Anonymous employee surveys are a huge element of a PMS platform. Allowing team members to provide feedback based on several different areas of importance is vital to obtaining ground-level insight about performance management and employee/management relationships.

However, it’s also important for a thriving organization to have a certain level of trust. It’s important that team members feel they can speak freely without consequences and punishment.

While anonymous surveys may provide insight, they don’t do much for promoting trust within your organization. The following article outlines the biggest reasons to unmask your anonymous employee surveys.

Employee Surveys

Trust Factor

Many times, trust is only built within an organization when team members and management build relationships through real-life conversations. Shared experiences are also an important dynamic when it comes to building trust.

One of the best ways to create this environment is for your HR department to develop an employee experience that motivates a workforce composed of talented individuals. It’s important for upper management to understand what this talented workforce wants and needs to thrive.

The overreliance on anonymous surveys presents certain challenges when it comes to building trust. The following section outlines these flaws.

    1. Anonymous Is Average

When organizations rely on anonymous surveys, they rely on the myth of averages. No matter how much an organization allows employees to work on an individual basis and be independent, the anonymous survey single-handedly erases individuality.

It becomes almost impossible to understand the perspective of each team member, especially those whose voices are lost within the sea of average surveys. Many times, these lost voices may include top performers whose opinions should matter the most.

When this happens, it becomes difficult to retain employees when you convey the message that their individual needs don’t matter. If surveys are anonymous, it is extremely difficult to make them feel like their needs are being addressed based on written concerns.

These anonymous surveys are believed to give your team members the ability to speak freely. However, encouraging and coaching managers to have open, meaningful conversations is the best way to promote free speech. When this happens, these conversations become the best way to gain insight into what motivates your workforce.

    2. Anonymous Doesn’t Mean Action

Anonymous surveys don’t always equal action within an organization. Regardless of how these surveys are actually utilized, research has shown that most team members feel as if anonymous surveys hardly manifest any type of important action or changes.

This can cause your workforce to lose trust in upper management and your HR department. Even if your organization has the best intentions, anonymous surveys are difficult to put into action.

When you can’t discuss an idea in detail with the person that promoted it, how can you take appropriate action on these surveys? It’s impossible to gain full insight into how your workforce is feeling without furthering discussions regarding the ideas on the surveys.

One of the best ways to change this issue is not to do away with surveys altogether. Keep the surveys, but take away the anonymity. Once the surveys are read, team leaders and managers should approach each team member responsible for the survey and hold a formal meeting regarding the ideas.

Another problem that anonymous surveys create is forcing team members to delegate issues upwardly. They push their problems back up the ladder and promote the hierarchical structure instead of the more forward-thinking style of doing business.

There is a huge issue when team members feel like nobody is listening to their ideas. This completely negates the efforts of these surveys in the first place, almost making them a complete waste of time.

    3. Anonymous Doesn’t Develop Future Leaders

It’s important to encourage leaders within your organization to speak freely, and address issues that they feel are important. When anonymous surveys become a normal occurrence within your company, this hardly promotes free speaking and addressing vital areas of concern.

Instead of encouraging team members to be leaders and eventually turning them into managers and leaders, anonymous surveys may promote the exact opposite. Team members need opportunities to voice their opinions and feel like their stance matters.

To grow and develop, team members need the opportunity to discuss important issues. They also need practice at having uncomfortable conversations with peers and leaders.

It’s only through becoming uncomfortable that growth is achieved. Becoming uncomfortable promotes an outside-the-box line of thinking and allows important issues at the center of an organization to come to light.

Having uncomfortable conversations is a skill that your organization’s future leaders need. These skills must be continuously coached, groomed, and improved upon.

Unmasking Feedback

Human resources can’t create exceptional employee experiences using anonymous averages that these surveys promote. Unique and complex people should never be silenced, as these are some of the most important individuals within your organization.

Higher levels of performance are normally driven by emotional conversations and unique experiences. Personal interactions and uncomfortable conversations end up driving high levels of performance from team members and team leaders.

Instead of completely replacing surveys, consider unmasking them and incorporating them with personal conversations. Frequent and open conversations between employees and team leaders promote transparency that motivates your workforce.

Although it may be difficult at first, in the end, the results from these conversations can pay huge dividends. These situations end up assisting members of your organization in competing in the current competitive corporate world.

It’s important to be transparent about how your organization’s goals align with those of individual team members. This provides a solid foundation on which to base these conversations.

Consider eliminating anonymous surveys and discuss this idea with team members within your company. Ask them how they feel about changing the survey process and gauge their reactions. Most likely, you’ll find that their reception to these changes is incredibly positive.

This can be one of the easiest ways to improve trust and employee/management relationships within your company without deploying complicated programs or changing huge characteristics of the organization. It’s also a very cost-efficient way to accomplish these goals as well. You’ll not only receive improved insight, but you’ll also manifest more trust with your employees. At the end of the day, this is one of the most important tasks your company can accomplish. To learn more about performance management, click here to get your free eBook.