To get the most from your employee engagement surveys, it’s vital you protect your employees right to privacy. Find out what the differences are between anonymous and confidential surveys and which one might be best for you
A key assumption of any successful employee engagement survey – or any survey for that matter – is that all employees will complete it, and provide honest answers to all questions.
In order to collect honest feedback, employees must know that they can share feedback in a confidential way that prevents leaders or stakeholders from tying that feedback directly to their name
Many employees worry when completing surveys that their answers will be seen by managers and potentially used against them. And if you can’t guarantee that, you can’t guarantee their open, honest participation.
Open, honest feedback is a foundation of a successful employee engagement program. To get it, you’ll need to make sure employees are comfortable giving their true feedback
To ensure employees deliver open and honest feedback, you should use anonymous or confidential surveys.
Both survey types are designed to protect employees’ data, but there are some key differences to consider:
Which type of survey should i use?
Our recommendation is always to favour confidential over anonymous surveys because not only are your employees’ responses kept private, it maps their responses back to the organisational hierarchy, allowing you to analyse the data by different demographics like job role, tenure and team.
Interestingly, research has shown employees don’t necessarily see anonymous surveys as being any better than confidential ones when it comes to protecting their data.
And equally, there’s little evidence to suggest a confidential survey gets lower response rates.
That’s because typically an anonymous survey will need to include demographic questions to allow the HR team to cut and analyse the data. So by actively selecting those answers, it can set the idea in employees’ minds that their manager can see their response or drill down to see what different team members said.
This can ultimately lead to a higher nonresponse rate or ‘socially desirable’ answers where employees don’t give their open and honest feedback.
In our experience, employees tend to feel they have more protection in confidential surveys. Add to that the fact you guarantee better data quality and can do more with the data at the end of it, it’s why confidential surveys tend to be one of the more popular ways to run an employee engagement program.