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I have been asked to fill out a Workplace survey which is being handled through www.workplacedynamics.com.

This is the first time we have been asked to fill out such a survey. It says that my answers to the questions will remain completely confidential but then it has a unique ID that I am suppose to use that links me to my answers.

How confidential are these types of surveys?
Is this standard to have these type of surveys done?

This reminded me of the Manager Tools Exit Interview podcast, where it was recommended that you try to avoid it if possible and, if you cannot, then you answer everything positive. This was recommended because the Exit Interview can only hurt you and never leads to any changes at the company you are leaving.

Because this survey is suppose to be confidential would the recommendation be different and to participate in the survey?

If the answer is yes, I could see other people might be interested in giving these type of survey's.
What are the different objectives of these types of surveys?
I could see they could be a good way to focus efforts on areas that need to be changed?
I could also see it being used as an illusion that change is going to be happening.
If your company did do such a survey did they find it helpful?
Did it actually lead to any useful change?

Thank you very much,
Gerhard

If you are curious, or have never seen this type of survey before, here are the questions asked along with the answers to pick (The company name was replaced with MyCompany,Inc):

Do you work full-time or part-time?
Full-time
Part-time

How long have you worked at MyCompany,Inc.?
Less than 6 months
6 to 12 months
1 to 3 years
3 to 5 years
5 to 10 years
10 to 15 years
More than 15 years

Which of the following best describes your position?
Team member
Manager
Senior manager

What is your annual income from MyCompany,Inc.?
Less than $30,000
$30,000 - $50,000
$50,000 - $100,000
More than $100,000

What is the 3-digit area code for the local phone number at your primary work location?

Do you work in Programming?
Yes
No
Unsure
Please do not use my responses to help improve my department

** All off the following questions have the option of six answers **
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Slightly Disagree
Neutral
Slightly Agree
Agree
Strongly Agree

I feel genuinely appreciated at MyCompany,Inc.

There is a lot of frustration at my workplace

MyCompany,Inc. operates by strong values and ethics

My manager makes it easier to do my job well

My pay is fair for the work I do

I feel well-informed about important decisions at MyCompany,Inc.

My job makes me feel like I am part of something meaningful

My benefits package is poor compared to others in this industry

I have the flexibility I need to balance my work and personal life

I get the formal training I want for my career

My manager helps me learn and grow

At MyCompany,Inc., we do things efficiently and well

I have confidence in the leader of MyCompany,Inc.

Senior managers understand what is really happening at MyCompany,Inc.

I am happy with my career opportunities at MyCompany,Inc.

I have confidence in my manager

New ideas are encouraged at MyCompany,Inc.

I want to leave MyCompany,Inc. within the next year

I am confident about my future at MyCompany,Inc.

MyCompany,Inc. motivates me to give my very best at work

My manager listens to me

I believe MyCompany,Inc. is going in the right direction

I would highly recommend working at MyCompany,Inc. to others

I felt pressured to respond positively to this survey

Out of 99 (where 99 is best and 0 is worst), I would rate working at MyCompany,Inc. as:

 

Your employer may see these comments.
Please do not write anything that could be used to personally identify you.
 
The things I like most about my job are:
<Text Box to enter comments>

MyCompany,Inc. could better help me do my job by:
<Text Box to enter comments>

 

Solitaire's picture

I have worked for two large companies where these surveys are/were used and they were confidential in both cases.

Also in both cases the responses were used to (try to) make constructive changes to improve employee satisfaction in areas that were low.

For example in my previous company people scored the benefits package very low the first year the survey came out. Several improvements were made to the package and these were communicated about as they were made available. The next years this became a more highly rated item.

In my current company the Appraisal system was criticised and lots of changes are in place to improve this and these have also been communicated too.

So it depends what your company is like. The chances are if they are spending the time and money doing the survey, then they will act upon the answers and poorly scoring areas.

If you are a manager then the results should also be made available to you so that you can implement discussions and improvements for your team based on the overall company results.

Be wary about any comments you add to the survey. Some companies publish these to everyone and if you are overly critical or obvious in the style you use or the things you say, it may be easy for people to pin-point or assume that it was you who made the comments. I suggest that you only make comments in a professional way. If you are criticising something, then provide an suggestion as to what the solution to improve things could be. And only make comments that you would be willing to discuss face to face with any peer, direct or boss!

Good luck, and I hope things can be improved in your company as a result of the survey!

afmoffa's picture

I could use the first four or five questions in that survey to figure out who you were within one or two cubicles.  

kcherico's picture

This sounds like an employee engagement survey, which is a common tool used by companies to measure employee engagement (not to be confused with employee satisfaction). See this wiki link for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement. The survey administered by my company includes questions such as "The mission/purpose of MyCompany makes me feel my job is important" and "My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person." At my place of employment we have it drummed into our heads that any answers other than "Strongly Agree" or "Strongly Disagree" are basically tossed out of the survey results. In other words, we've been told that if we agree to a question we should mark it as "Strongly Agree" otherwise it supposedly doesn't count.

eastbayrider's picture

At the family owned company I work for we had a few years of those surveys. The owner's daughter in law was part owner of a company that analyzed those surveys. Their supposedly 'anonymous' surveys were being handled in the home office of the owner's son and his wife.
Not a lot of trust there.