Using Anonymous Feedback to Increase Employee Engagement

By Liz Holland on

Do you really want to know what’s going on behind the scenes in your organization? Consider allowing anonymous feedback during employee feedback sessions. Anonymity will allow members of your organization to feel safer speaking out, and thus challenge each other more often when it comes to the sensitive issues that really matter. By working effectively with anonymity, you can craft a local corporate culture with greater overall transparency and fewer administrative blind spots. Although it may be tempting to pin your employees down personally for feedback, a more indirect approach may yield more actionable results in the end.

We are all aware that there is a long-standing corporate trend for control. The high ups want to know who everyone is, what they do, who said what, and why they said it. But this can have a chilling and silencing effect when it comes to employees feeling safe enough to speak out about difficult matters. True employee engagement requires cooperation and consideration. Work relationships are sensitive and no one wants to rock the boat if it will jeopardize their day-to-day interactions with their peers.

A particular dynamism and transparency develops when you allow people to speak their minds freely without fear of repercussion or judgment. When members of an organization are allowed to speak within a safe framework, problems the need to be addressed can be escalated and resolved more quickly. When real problems are exposed earlier and sooner, leaders are better empowered to address internal issues before they compound. In turn, employee engagement increases and retention rates rise.

Tailoring Anonymity Options to Fit Your Organizational Culture

At MeetingPulse, we provide an employee feedback app that allows leaders or facilitators to choose whether participants identify themselves – or contribute anonymously. There are various things to consider when deciding whether to anonymize employee feedback and ask for identification.

  • Dynamic Forward-Thinking Organizations: If your organization is dynamic and has alternative management methodologies in place already, anonymity may be a good fit. Anonymity work well when leaders are connected, engaged, and working from a non-fear based motivation. Younger organizations with forward thinking employees who are use to a degree of freedom will likely respond well to anonymous feedback systems. In more progressive organizations, employees are more likely to want to speak their minds. They are more likely to take action, as well, if something is not running smoothly – rather than taking the more traditional back seat and staying silent.
  • Traditional Control-Based Organizations: If your organization, on the other hand, is more traditional and control-based in its culture, it may not yet be a great fit for an anonymous employee feedback system. While it may seem like an innocent proposition, opening up to anonymous feedback can take unexpectedly difficult directions if the environment is not conducive. If your organization is highly divided and leans toward a dictatorial leadership style with high competition between employees, anonymity could provide a chance for unhappy employees to express simmering resentments or to unleash sarcasm. If members of your organization are repressed and unaccustomed to speaking their minds constructively, anonymity should be introduce much more slowly. If feedback is not anonymous, leadership is empowered to reach back out and address deep issues directly. Early on in a shift toward a more feedback friendly culture, inviting personalized feedback is advised. Perhaps you may want to host a few talks about productive feedback and the culture changes you have in mind. Once your employees are primed and the big, tense issues are sussed out, you can opt to begin using anonymous feedback methods more frequently.

The MeetingPulse Solution

At MeetingPulse, we allow you to quickly and easily customize the employee feedback experience to fit the personality of your organization. If you are in the process of shifting your organizational culture to a more open and cooperative system, we would like to help you to make this change. In order to learn more about our browser-based employee feedback app and how it can support your organizational goals, reach out to us directly for a free trial or sign up on our blog page to receive blog updates and our free ebook.

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