Learn how your team really feels with anonymous feedback

Written by: Erika Khanna | Edited by: Alison Robins | Illustrated by: Officevibe team
Updated on: Published on: January 14, 2021 |  Reading time: 6m

Feedback is a gift. At least, that’s what many employees say, but is that how they feel? Effective feedback is only achievable if psychological safety is at the foundation of workplace dynamics. Otherwise, employees may not feel comfortable being explicitly transparent for fear of gossip, hurting people’s feelings, or being labeled as a ‘complainer’. 

This is where anonymous feedback comes in. Officevibe is an easy and accessible way for employees to be upfront about their concerns. Not only does this increase transparency, but it also saves managers time by highlighting areas to take action, and initiates more effective two-way conversations. With anonymous feedback, managers are given the opportunity to fully understand what is required of them in order for teams to feel supported.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of anonymous feedback.

Top 3 positive effects of anonymous feedback

1. Safe space to broach difficult topics:

Healthy teams have psychological safety at their baseline. This breeds trust, value and reliability. Anonymous feedback facilitates this, enabling employees to share openly. Gathering anonymous feedback can be intimidating at first. In fact, many of Officevibe app users fear that they will receive rude or unqualified feedback from their staff, given that they can hide behind anonymity. But overwhelmingly, managers find that this has not been their experience.

Employees welcome the safety of anonymity because it gives them a chance to deliver important information. It gives them agency to express feelings they’d always had but didn’t know how to share. The end result: greater cohesion within businesses, and a reduction in churn, and better teamwork.  

Anonymous feedback encourages trust and connection

Anonymous feedback encourages trust and connection

2. Trust, support, authentic connection:

At the end of the day, employees want to feel support from their team and their managers. Encouraging your team to share their thoughts (whether anonymously or not) shows that you value resolving their trepidations, their wellbeing, and setting them up for success. Officevibe’s anonymous feedback tool creates the option for feedback to be turned on or off. The focus remains on what was said rather than who said it.

The tool also allows managers to engage in a back-and-forth about the feedback with their employee, while the employee can decide to stay anonymous (or turn it off, if they’re comfortable).  

Many managers who use anonymous feedback have shared that their teams start by answering feedback anonymously. Over time, as confidence grows, and as they see how managers react to feedback, employees begin to disclose their identity. Ultimately building employee-manager trust.  

3. Ask questions with confidence:

Anonymity not only allows for openness in response, it allows managers to feel confident when asking tough questions. Does your team have the resources they need to get their work done on time? Are there team dynamics that need to be addressed? Is a change required for a healthier dynamic? Would this result in productivity and employee engagement? These are all valid questions that employees may feel more comfortable answering anonymously.

TLDR on positive effects of anonymous feedback: 

  • Encourages employees to bring up tough topics in a safe environment
  • Asking for feedback lets your team know that you care about their happiness
  • Managers can ask tough questions in a confidential way using Officevibe
  • Managers can discover issues they didn’t know about, and act to resolve them before they lead to conflict, failure, or churn.  

How to use Officevibe to collect and follow up on anonymous feedback

Officevibe’s anonymous feedback tool allows employees to easily share feedback with their manager at any given time. It gives your team a simple and safe vehicle to express their voice on the many matters of their day-to-day work. 

Enable anonymity to learn more about your team

Employees can enable or disable anonymity when sharing feedback

The beauty of our anonymity feature is that it helps employees start conversations that might otherwise be difficult to broach. Conversations related to their work environment, compensation, relationships with managers and other colleagues, etc. Ultimately, it inspires a culture of efficient and consistent communication, the most essential ingredient to a successful team. 

One manager shares her experience using Officevibe:

It shows me things that would be invisible otherwise. I wanted an option where my team could leave anonymous feedback. I was new, and I knew they were not going to give it to me directly, because they didn’t trust me yet.

Katelyn Koplan, Operations Manager at Back Office Betties

5 best practices for anonymous feedback

Step 1: Take note of behavioural patterns. Notice low productivity, stress strained relationships, or low collaboration. This will help you refer back to situations as you collect feedback and identify recurring pain points on your team.

Step 2: Introduce Officevibe: Let employees know that Officevibe is being implemented for them, to make things better and give them all an equal voice. Encourage employees to be honest in their responses and use the anonymity feature.

Step 3: Gather the data. Once your team has submitted their thoughts using the feedback tool, take a moment to review it. Group common themes together. Evaluate where there are larger team concerns. Spend time crafting the best way to present your findings back to the team.

Step 4: Follow up and take action. Never let feedback go unanswered. Thank employees for their honest input! Then, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned to heal dynamics, shift employee engagement, and build strong productivity. Provide a day/time where you’ll be scheduling open office hours in case anyone would like to continue to discuss their feedback in person. You can also book group sessions to discuss larger feedback themes and have the teamwork together to brainstorm solutions that are meaningful to them.

Bonus: You can respond to anonymous feedback directly in Officevibe! Turn employee feedback messages into a chat to better understand, while employees stay anonymous.

Step 5: Maintain a level of trust with the group. Never share feedback unless an employee volunteers for you to share it publicly. Doing so demonstrates that you take their anonymity and thoughts seriously and that you value their input. Initiate psychological safety whenever employees share candid thoughts.

Collaboration has improved more than anything. Officevibe gives us the chance as a team to look at scores together in-depth, and collaborate on the results – especially if we’re using Custom Polls to survey the actions we’re taking.

Matt Collins, Managing Director at Platypus Digital

TLDR on how to use Officevibe to collect and follow up on anonymous feedback

  • Keep a journal of initial behaviours, gaps, dynamics, productivity “dead zones”. 
  • Communicate the use of Officevibe’s anonymous feedback tool. 
  • Let employees know they can choose to turn anonymity on or off.
  • Clarify the purpose of anonymous feedback.
  • Cluster recurring feedback as they come up to prioritize action.
  • Follow up with your team during 1-on-1 catch up’s and group meetings. 
  • Thank your team for their input and be clear on next steps.

Once you learn about what’s holding people back, the door to propel them forward starts to open. Officevibe’s anonymous feedback tool helps managers do this with minimal time. As you create this notable shift, employees will appreciate your efforts and your team will be motivated to achieve future goals.