page.
As a result, once the survey results are out, leaders will have a vested incentive in acting on them.
Benefits Of Anonymous Surveys
Since we have clearly established how to make the process of anonymous survey effective. Let us now look at the why.
There are several benefits to anonymous surveys. They do not collect personal identifiable information from the recipients which preserves the anonymity of the respondents. Conducting surveys keeping all the tips in mind allows the organization to gain some very key benefits.
With the assurance of anonymity employees are likely to share their opinions more openly without fear of reprisal thus fostering a more open and trusting environment in the workplace.
Increase in Response Rate
With the assurance of anonymity more employees are likely to participate in these surveys thereby increasing participation.
With the assurance of anonymity employees are more likely to open up about more sensitive issues giving the employers a better understanding of the pulse of the organization.
Helps Avoid Bias
There are some unconscious biases that we as a society cannot escape. These biases can affect the data from surveys. However no previous knowledge about the participants or their backgrounds help avoid biases in anonymous surveys.
With anonymous surveys employees acn freely talk about sensitive issues thus giving a truer picture of the underlying issues. Anonymity is also likely to increase your survey participation rates that provide more detailed and honest feedback.
No survey can be made to fit all. Every organization has different issues and needs for which they might require customized surveys. Organizations can tailor survey questions to specific areas of concern, allowing them to gather precise data on topics like diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, or career growth.
Ultimately, addressing issues raised through anonymous surveys can contribute to improved employee satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates and a more positive workplace culture.
Anonymous Employee Survey Questions
Creating effective anonymous employee survey questions is essential for gathering valuable feedback while maintaining confidentiality. Here are some sample survey questions you can consider for your anonymous employee survey:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your overall job at your organization?
- What do you like most about working at your organization?
- What areas need improvement within the company?
Communication and Leadership:
- Do you feel well-informed about company goals and updates?
- How would you rate the effectiveness of your immediate supervisor/manager in supporting your work?
- Do you want to see anything specific from company leadership regarding communication or support?
- Are you satisfied with your current work-life balance?
- Do you feel pressured to work beyond your regular hours?
- Are there any workplace policies or practices that could improve work-life balance?
Team and Collaboration:
- How well do you think your team collaborates and communicates?
- Do you feel valued and supported by your team members?
- Are there any challenges or conflicts within your team that need addressing?
Training and Development:
- Have you had sufficient opportunities for professional development and training?
- Are there skills or knowledge areas you would like to develop further?
- Do your career goals align with your current role at the company?
Feedback and Recognition:
- Do you receive regular feedback on your performance?
- How do you feel about the recognition and rewards system in the company?
- Are there any specific instances where you felt your contributions were not acknowledged?
- How would you describe the workplace culture at your organization?
- Are there any aspects of the culture that need improvement?
- Are diversity and inclusion priorities at the company?
Health and Well-being:
- Does the company provide adequate support for your physical and mental well-being?
- Are there any workplace stressors that need addressing?
- Do you have access to resources for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
Suggestions for Improvement:
- What changes or improvements would you recommend to make [Company Name] a better workplace?
- Do you have any ideas for enhancing employee morale or engagement?
- Is there anything else you want to share about your experience at the company?
- Is there any additional feedback or comments you'd like to provide anonymously?
- Do you have any concerns or issues you want to share confidentially?
- When crafting your employee survey, consider the goals and objectives you want to achieve and ensure the questions are clear, concise, and relevant to your organization's specific context. Additionally, encourage employees to be honest and open in their responses by emphasizing the anonymity of the survey.
Are Anonymous Employee Surveys Truly Anonymous?
Anonymous employee surveys are designed to be confidential and protect the participants' identities. That being said, their true anonymity depends on several factors:
The effectiveness of anonymity starts with the survey's design. Surveys should not ask for personally identifiable information (such as names, employee IDs, or email addresses) unless necessary for a specific purpose. Avoiding such information helps ensure anonymity.
Data Collection Methods:
How the surveys are administered can also impact anonymity. If surveys are distributed and collected in a way that links responses to individuals, they may not be truly anonymous. For example, suppose surveys are distributed via company email addresses. In that case, it might be possible for employers to track who has responded.
Once responses are collected, organizations must have strict protocols for handling survey data. This includes ensuring that only authorized personnel can access the data and that steps are taken to remove any personally identifiable information.
Reporting and Analysis:
When survey results are reported, aggregated data should be used to prevent the identification of individual responses. This can include reporting averages or percentages rather than specific responses.
Trust and Culture:
The perception of anonymity also matters. Employees who don't trust that their responses will remain confidential may not provide honest feedback. Therefore, fostering a culture of trust and openness within the organization is essential.
Legal and Ethical Considerations:
Depending on your jurisdiction and company policies, there may be legal and ethical obligations to protect the anonymity of respondents. Violating these obligations can have legal consequences.
Organizations often take the necessary steps to make employee surveys as anonymous as possible to encourage candid feedback. However, employees may still be concerned about their responses being traced back to them, especially if the survey concerns sensitive topics or if there is a lack of trust within the organization.
To ensure the highest level of anonymity, organizations should follow best practices in survey design and administration, communicate their commitment to anonymity, and handle survey data with care. Employees can also take precautions such as completing surveys on personal devices and not providing personal information in open-ended responses to protect their anonymity further.
People are more likely to engage in surveys when they are made anonymous. Then you are more likely to obtain accurate data on how employees perceive the workplace culture, employee experience, rewards and recognition program, and several other subjects.
So, if you think that anonymous employee surveys would be beneficial for your business, you can book a free demo of Vantage Pulse by clicking here.