It’s impossible to know what every member of your team is thinking. This means that without the right channels, you’re missing out on innovative ideas as well as valuable criticisms or major roadblocks.
It’s time to uncover some of those hidden thoughts and give your team members a voice with the help of anonymous feedback.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What anonymous feedback is
- The benefits of anonymous feedback
- How to get the most out of your anonymous feedback
Let’s take a deep dive into this type of feedback, why it’s so valuable, and how you can improve the way you handle anonymous feedback to get even better results.
What is anonymous feedback?
Anonymous feedback is any responses, insights, or critiques that can’t be linked to any one person as the source. Unlike non-anonymous feedback, it’s completely stripped of any identifying details — making it an ideal way to get honest thoughts from your team.
Anonymous employee feedback often comes in through methods like employee surveys, feedback forms, and suggestion boxes. With these digital features, it’s easy for remote team members to share feedback in a way that suits their working patterns and personal approach.
The benefits of anonymous feedback
There are lots of benefits when it comes to anonymous feedback — particularly for your team members. Giving opportunities for them to share feedback and criticisms privately, without their name attached, means everyone has a voice.
Some of the main benefits of inviting anonymous feedback include:
- ✔️ Higher chance of receiving honest, accurate feedback
- 📣 Opportunity to let every voice be heard and empower more introverted members of the team
- 🗳️ Chance to accept and review feedback on an ongoing basis, if using a suggestion box
- 😃 Remove barriers and make giving feedback more inclusive and accessible
- 🚩 Chance to uncover and act on issues or problems before they become major challenges
Once you embrace the benefits of anonymous employee feedback, you’ll be able to use it to make changes across your organization that can result in:
- 👍 Higher employee satisfaction levels
- 🔒 Higher employee retention rates
- 💡 More innovation and creativity
- 📔 Simplified processes and time-saving systems
- 😃 Happier employees
Getting on board with the idea of encouraging, reviewing, and acting on feedback can help move your company forward in the right direction. It’s all about how you make the most out of this useful data.
5 ways to get the most out of anonymous feedback in your company
Most companies are open to receiving feedback, but very few get the most out of it. Here’s how to truly embrace the idea of anonymous feedback and use it to drive positive change throughout your company.
1. Build trust with your employees
Your employees need to feel like there’s a relationship of trust before they’ll give you honest feedback — anonymous or not. Look to build trust with your team members so they feel comfortable sharing whatever’s on their mind.
Consider how you can make the way you operate and communicate more transparent. Remove knowledge barriers and make information accessible to everyone, no matter what level they’re at. Host Q&A sessions, Ask Me Anything sessions, and town hall meetings to give your employees a greater insight into how everything works.
Alongside trust, it’s important for your team members to feel like they’re part of something. Invest in your employee engagement efforts — host team building activities, run quizzes, and encourage managers to get to know more about their team members and how they like to work. Getting to know your team members builds relationships and trust, which makes it more likely that they’ll open up about any concerns or ideas they have.
2. Choose the right employee feedback tools and apps
Once you know that you want to embrace anonymous feedback, you’ll need feedback software and tools. The best anonymous feedback tools make the process feel easy, so consider what you need and look for a tool to match.
Think about whether you need features like survey templates, anonymous chat replies, suggestion boxes, and pulse surveys. Consider pricing, how many users you might need, and whether an app can use integrations to work with your existing tech stack.
You might already have an anonymous survey tool, but these lack in features and don’t give you the kind of culture-based buy-in you need. Instead, look to a more feature-rich employee engagement tool like Polly for your anonymous feedback needs.
Polly gives you everything you need to make giving, receiving, and acting on feedback a priority. Enjoy features like our Open Forum for anonymous feedback, pulse surveys for regular anonymous check-ins, and Q&A and live polling features for real-time or asynchronous Ask Me Anything sessions. Our features and polls (known as pollys) all work within Microsoft Teams or Slack, so you can bring feedback to the tools your team already uses.
3. Create a feedback culture
It’s tough to get team members to proactively give feedback if it’s not something that happens regularly and across the organization. Make giving, receiving, and acting on feedback a priority and part of the way you operate with a culture of feedback.
Embracing a feedback culture means that you’re open to ideas, criticisms, and suggestions. These can be given freely, without consequence — anonymously or non-anonymously. Introduce a range of methods that allow people to share their thoughts in a way that suits their personality and working pattern, and have a system for following up and taking action. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our guide on how to foster a feedback culture.
At Polly, this is something we live and breathe by. We’ve introduced systems of continuous feedback and seen great results. Making feedback part of your company culture encourages everyone to embrace it at every level, making it easier for individuals to share their honest thoughts.
4. Make it easy to give feedback
One major stumbling block that people run into is that they’re happy for people to give feedback, but there’s no easy way to do it. Historically, feedback forms and surveys were the go-to way to get people’s thoughts on what’s happening. Now, there are easier and more effective ways to collect feedback from everyone.
Look into features that allow you to collect feedback in different ways. Run a feedback survey after you’ve introduced a new policy or feature, or ask people to fill in a meeting feedback polly after your next virtual get-together. Run a multiple choice live poll to get an instant opinion on the plans for your next company retreat, or ask respondents to vote on their favorite option for your new company swag.
Alongside these instant and in-the-moment ways to capture feedback, make sure you always have an open place where people can ask questions, share feedback, and get a response. Polly’s Open Forum does this beautifully, by giving your team members a place they can ask questions and give feedback either anonymously or with their name attached. They can leave comments at any time, and your team can check in and share updates with ease.
5. Review and act on feedback
It’s easy to collect anonymous feedback, but that’s where many teams and companies stop. To get the most from your feedback, you need to act on it and give updates on what’s happening.
Design a feedback process that covers every stage of the journey — from inviting feedback right through to sharing a final update on the progress since the question, comment, or criticism was made. Assign someone to take care of the process, and follow up with managers or individuals along the way to make sure your process gets followed correctly.
Investing in a process for acting on and sharing updates on feedback establishes a foundation of trust and transparency. This means people will be more likely to come forward with more feedback in the future, as there’s evidence that it’s read and actioned.
Make your anonymous feedback work better for you
Capturing feedback from your team members will always be one of the best ways not only to understand what they really think, but to move your company forward in the right direction. Embrace anonymous feedback, build a strong culture around trust, and show your teams that you act on the information they share with you.
To help make the journey towards a culture of feedback easier, make Polly your employee engagement co-pilot. Our engagement features like Open Forum, live polls, and pulse surveys give you the tools to capture feedback with simplicity — and the protection of anonymity for your employees. Discover how Polly could become your favorite new employee feedback tool today.
Written by Nicola Scoon
Nicola Scoon is a freelance writer that's passionate about employee engagement and better workplace experiences. She draws on her experience in internal communications to help companies create content that empowers, encourages, and motivates people to create better experiences for all.