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The benefits and drawbacks of an anonymous survey

Posted on 4/14/2021 by Elizabeth in category: survey software articles
Many managers and companies have found employee surveys are very helpful and valuable. They allow them to see a variety of workplace aspects which include employee morale. When you require employee feedback on new processes or projects, or you're wanting to find out what your clients think of you, gathering honest feedback is essential.

So, you think you created an engaging survey tool and you're at a point now where all you need to do is send it out. But, what about anonymity? Should you have your online survey software respondents include their names? Will that keep them from providing you with open and honest feedback? Or, should you send out an anonymous survey? Below are some benefits and drawbacks of an anonymous survey.

Benefits of an Anonymous Survey

Some benefits of sending out anonymous surveys are:

1. Employees Focus on Your Questions, Not their Responses

When you're asking questions face to face, a lot of individuals will focus on the question content and provide the response they believe the interviewer is looking for. However, when questions are answered anonymously, it allows employees to give the most honest responses, oftentimes without them sitting there contemplating on the answer.

2. Response Rates are Better

Anonymous survey response rates are typically better than for surveys that aren't anonymous. This is because individuals are more likely to trust an anonymous survey's stated intentions.

3. You'll Receive Honest Feedback

When an individual doesn't feel like employers will be able to trace their responses back to them, they're more likely to provide real, unbiased feedback. Also, they'll likely provide responses that reflect more accurately on how they're actually feeling.

Drawbacks of an Anonymous Survey

Some drawbacks of an anonymous survey are:

1. Can't Resolve Serious Problems

With anonymous survey software, you can't resolve serious problems that are provided, preventing you from having the ability to reach out to a certain respondent and have a personal discussion. But, this information is still important as you're able to adapt to the situation, laying out precautionary measures so the problem won't happen again.

2. Less Specific

You may see if there's negative feedback involved, it's usually broad-based because you won't have the ability to learn more by following up. You won't be able to get clarification. You might not be able to truly clarify the complaints of the respondents, so you can't be completely sure of the whole picture.

3. Respondents Might Not Provide True Answer

If your respondents fear reprisal for feedback they've made on a survey that's not anonymous, they might not give you their most honest and open responses. This can mean your decisions will be based on feedback that won't correlate to what's actually going on in your workplace.

If you decide on going the anonymous route, ensure you let your employees know you're preparing your survey with the best intentions. It's all about growth and positivity, and you want your employees to perceive your efforts as constructive.
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