While we live in a time of oversharing on social media, employees continue to still feel that being vocal and telling their managers and employers how they truly feel continues to be risky and could potentially damage their careers. This has then led organizations to believe that an anonymous employee survey can help in gathering feedback from employees, while making them feel comfortable when it comes to sharing their thoughts and ideas. However, when push comes to shove, if employees are fearful to put their names to their ideas and thoughts, then there is something fundamentally wrong about how communication is being conducted in the workplace.
Ultimately, an anonymous employee survey is outdated and unproductive. The confidentiality given deters accountability and progress especially if you’re looking into nurturing your employees’ skills, creativity and talents.
Consequences of Anonymous Surveys
The following are the unintended consequences that spring forth from anonymity in employee surveys:
1. Feedback that is likely to be misinterpreted.
Feedback gathered from an employee survey is important as it enables employers and managers to make better decisions. However, when surveys are anonymous, there is no way to pinpoint and comprehend the context of the issues mentioned in the forms and which teams or departments they affect. Feedback given will more likely be misinterpreted and may lead to making wrong decisions.
2. Skewed results.
In a good number of organizations, groups of workers may harbor resentment or anger towards management or the company itself. An anonymous employee survey just gives these groups a platform to vent and rant. In as much as anonymity online makes people more brazen when it comes to insulting others, be hateful and jaded, anonymity can do the same when it comes to surveys. This can lead to skewed results.
3. No follow-up.
It is unfortunate that when a responder gives brilliant and creative thoughts and ideas in an anonymous survey, there is no way to dig deeper into his or her thoughts because there is no attached name to the form. Also, if an employee gives a constructive criticism of the company, management and work processes, there is no way to converse with the said person in order to come up with viable solutions to issues.
4. Inability to hold leaders accountable.
Some leaders in an organization do not appreciate honest and constructive criticism from employees. This in itself is fundamentally flawed. Rather than tailoring feedback to make leaders comfortable, you need to start making sure that leaders are held accountable. This type of corporate culture empowers employees, while at the same time, holds leaders accountable.
Creating a Transparent Feedback Loop
If you truly want to create a culture of honesty, transparency and engagement, empower your employees to be brave and take ownership of their views and ideas. This empowerment can occur when you create a work environment that helps people feel safe when sharing their thoughts.
Create a transparent feedback loop that makes workers feel that it is okay to speak up. A work environment that is transparent and honest boosts moral and inspires staff members to work towards that overall goals of the company. Work evolves into more than just work. Work becomes a commitment one gets into willingly and happily.
This move may be met by hesitation and apprehension. However, this useful exercise will help you and your employees in the long run. Jump in by rewarding staff members who provide constructive and useful feedback. Search for ways to demonstrate how feedback can positively change the workplace so that staff members start feeling comfortable when it comes to being honest about how they feel and what they think about the work they do and the company they work for.