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  • Kristen Curran | Creative Consultant

Confidential vs. Anonymous: Should I be worried about answering surveys truthfully?

Updated: Sep 10

You open your email and see the survey that everyone’s been talking about. In general, it’s easy to answer the questions. Yes, yes, no, maybe, needs improvement… but then you read “What do you like least about working at this company?” Maybe you really like your workplace and just have a couple points of constructive criticism to put here. But maybe things have been really difficult at work these past few months. You might think about how your boss is a hard person to bring up issues with or how you feel exhausted and overworked. Maybe you have daydreams about telling the CEO what you really think about how things are going. You’re not sure whose desk this survey is going to end up on. Maybe no one will read it. Maybe it will be sent straight to your supervisor with your name on the front. You decide it’s not worth getting in trouble over, so you skip the question.

What really happens when I get an Inturvey survey?

One of the most common questions people have before they take a survey is: “Is this anonymous?” This is a very practical question; it’s not worth answering a survey honestly if your responses will come back to bite you. Here at Inturvey, we take this concern very seriously and want to explain our approach. Your responses are anonymous to your company, meaning that they cannot connect your survey answers back to you. Your answers are confidential to us at Inturvey, meaning that we do know your identity, but under no circumstances do we share your survey answers with your company in a way that would allow them to know your identity. We care a lot about making you feel like you can safely answer the survey. Our company name, Inturvey, came from a mish-mash of the words “Integrity” and “survey”. Keeping your responses confidential is our first priority.

How we do survey collection:

When you fill out an Inturvey survey, your email address is linked to your survey — but only at first! We do this for three reasons:

  1. To ensure that each person only fills out one survey. Sometimes accidents happen, and surveys are submitted multiple times. Or sometimes, someone may be tempted to submit a survey multiple times to “stuff the ballot.” It’s important to us that everyone’s voice carries the same weight in our surveys: from the interns to the entry-level employees to the CEO.

  2. This allows us to be on hand to help with anything you might need during the course of the survey. For example, we can help you to change your answer to a question or check to see if any questions were skipped.

  3. We want our surveys to be as hassle-free as possible. Since the surveys are linked to email addresses while survey results are being collected, we can send timely reminders to people who have yet to take the survey while making sure that quick responders avoid getting unnecessary emails.

After the window for taking the survey has closed, we no longer have any reason to link email addresses with survey responses, and we remove the email addresses at that point.

What do confidential and anonymous mean anyway?

Confidential means that at some point in time an identifier is linked to your responses.

With our surveys, your email address is tied to your responses while the survey is available. However, once all the surveys have been collected, we remove the link to your email address and your responses can no longer be identified.

Anonymous means that there is no way to identify who filled out a particular survey or even to know if a person took the survey in the first place. This is how the responses look to your employer. Your employer is NEVER given the original data that was linked to people’s email address. Furthermore, in order to prevent your employer from being able to guess who said what on a survey, we NEVER provide data for groups with less than five people (location, race, sexual orientation, etc.). For example, if you are one of three people who work at your company’s new satellite office, we won’t compare responses between people who work at the main location and people who work at the satellite office.

We take your trust very seriously and want you to know that it is always safe to give us your honest opinion about the questions we are asking. Please reach out to Renee at renee.grassi@inturvey.com if you have additional questions about the confidentiality of your survey answers.