I am trying to explain to my employer why an ‘Anonymous Survey’ asking for feedback on each of my coworkers isn’t anonymous when I am the only female being asked to fill out the survey.
You might as well ask me to stand up in front of each of them and point out their faults and failures. First off, an environment is not safe for criticism when made anonymous. From a psychological standpoint, anonymous criticisms are perhaps taken even more offensively than open criticisms, ESPECIALLY from peers where those peer coworkers are abundantly aware that some are making more money then others.
Furthermore, not signing your name to the bottom of your comments does not make the comments anonymous. As the lone female in the room, and seemingly the only person with the true understanding of this scenario they’re creating, I think differently then men, I speak differently then men and I convey my thoughts differently then men. My feedback provided would stick out like the metaphorical sore thumb.
Lastly, but certainly not least, it’s insulting to suggest that people who communicate with one another every day, multiple times per day, aren’t able to differentiate the ways in which their peers communicate. Some of the men being asked to fill out this survey have been working together for fifteen years. I 100% GUARANTEE they know exactly how their coworkers write. Just like I know exactly who adds extra capital letters where they’re not necessary, throws ‘…’ into sentences they are still trying to form in their mind whilst they’re typing, or starts the majority of their sentences with the words ‘thoughtfully’, or ‘respectively’ or ‘importantly’, so do each of them. I know how they write, and they know how I write. Much like we have clear differentiators in the way we speak, we have differentiators in the way which we write.
This survey is not anonymous.
It’s going to start conflict.
My employer trying to tell me that I’m not being a team player if I refuse to fill this out truthfully is coercion.
In the hierarchy that is 95% of companies in this world, holding employees responsible to other employees (who are at their same level on the company hierarchy, such as my company is trying to implement here) is an abdication of responsibility on behalf of the managers. If they’re not going to manage, why are they being paid extra to be managers? Implementing this change under the guise of being ‘anonymous’ is dangerously misleading.
Are my coworkers going to say mean things about me? Probably. Am I going to be offended by it? I guess we’ll find out when I see it. Am I going to provide honest feedback? Absolutely not. This is not anonymous, I’m not paid management salary and I know better than to walk into a hornets nest. The men in my office hold grudges. You could argue that’s bad company culture, I’d argue that’s human nature. It’s specific to the men in my office (because there are so few females at my company), but it’s a generalization I believe applicable to the human race as a whole.
Companies that are actually interested in honest feedback from employees need to provide a safe-space for employees to provide said feedback. An ‘anonymous survey’ just isn’t that. If they cannot provide a safe-space for people to provide honest feedback, they shouldn’t be asking for it.
Let the in-fighting begin.