The employee satisfaction survey, anonymous or not anonymous?

by Danique Geskus | Sep 29, 2023

When conducting an Employee satisfaction survey, HR managers are often asked, “How anonymous is this survey?”, “Why is it anonymous if you use my email address?”. Employees’ concern lies in protecting their privacy. They fear that their potentially critical comments will end up with their manager without their control. HR departments, in turn, want to know to what extent they can share employees’ personal data without permission. In this blog, we list all the information on anonymity and privacy regarding research.


What does anonymous employee research mean?

Anonymous research means that the data obtained in a survey is “not identifiable by name. All data traceable to a person is unknown. ‘Anonymous’ has a different meaning here than ‘confidential’. Confidential is about the information itself and means “private, secret, not generally available. Anonymous means not 1-to-1 traceable to an individual person.


what are the advantages and disadvantages of an anonymous employee satisfaction survey

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using an anonymous employee survey employee satisfaction survey. Here are some points to keep in mind:


Advantages of an anonymous employee satisfaction survey:
  1. Honesty: Employees often feel freer to give honest feedback without worrying about retaliation or negative career consequences.
  2. Reliability: Anonymity enhances the reliability of the data because employees are more likely to respond candidly and sincerely.
  3. Objective insights: It helps gather objective insights and opinions from employees, without the influence of hierarchy or personal relationships.


Disadvantages of an anonymous employee satisfaction survey:
  1. Incomplete information: Anonymity can lead to the lack of specific details, context or clarifications in the feedback received, which can make it more difficult to find appropriate solutions.
  2. Reduced ability to follow up: Because respondents’ identities are unknown, it may be difficult to ask follow-up questions or obtain additional information.
  3. Abuse of anonymity: Sometimes anonymity can be abused by employees to make inappropriate or harmful comments without responsibility.


What are the disadvantages of conducting an anonymous employee satisfaction survey with free tools such as Google Forms and Typeform?

Ensuring anonymity in an Employee Satisfaction Survey is essential to obtaining honest and open feedback from employees. While tools such as Google Forms can be useful, they can present challenges in ensuring anonymity. Consider tracking respondents, perception of anonymity, survey administration and limited data analysis capabilities. Read on to understand more about these challenges and how to overcome them to conduct a successful anonymous employee satisfaction survey.

  1. Tracking respondents: By default, Google Forms records information about respondents, such as email address. Although you can disable this feature, employees may not always be aware of this and therefore doubt the anonymity of their responses.
  2. Perception of anonymity: Even if technical measures are taken to ensure anonymity, employees’ perceptions may be different. For example, they may still feel that their responses can be traced back to them simply because the tool is linked to their work e-mail account or because they use the tool for other, non-anonymous tasks as well.
  3. Survey Management: It can be difficult to control whether employees complete the survey only once with tools such as Google Forms. This is because, to ensure anonymity, you should avoid using unique identifiers or logging in with company accounts. However, this means there is no reliable way to prevent an employee from taking the survey multiple times, which can skew the reliability of the results.
  4. Limited opportunities for data analysis: When survey results are collected anonymously with tools such as Google Forms or Typeform, this can limit opportunities for data analysis. For example, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to view results at the team or job level. This information can be crucial to understanding where problems are occurring within an organization.


Learned: Software for truly anonymous employee satisfaction survey surveys

Learned offers companies software that makes it easy to conduct truly anonymous surveys without sacrificing advanced analysis capabilities. 

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