We recently got an invite to do a short (handful questions) anonymous survey on employee satisfaction. My first impulse would be to answer with my honest, negative impression of the employer: 'bad place to work', 'insufficient pay' etc. I'm trying to understand managements reason for doing this survey (first time in company history), so I know how to react.
Are there possible downsides to being honest? How will the management likely go forward with the data? The mood among my colleagues is not great but I don't know if everyone will answer honestly or if I would single myself out with negative responses.
I think the survey is actually anonymous, but I could be wrong.
Some points on the question and what happened next, added quite a bit later
For some reason, most of the discussion focussed on the anonymity aspect. The invite to the suvey said it would be anonymous, the survey was hosted on an external site and we don't use any intranet, the handful invites I checked all pointed to the same URL. That's what I meant with "I think the survey is actually anonymous" - I saw no straightforward way to de-anonymize the results down to the level of a person.
We received the invite to the survey with very little time till deadline, I think most of the answers and discussion happened after. That's why I didn't adjust the question, since it wouldnt be useful to my specific situation anyway but would disrupt the lively discussion happening.
What I did: I was pretty honest and mentioned negative points, about the same as I told my boss in our last one-on-one. My boss asked me (to late) to be positive: The company was in a difficult situation, he feared that negative voices on the survey would give upper management the idea that all is hopeless and they should cut further losses. This is a small (100 people) company distributed on four continents, nobody knows what's actually going on. When asking this question I was thinking about these political ramifications (but wasn't posting enough info on the company maybe) & and wha upper management likely does with the survey data. In the team with my boss, we were also discussing the actual anonymity and how things like timezones, speech idiosyncracies (English is a second language to all of us in this office) etc. might give upper management a clear idea who wrote what.
I left the company a few months later, till then I had not heard back from the survey.