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Make the case for the non-anonymous Engagement survey

Key points to help explain to staff why you are running a non-anonymous engagement survey

Lauren Rolfe avatar
Written by Lauren Rolfe
Updated over a week ago

If you are running your next engagement survey non-anonymously, you may want to explain to employees why you have decided to do this and how it will benefit them - in order to help them feel more comfortable about taking part.

Here are some key points you can tailor for your internal comms:

Anonymous surveys only give you averages

Many believe running anonymous surveys gives you all the information you need. But we know that’s not true. 

Anonymous surveys produce average results across fairly large groups of people. You have no idea whether the team average is representative of the mood of your staff. 

There may be one person in the group thriving at work, scoring high in their surveys and having a great time. In the same group, there may be someone at the other end of the spectrum, really struggling at work and in need of help. If you only have the average of the group, how do you know who needs help? 

How can you help you if you don’t know who they are?

Running an attributable survey gives you a crystal-clear idea of what the individual needs, what is working well for them, and what they think could be changed for the better. This gives you a greater understanding of the challenges unique to each individual. 

Rather than trying to address challenges at a team-level, you can act on a specific employee’s feedback and have a 1-2-1 conversation about their challenges, which immediately creates a more personal experience. 

You work in a trusting environment where your opinion is valued

There is also a common belief that running an anonymous survey reduces employees’ fears of getting into trouble for saying certain things. However, if you work in an open, honest and trusting workplace environment, employees do not need to fear reprisal for giving their honest feedback. 

If employees have completed the survey in the past and have seen change as a result of giving their honest feedback, they can trust that their feedback won’t be ignored. It will be acknowledged and acted upon. 

Employees need to be aware that you genuinely want to know what they think and how they feel about working here and in return, that you will listen and do whatever is practicable to improve the way they work. 

Individual surveys make employees and the company responsible for change

When people take part in a de-anonymised survey, they have an unwritten contract with their employer: ‘I will tell you what I think needs doing if you will listen and do what you reasonably can’. 

Having individual survey results means an employer must take responsibility for responding positively and quickly. It becomes the company, and the managers’ responsibility to set up the relevant meetings and/or take the necessary actions to get improvements under way. 

Once employees have given their opinions and managers have taken them on board, they will begin look at how they can do something to make that area better. The employee will already know what needs to change and be aligning to a better way of doing things, so by the time the manager holds the conversation with that employee, there is already common ground. 

In an anonymous survey, where it is less clear how representative opinions are, or who they represent, this kind of clarity and focus is much less likely to materialise and change is less likely to happen.

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