Should Team Pulse Surveys Be Kept Anonymous?

Pulse Surveys are a great way to keep tabs on your employees and how they feel about their job. Should they be anonymous or not?

October 24, 2022
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Pulse surveys are a healthy way to track employee satisfaction in an organization, and there are many benefits to checking your team's pulse. In recent times, however, the conversation has been shifting to whether or not they should be kept anonymous. 

One side thinks a pulse survey is watered down and, therefore, less effective when it's done anonymously, while the other side thinks it's better for employee protection.

One side thinks employees are more likely to think deeply before they take a pulse survey when their name appears on it. The other party believes they might be able to speak freely.

Both sides make vital points, and in this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of keeping a pulse survey anonymous and transparent.

Will your company benefit from an anonymous pulse survey? Let’s find out!

Are Pulse Surveys Actually Anonymous?

Yes, the results would be completely anonymous if the company sent out an anonymous survey. 

However, pulse surveys are typically not anonymous because they provide a snapshot of how your team members feel about your company and their job. And they often become invaluable if you don't know who said what.

On the other hand, companies are embracing anonymous pulse surveys to enable employees to give their candid opinions without fear or restraint.

Here are a few ways to ensure anonymity and honesty when administering a pulse survey:

  • Ensure that each participant has a unique code. They can enter their code while taking the survey, so they don't have to worry about someone else seeing it and using it themselves.

  • Have an on-screen option for respondents to choose whether or not they would like their data included in future analysis. This allows participants to give consent to anonymity or not.

  • Ask questions that don't require any personal information from respondents. For example, "Do you like working at ABC Company?" or "Do you think ABC Company is a fun workplace?" These questions don't require anyone to reveal their identity and can be answered anonymously without fear of retribution.

How Does A Pulse Survey Work?

Pulse surveys differ from traditional check-ins that may occur more frequently. They work by tracking values such as employee KPIs, employee engagement, career progression, and other values that the company can use to measure their employees' satisfaction and engagement rate. 

Through the information gathered in every pulse survey, employers track how satisfied their employees are and look for ways to improve it. Happy employers are more productive, so that's a win-win for both parties.

Running pulse surveys doesn't have to be complicated. If anything, it should take minimal effort but produce great results. Check out this template that changes how pulse surveys are done in every organization - making it seamless!

How do I create an anonymous survey for a team?

An anonymous survey does not include any personally identifiable information (PII). This means, for example, that the survey creator will not know who took the survey and how many people responded to it. This survey differs from a confidential survey, where the creators may see some information about the respondents (but not their identities). 

For an anonymous survey to be successful, some things must be done right. Aside from wanting to phrase your questions well to get the correct answers, you also want to ensure that your promise of anonymity stands.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Employees should know it's an anonymous survey.

When you check the team's pulse using an anonymous survey, the team should be informed that it's anonymous so they can proceed appropriately. 

By giving them this information, you tell them, "It's fine; you can say the things you need to say with full honesty."

  • Use the right tool.

Using a tool that ensures the anonymity of your team is the first crucial step in doing a successful anonymous survey. 

It also needs to be simple enough to create and even simpler to fill. Any overly complicated form may cause team members to fill in generic answers to save time. 

Assembly's pulse survey template is easy to use and editable to accommodate your company's needs. 

  • Ask the right questions.

If you send out an anonymous survey, you want to ensure that you ask questions that will give quality answers.

It’s important to find the balance between asking relevant open-ended questions and questions that won’t give away their identity.

What Are The Disadvantages of Anonymous Surveys?

Depending on where and when companies use anonymous surveys, they can either lose their effectiveness or enhance your results.

  1. Consider a scenario where there is a need to follow up with an employer regarding something that came up in their pulse survey. HR would know who to contact and clear things up efficiently if a name were attached. 

But, with an anonymous survey, they'd probably have to share the feedback with the rest of the office, hoping that the right person would see it. And that’s not so efficient. 

  1. Another case where keeping a pulse survey anonymous might be ineffective is when everyone in the organization doesn't fill them. 

There's no way of telling who hasn’t filled theirs. In the long term, this can affect the team morale regarding filling and submitting pulse surveys. 

  1. One of the many advantages of checking the team's pulse is knowing their needs. But you can't process this into actionable plans for each individual if you don't know who wants what. 

The team members have different needs, and an anonymous pulse survey will only allow for addressing a general problem. 

Why Are Anonymous Surveys Better?

Anonymity is the major advantage over non-anonymous surveys. With surveys, you want to know what people think, and anonymous surveys give you that unbarred.

Anonymous surveys are better for several reasons. Here are our top 5:

  1. Anonymous surveys are great because they allow people to be honest and truthful. People are likelier to answer what they think the surveyor wants to hear when they are not anonymous.

  2. Anonymity also protects the privacy of individuals who may not be comfortable sharing their personal information with the company, such as age, gender, race or religion.

  3. They allow everyone who takes part in the survey to have an equal voice during decision-making processes within the organization — no matter their role in your company.

  4. In addition, anonymous surveys allow you to ask questions that might not be appropriate for other types of surveys. You may want to know how much people earn or how often they take sick days, but those questions might not fit into a non-anonymous survey format.

  5. Finally, anonymous surveys aren't subject to social desirability bias - when people give answers that they think will make them look good rather than providing honest answers.

Use Assembly's pulse survey template to create and manage your anonymous surveys safely and effectively.

Are anonymous surveys really worth it?

When companies use anonymous surveys tastefully, and with proper execution, they are worth it. 

You can be sure that the results are true, and devoid of sugarcoating. Now and then, an organization needs a dose of raw honesty to get specific issues under control. 

If your organization is yet to make pulse surveys a regular habit, it's time to rethink that. Feedback is essential, and it's not a one-way street. While you offer feedback on employees’ work, they should be able to give feedback on their thoughts and how they treat them. Take it from us!

Get started on running pulse surveys easily and effectively. Book a demo today

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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