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How Can Feedback Affect Employee Engagement in 2021?

Do you want to get a clear image of your team's engagement? Let's take a look at anonymous feedback!


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Angela Ash

3 years ago | 4 min read

Feedback is a great thing because it shows even the smallest of issues before they get the chance to escalate. This much is as clear as day. However, in order to get a clearer picture, feedback should be anonymous.

How Anonymous Feedback Makes the Difference

First of all, people are afraid of retribution, especially if the feedback is dealing with their managers. Anonymous feedback is, hence, a great option to show employees there will be no consequences for any complaints.

Secondly, when feedback is anonymous, everyone is being treated equally — from managers to juniors. This sends the message that everyone’s opinion is equal.

Thirdly, when people are being honest, feedback shows reliable results.

Honesty Gets Problems Solved

Whenever there are serious issues, employees feel pressured. This, in turn, affects their engagement negatively and can lead to serious consequences in the long run.

Businesses that don’t practice anonymous feedback have a number of serious issues and high percentages of employees leaving for better work conditions. This is particularly underlined in old-school businesses that inspire unhealthy competition and encourage finger-pointing.

When employees are afraid, they won’t be either happy or honest, and it is only natural to expect they’ll be looking for better prospects elsewhere.

In fact, fear of retribution is the main culprit behind dishonesty. The culture rooted in fear is not a healthy place for anyone, so make sure to keep this in mind.

Anonymous employee feedback renders honest complaints for the most part. These should be taken seriously and addressed accordingly. The practice sends the clear message that everyone’s opinion matters and that the business wants to make everyone happy.

Everyone Is Equal

Another benefit of anonymous feedback is that it shows employees that everyone is equal. Every employee can complain about managers and execs without fearing retribution, which boosts confidence rates and employee engagement.

By extension, anonymous feedback creates a sense of importance. When every opinion matters, people feel welcome and protected.

Businesses that address complaints enjoy high levels of trust because their employees know that their voice is being heard. They are likely to become more engaged because when they’re content, they don’t have many reasons to look for other business opportunities.

Everyone Is Valued

When anonymous feedback is used to its full potential (namely, to address the issues), employees feel valued on many levels. This is really all about psychology and the world of today. No matter how beneficial someone’s position may be, the fact that the growing inequality is pushing society towards an ever-deeper abyss is obvious.

Anonymous feedback, thus, creates an equal-opportunity workspace for all because even if there are some issues, employees know they will be promptly addressed.

Engagement Replaces Fear

Fear is the driving factor behind pretty much every human action. Depending on specific circumstances, everyone has a hidden agenda or two, so to speak.

Some people are afraid of losing their jobs and, by extension, the ability to feed their families. Some people fear stigma. Some people are simply more realistic about human nature than others. No matter how you look at it, all these millennia of evolution have left us with numerous instincts that have nowhere to go but turn into anxiety and depression.

Did you know that loneliness is the main issue in the society of today? According to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), more than one-third of adults over 45 feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults over 65 are considered to be socially isolated. And that is in the U.S. alone. Where is the rest of the world?

What has all that to do with anonymous feedback, you might ask?

Quite a lot, it turns out. Working adults spend the majority of their time engaged in their work, for various reasons. Our daily lives are revolving around money and money doesn’t grow on trees. Now imagine working in a hectic environment where everyone is afraid of repression or retribution. Not good. Anonymous feedback has the potential to address these issues efficiently if nothing else.

Forget the Word “Retribution”

We come again to the matter of retribution. Because it is so prevalent in our society, it deserves to be given thorough attention. We’d say it needs to be uprooted entirely, but we’re old-fashioned romanticists. People like power and, for many, the ability to dominate over others is one aspect of it.

It would logically follow that the matter is psychological but, then again, which one isn’t?

One good thing innovation will manage to put on hold is — retribution. For, those who obstinately hold to some old-fashioned hierarchies, will go down with their businesses. Due to the fear mentioned above, it is highly likely they will, albeit unwilling, choose to compromise rather than to lose the benefits they enjoy.

Thus, a seemingly equal-opportunity workspace empowered by anonymous feedback will, finally, make people feel freer. And freedom is something everyone dreams of attaining.

Boosting Creativity

When employees know their voice is being heard, they will feel encouraged to put forth their ideas (well, at least some of them). If you go one step further and encourage engagement and learning, you will be rewarded accordingly.

Inquiries and ideas are what propels every business forward (and everything else, for that matter). Workplaces with the slogan “there are no stupid questions” are more productive, as a rule, because many options circulate making multiple combinations possible.

Many future-oriented innovative businesses invite students from different branches and ask about their opinion about unrelated things. Because experts tend to observe everything exclusively from their point of expertise, this practice has actually inspired some of the most loved products around.

All that — because of anonymous feedback.

And, as you can see, anonymous feedback is just the starting point. Its main purpose — to make people freer and encourage them —- inevitably leads to an open-minded workplace and greater engagement. In the long run, this is what every business should strive to achieve. Happy employees are, after all, creative employees.

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Angela Ash

Angela Ash is a writer at heart, focusing on numerous topics related to business, productivity, mental health, travel and more. But, she also loves to edit, is addicted to HARO, and somehow finds time to write poetry and play the piano.


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