Why anonymous conversations are helpful
Some anonymous comments on your survey questions will be self-explanatory. Yet sometimes you require additional information from the commenter, and sometimes you want to acknowledge you have read the comment and will take action. For these situations, you can start anonymous conversations with the commenter.
Please note: the name of the survey owner / admin initiating a conversation on a survey comment will be visible to the comment author. The author (survey participant) will stay anonymous.
Here’s how it works:
- From the comments tab of your survey results ('Surveys’ module tab > 'Your Surveys' > click on the relevant survey > 'Comments’ tab), survey owners can start a conversation by clicking the 'Start a conversation' button beneath a comment. Comments can also be found on a specific question page where the comment was submitted on.
- Responding to a comment as a survey owner will trigger an email to the original comment author
- The comment author will then be able to respond to your comment, which would trigger an email to the survey owner
- The original commenter will remain completely anonymous throughout the process, while the survey owner’s name will be visible.
Please note: If the anonymity threshold is met, then the team name of the commenter will be visible to the admin and survey owner.
Enable managers and team leads to respond to anonymous comments
To enable managers and team leads to start conversations within survey comments, you can use custom visibility rules to allow managers and team leads the ability to read comments and starts conversations. To enable custom rules, go to the ‘Surveys’ module tab > ‘Your Surveys’ > click on the relevant survey > Visibility> Define your custom visibility rules which allow comments and conversations.
Reminders while engaging with survey respondents in an anonymous survey:
1. Ensure employees are familiar with the tool/process and manage their expectations:
If your organization is using anonymous surveys for the first time, please make sure the employees know that survey owners, admins, and managers can start an anonymous conversation with the employees (without revealing their identity). This approach is essential to build trust in the tool and manage expectations around anonymous surveys and Leapsome’s survey conversations feature.
2. Never ask questions that might reveal any user’s identity or personally identifiable information.
Protecting the integrity of the anonymous survey should always be the top priority. The questions you ask should only relate to the topic and ask respondents to remove any information that might reveal themselves or their colleagues; reinforce this habit when asking follow-up questions to anonymous survey comments.
3. Acknowledge the responses with gratitude and ask respectful, non-accusatory follow up questions if needed.
When responding to survey comments, always thank the respondents for ‘raising the issue/bringing this topic to light/highlighting this friction/frustration.’
Ask concrete clarifying questions and rephrase the responses to make sure you understand their answers:
“Can you offer more context behind your statement ....? I want to understand your response with more context.“
“Am I correct to understand that when you say .... , you are referring to .... and .....“
“To get the full scope of your request, can I ask ....?“
“To get the full scope of your request, can I confirm that you are requesting ......?“
4. Explore responses and topics raised with a curious mindset.
You should consider these questions while reading through and evaluating whether the responses offer enough context to understand a problem or offer solutions:
"Is this a new pain point, or has this only been brought up now but has existed for a while?"
"Does this topic/friction affect one/a few members, or is the entire team feeling similar sentiments/asking similar questions?"
"Do I have enough context around the problem/topic?"
"Is it enough information for me to start thinking of solutions (by myself, by asking input from the team or by asking someone more senior)?"
5. Use survey responses as a starting point for conversations and recognizing pain points, not for arguing, disagreeing or dismissing the submitted responses.
It is easy to get defensive or to question the response's validity when someone is anonymous or when the topics are sensitive/lack context. However, to have a productive conversation and embody a solutions-oriented mindset, you should always aim to discuss/address points raised in surveys via a group meeting, where employees will feel heard when their leaders acknowledge/discuss the topics. Use phrases like
“We noticed some responses around topic xyz in our recent survey round, here are some clarifications and additional context".
"Here are some action plans we formulated to look into this“.
It is important not to point fingers or to make respondents feel singled out for raising their concerns.
6. If you notice a response that is focused on a problem, but does’t offer ideas for solutions or ways to improve, nudge the respondents via followups.
Thank the respondent for bringing up this topic/pain point, and ask questions like
“Were there any ideas you think that could help us address this issue?“
“While I continue to think more about this topic, I would love to learn more: from your perspective, how would you like to have this problem approached from me/leadership?"
"How would you imagine our company should tackle this concern?“
“What would be some ways I as your manager/admin/leader could help tackle this topic?“
“What can [company name] as an organization do to make you feel seen/heard regarding this friction?“
Involving others in the conversation:
- The survey owner can assign comments to other users, who can then start or continue the conversation with the comment author by clicking on the tab 'private note / assigned users' within the survey comment
- If the survey results are not already shared with this person, it will automatically grant access to the comment
- The user will receive a notification and can start a conversation. The name of the new person assigned to the conversation will be visible to the comment author and all users with access to the survey results.
Reacting to survey comments
Anyone with access to survey conversations (i.e., Admins or Managers) can also react to survey comments with one of four 'quick-reactions':
- Great idea
- Thanks for the transparency
- I agree
- Would like to talk in person
Once you have selected a quick reaction, it is auto-saved immediately, and you can close the window. When a reaction is posted, the author of the comment will receive a notification. The author of the comment will also see the name of the person who reacted. This allows acknowledging comments more quickly and closes the feedback loop more frequently by incentivizing more valuable employee comments.