Why Anonymity Makes a Difference

Woman seeing only the tip of the iceberg

Are you only seeing the tip of the iceberg in your organization?

When it comes to running a successful company, what you don’t know can and will come back to bite you. A recent study showed that unhappy employees can cost up to $16,000 each per year in lost productivity. Unfortunately, while many employee engagement tools are good for taking the general pulse of your team, they often fail to provide the kind of true anonymity required to get directly candid feedback. You may be miss out on valuable insights until it’s too late to take action.

Anonymity makes a difference

If you’ve never deployed an anonymous 3rd-party suggestion box before, you may be shocked at the level of candor you receive from your employees. Unlike traditional employee engagement tools, a truly anonymous suggestion box has nothing that can identify the employee submitting feedback. An employee who needs to say hard things can submit from any device, any location, secure in the knowledge that they are not being secretly tracked by the company and that their response can’t be connected back to them.

Compare that with an engagement or “pulse check” tool that requires each employee to have an account, and often tracks the sentiment of individual employees or teams from day to day or week to week. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such a tool—in fact, we’re big fans at Suggestion Ox—but a service that requires individuals to log in or that tracks their responses over time will not get the same level of candor.

When you need to hear the truth

As a leader, you’re probably not seeing and hearing everything that’s going on with your team. Employees are often afraid to say difficult things or ask hard questions for fear of retaliation from management. Usually, this fear is misplaced—good managers want to hear about problems, so they can make things better—but whether based on experience at previous companies or lack of trust, it’s not unusual for employees to remain silent while the most important issues remain hidden and unaddressed. Up to 70% of employees may be actively looking for a new job thanks to dissatisfaction with their current company. Sadly, as leaders, you can’t improve job satisfaction without truly hearing what people are concerned about.

Foster great ideas from those who don’t always speak up

Not everything you’ll hear from an anonymous suggestion box is bad news. Anonymity also empowers employees who have great ideas but who are too shy to speak up. Empowering painfully shy employees is a challenge for any leader, and providing an easy way for them to share their brainstorms can open an untapped gold mine. With time, the quiet, shy employee can be encouraged to share their ideas “out loud,” but the safety of an anonymous inbox may help them take those first steps.

Small investment, big payoff

Following best practices for deploying an anonymous online suggestion box can be a quick win for any company. Showing your commitment to maintaining anonymity and taking action on employee feedback is one of the best ways to drive employee loyalty, satisfaction and positive feedback loops.

Suggestion Ox has turbocharged the suggestion box. Over 50,000 companies, associations and government agencies use their anonymous online suggestion box to gather actionable employee feedback, gain customer insights or empower whistleblowing and reporting.

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