5

Our organisation conducts Employee Engagement Surveys to get the feedback from emoyees. The surveys are being conducted by third party vendor named Quantum Workplace. The exact words written in a corresponding email to us are "Quantum is a leader in employee engagement, and they enable us to provide a forum for employees to confidentially provide their feedback"

Does this mean the feedback from employees will be recorded anonymously? If they are anonymous, I want to write about office politics, incompetent manager, several malpractices in the office. Also, what are the best ways to write these so that the company will not be able to find out the person who wrote this particular feedback. (Having limited number of employees, someone might be able to trace out the person who wrote the feedback by the points written in it.)

  • 3
    The top answer to a similar question is very enlightening - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/43784/… – P. Hopkinson Aug 12 at 8:02
  • My students fill out anonymous surveys online -- it's super easy for me to figure out who wrote what about 50% of the time, which is why we don't see them until grades are turned in. Only say things you're willing to say in person. – Kathy Aug 12 at 14:20
  • HR Is Not Your Friend.(TM) Be careful. – O. Jones Aug 12 at 21:03
12

If they are anonymous, I want to write about office politics, incompetent manager, several malpractices in the office. Also, what are the best ways to write these so that the company will not be able to find out the person who wrote this particular feedback. (Having limited number of employees, someone might be able to trace out the person who wrote the feedback by the points written in it.)

Tread carefully here!

I know you are imagining it will feel good to vent, but it will be extremely hard to write anything without the reader likely being able to figure out the origin.

I don't know this specific company, but I've seen many similar. While Quantum may indeed have measures that ensure the technical anonymity of the writer, the way you use your words, and the specifics of what you write might come back to haunt you.

Check to see if the actual words you write can be read by anyone in your company, or if the sentiment is just compiled into high-level metrics and impressions before being handed over to management. If the former, I wouldn't be as honest as you would prefer to be. If the latter, you might be able to get lucky.

I've seen many surveys where verbatim excerpts were passed along to management. I read them. It was seldom difficult to determine the author.

I've also seen a situation where excerpts were rolled up into departments, and the department managers and their managers read them. I ended up being "rolled up" into a department of one - only me, without my name of course. How's that for "confidentiality"? Fortunately for me, I would never write about office politics, incompetent managers, or malpractices in the office in such a survey.

7

You seem to be asking two distinct questions:

how effective are surveys?

and,

can my bosses tell who wrote what?

Unfortunately, the answers to both depend 100% on the attitudes and motives of the company leadership. I've seen companies where surveys were very effective and anonymous, and others where the survey was used as a witch hunt to find the complainers. Even when the survey provider takes steps to make the results confidential, it's usually very easy to tell who submitted what.

Unfortunately, we can't tell you which situation you are in, but, as a gut reaction, I would suggest that if your employer is supporting an environment full of office politics, incompetent managers, and malpractices, I wouldn't expect an "anonymous" survey to be the best way to address any of those concerns.

1

what are the best ways to write these so that the company will not be able to find out the person who wrote this particular feedback.

Confidentiality is not the same as Anonymity. The survey feedback may be collected confidentially, but only in some cases, it is partially anonymized for certain responses. In every engagement survey I've participated in, leadership at the director level or above could see who said what, though my immediate managers/ skips managers would not be able to see that.

But if someone leaves breadcrumbs of personal interactions, I don't think it would be hard for the manager to understand who might have been behind it.


That said, your original question is:

How effective are Employee Engagement Surveys? (Employee Perspective)

I've seen them to be effective at an aggregate level for the senior leadership to understand what they are doing wrong/ what can be improved at an organizational level. So, in a hypothetical example, if there are 20 of you under a leader, and 10 say the same thing needs to be improved, then that is something that gets attention. However, if only 1 person cribs among the 20, I would say unless the charges are very serious, that will be treated as an outlier rather than the trend.

Another way the surveys are useful is that when done on a periodic basis, they help leadership gauge the ups and downs in these trends. Continuing the hypothetical example, if for a question they got 10 negative response in previous run but now get only 5, this shows improvement. (and vice versa).

So as an employee, if you and others are voicing the same problems, you can expect some thought cycles to be spent on solving them.


However, to me, the crux of your question seems that you want to pass feedback regarding your manager, office politics back to the organization. If that is the case, I would suggest having a 1:1 with your skip level manager. Go with a documented list of malpractices which you can use as facts to back your opinions in this meeting. Most leaders keep their eyes open to such feedbacks, but if you still think you are not being heard / this is what the company culture is - you are left with 2 options - learn to live with it, or brush your resume.

0

Think about this:

  1. Who pays the survey company? You or your employer? That's right, your employer pays them. Then, based on that, for whose benefit do they work? For your benefit or for your employers benefit? Of course, for the benefit of the one who pays them.

  2. There are stated principles (anonymity) and then there are actual actions. So, how is the survey conducted? Do you get a personalized link in an email (so when you click it, they know it's you, since only you got that exact same url), do you need to log in using your corporate username and password etc? Or is it truly anonymous - can anyone, without any sort of verification of identity, submit their answers? The answer to that will tell you something.

If the actual actions are different from the principles as stated - as in, if they claim anonymity but in reality the survey is not anonymous - that will also tell you something.

Of course, someone will say that the survey company might know who you are, but that they (the survey company) will not give that info to your employer, that they only give the info in aggregate.

To answer that, go back to point 1 - who pays the survey company?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.