Assessments: Maybe Respondent Anonymity Is Not Always Best

A hand pulls aside a curtain from behind

In just about every article on corporate-wide assessments, the recommendation is for respondent anonymity. We understand why…it is assumed employees will be more open and honest with their feedback and will have no reason to worry about repercussions. 

But here is another perspective. Anonymity may not always be in the best interests of the employee or the employer. Especially when training needs assessments are concerned, there are reasons to pull back the proverbial curtain and share the source of the feedback. 

Here are those reasons. The insistence on assessment anonymity can unfortunately foster:

  • An unquenchable desire to know the source of the feedback and then the hunt that ensues takes away from the real issue.
  • A sense that speaking up is unsafe. If anonymity is the condition, employees may feel that they need that protection before they can safely share honest feedback.
  • A lack of specifics that makes correction or improvement problematic.

For training gaps to be effectively addressed, managers need to know where the performance problem exists and how it affects the team. They need to involve the subject of the feedback in order to plan a path toward improvement. The manager needs to explore the situation first with the feedback giver and then with the feedback receiver. How else can coach and coachee effectively address the performance problem?

What is also required is an open organizational culture where feedback is encouraged at all levels within the company. Senior managers need improvement too. They should invite suggestions from their teams and then be sure to act upon them. Set the example of the desire to learn and grow. 

We know that the most effective training comes as a complete package: targeted, interactive skill building with follow-up coaching and reinforcement. The best way to learn where training is needed is from the front lines. Find out where employees and managers see gaps in skills and performance and follow up to see their feedback is both appreciated and acted upon.

Learn more at:

No comments:

Post a Comment