What’s the difference between Confidential and Anonymous Surveys?

18 Nov 22 | Knowledge Base

After you’ve chosen which survey to send, you’ll need to select whether it’s an ‘anonymous’ or a ‘confidential’ survey. Read more about which is the best option for you, and any considerations you need to make.

What does ‘confidential’ mean?

If something is confidential, it’s kept private. When you take a confidential survey, your answers are secret but not anonymous. lt’s also known as an ‘attributed’ survey.

Each invited survey respondent gets a unique link sent to them via email, and response data is linked to them as an individual. That’s useful because demographic information provided within the upload send list (employee data file) can be considered in your analysis. This information could include demographic characteristics like age or gender, or data like the team you work in and your tenure.

For data protection and privacy reasons, we make sure individual pieces of feedback can’t be linked back to the employee that wrote them. The Qlearsite platform also has data protection thresholds to ensure that individual privacy is protected while still allowing administrators and managers to explore survey and demographic data.

Sound like the right privacy policy for you? Read more about how to setup your confidential send list here.

What does ‘anonymous’ mean?

If someone is anonymous, they can’t be identified by name.

In an anonymous survey, responses can’t be linked back to you. It’s also known as an ‘unattributed’ survey. Employees are invited to take the survey using an ‘open link’, which can be sent in the following ways:

  • If you have contact details for all intended survey respondents, you can send the same link to everyone. This means they’re assured they won’t be identified by answering.
  • If you don’t have contact detail for all intended survey respondents, you can invite them by copying and pasting the ‘open link’ somewhere they can access it.
  • If you want to leave the survey open for a long time – as part of an ‘always on’ listening strategy – you can add it to a website or internal page

An anonymous survey means you can’t match responses with your own employee data. If you want to analyse demographics, you’ll need to add these questions to the survey itself. Read more about adding in demographic questions here.

Which option should I choose?

Confidential and anonymous surveys both have their pros and cons – from encouraging employees to respond, to getting more meaningful data. Here are some pros and cons:

Confidential surveysWe consider this the ‘gold standard’, as it allows you to get the most from your analysis by linking responses to demographics and employee data.Although our platform protects employees from being identified, your team may be sceptical that’s the case resulting in a lower response rate
Anonymous surveysEmployees may feel more free to respond honestly, leading to a higher response rate and more useful insights.

Some teams don’t have access to workstations (such as volunteers, or staff based at a remote site or factory) and organisation email accounts. Just using a link for the invite allows them to access the survey easily off intranets, chat applications, etc.
The quality of your analysis can be compromised because you can’t reliably link it to employee data. You are reliant on employees accurately responding to team or demographic questions.
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