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5 Reasons Employee Surveys Should Be Anonymous

5 Reasons Employee Surveys Should Be Anonymous

There’s no doubt that employee engagement surveys can be very useful and powerful tools to gain some insight and a more accurate view of how your workforce views your company. Properly implemented, a survey can help you shift your staff from being mere content with their work (or worse) to becoming fully engaged.

One of the most crucial aspects of an employee survey is to ensure the respondents’ anonymity. There are several reasons for this. Here are just a few.

Better Response Rates

Employees who are concerned that their identity could potentially be linked to their answers are less likely to complete the survey at all. In fact, anonymous employee surveys can achieve response rates upwards of 90%.

More Accurate Data

Safeguarding the anonymity of respondents will help assure the accuracy of the data you receive. Employees who feel their identity may be revealed are more likely to offer the kinds of answers they expect upper management want to hear. They’re also more likely to sugar coat responses relating to their immediate supervisors for fear of possible reprisals or hurt feelings.

When surveys are not anonymous, respondents will play the political game. They answer in ways that they feel will most benefit them or cause the least amount of friction, even if it means overlooking important concerns and issues. Under the cover of anonymity, employees feel safe psychologically, allowing them to be more open about what may be bothering them at work.

Some individuals are less likely to share their opinions and ideas in a public forum. Perhaps it’s due to an innate shyness, insecurity, or fear of being ridiculed. Thanks to anonymous employee engagement surveys, these individuals can contribute as much as all of their colleagues. As a result, you may get great ideas and invaluable insights that you might not have received otherwise.

Employees Feel Respected

In addition to seeking ways of improving the workplace environment, anonymous employee engagement surveys also serve to make employees feel valued and that their opinions matter. They’re more likely to feel that they have a voice and an active role to play in shaping the future of the organization.

When employees feel like they’re valued and are active participants in creating a better workplace, they are likely to become more engaged, and therefore more productive.

There is a caveat to add to this section, however. In order to maintain the sense that employees are respected, management must take the steps required following the employee survey to address any issues that have been uncovered. It’s also a good idea to involve employees in the process of finding solutions to those issues.

Improved Retention

When you take action based on the data you receive from your anonymous employee survey, you’ll be going a long way towards improving employee engagement within your organization. This will eventually lead to better retention rates.

Again, failure to follow up on the feedback from the survey could potentially have the opposite effect that you had envisioned. Employees could become angry, disillusioned, and further disengaged, increasing their likelihood to seek employment elsewhere and leave your company.

It’s estimated that the cost of replacing an employee can be as high as 60% of his or her annual salary, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of orientation, training and lost productivity through the transition period. When you consider those figures, it becomes clear that better retention should be a top priority.


Safeguarding the identity of respondents is of primary importance. If employees feel that their anonymity is not protected or taken seriously by management, it could create distrust and even animosity.

The best way to protect your employees’ anonymity and to underscore that you take their concerns seriously, used to use a third-party engagement survey. Unlike surveys that are entirely created and managed internally, third-party surveys utilize tools and technology that guaranteed total anonymity.

When you plan your next survey, make sure you get accurate data, a good response rate, and show respect for your staff by employing a qualified third-party engagement survey provider who will protect your employees’ identity.

Learn more

You need to know what your employees think. Are they happy? Are they engaged? Do they plan to leave? Would they go the extra mile to see you succeed? That’s where we come in.

When you’re ready to learn more about employee survey timelines, process and pricing, schedule a time to meet with one of our employer coaches. We’ll get all your questions answered.

Content in partnership with Best Companies Group