I have been asked to complete a online survey by my company. The email inviting me to do this reads (company named replaced):

This email is a formal invitation for you to take part in a confidential survey that will aid in strategic, retention planning initiatives as ABC Corp. builds for the future. I understand the importance of being a part of an organization that values my contribution and insight and encourages employees to speak up. Please understand, here at ABC Corp., we do and this is your opportunity to seize that moment.

The link provided is for Survey Monkey.com site. I have not clicked the link yet so I do not know what the questions are, but the tone of the email suggested that an employee may/can say negative things.

However, before I do anything I want to make sure my responses will not be linked back to me. I would assume that Survey Monkey will be able to log my IP address or some unique identifier, but will my company be given that information? Is it possible to remain anonymous?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking how Survey Monkey software works. Here is a link that contains your answer. Also, this question is basically the same question as what you are effectively asking. – enderland Jul 16 '16 at 18:32
  • @enderland Thanks for comment on my you closed. Having the the linked question I agree that does answer this question as well. – Skooba Jul 18 '16 at 12:37
  • 1
    Sometimes by the mere mention of specific grief may identify you out of a sea of opinions. – Dan Jul 18 '16 at 17:53

Confidential does not mean anonymous.

Technology aside, they are not promising you anonymity. They are promising you the results will be confidentially handled by whatever party is collecting and reading them.

If you don't know who that party is, this is a rather weak guarantee. If the party is HR, it's your guess whether your responses will be used in a way that impacts you. If the party is more innocuous, like your company's food service, you may feel more comfortable to share more, but that's your discretion.

I also want to add that with machine learning or forensic IT techniques it is not hard to link your responses back to you if they "really" want to. In my opinion, your bigger source of security is your personal trust in them. If you do not trust them then do not take the survey.

For the record I have taken complex surveys at my company and rated my manager, but that is a reflection of my trust in the organization and my trust that the survey is used in confidence. If I felt I were in a very risky situation at my company, I would not have taken the survey or completed it as honestly.


You can use various tools to spoof your IP, but that's probably not what they're using to identify you (unless you're accessing the survey at work).

If they wanted to know who you are the link itself may contains some parameter which might be unique to you, or the survey site might require you to log in with company credentials.

I'm sure that some companies really do run anonymus surveys, etc. but I've heard about more than one care where this was not the case. For example, as a student I criticized a prof on the course performance review only to be later confronted by said prof (so clearly those results weren't kept private). I now know someone working for a university, and such information is not nearly as confidential as you'd think.

Try to research the company running the survey and see if any allegations of sharing confidential information have ever been made against them.

Last but not least, if you want to say something truly negative consider whether it's worth your job before doing so (aka the worst case scenario).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .