Are Your Survey Response Rates Crappy? Here's A Culprit

by Sabrina Son on Feb 12, 2015 8:00:00 AM

iStock_000031039204_LargeThe open-door policy: does it really work? Sure, from a manager’s perspective, you believe you’re opening up the communication line. But think back to last month: how many of your employees actually walked through that “open door”?

Employees find it difficult to be completely candid with someone who has the power to fire you or make your work life miserable. So in order to crush this fear, you need to keep employee feedback anonymous.

Fear Of Backlash

A survey conducted by Cornell and Harvard Business Journal found that 42% of respondents who’ve spoken up about work problems or offered ideas said they withheld them on other occasions because they feared personal consequences.

Employees feel like they need to “play politics” or “save face” at the workplace. If employees voice their opinions, they believe managers will have a negative view of them, or worse, fire them.

So keeping surveys anonymous actually does save face for an employee. It provides them comfort in knowing they can voice their opinions without any negative consequences.

Who Said What?

Sometimes it’s natural to focus on the who instead of the what. Managers have the tendency to seek out this “bad apple” by investigating which employee gave a negative response.

Doing this makes employees feel like they’re being attacked. And even worse, you end up losing the trust of your employees. They end up feeling like managers don’t respect or value their opinions.

And preserving anonymity puts the focus on the what. Because frankly, pointing fingers doesn’t solve situations.

A positive work environment starts with engaged employees. And keeping employee feedback anonymous allows employees to voice their opinions to improve the culture or work environment without fear of negative retribution.

 
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This post was written by Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the managing editor for the TINYpulse blog. A Seattle native, she loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

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