Building trust with employees is critical to receiving honest and constructive feedback from them. How does Zeal help build trust, especially when our product includes an artificial intelligence that communicates with employees? We ensure that all feedback and metrics are delivered with anonymity. Further, high-level dashboards and metrics are viewable by any employee who uses the product.
We believe that employee feedback should be real-time, mobile, and anonymous. With Zeal and our artificial intelligence named Ava, employees can be confident that their responses are shown in our reports and dashboard anonymously. For example, we do not allow any user (admin or otherwise) to drill down into reports that have fewer than five people represented in the group.
The reason that we treat employees’ responses with anonymity is so that they can confidently provide responses while their identity is protected.
While there are some things that employees will tell you in the open, the reality is that there are things that people just won’t say in public or even in a one-on-one. Unfortunately, there are too many stories of people being ostracized or losing their jobs, when their open feedback is not received well. Like it or not, anonymity is the best way to make sure you hear the truth from your team.
There are many others who have written about the benefits and downsides to anonymity and employee feedback. Until we all have companies where feedback can be used without negative repercussions to individuals, Zeal will maintain that anonymity is the right pathway. Building trust within your teams is essential for everyone to perform at their best.
Zeal values transparency for two reasons. First, people are more likely to respond to questions when they receive something of value back from their answers. The reason is the psychology of reciprocity, which means that people give back (reciprocate) the kind of treatment they have received from another. When conducting polls or surveys online, one of the ways to provide something of value back to the person responding is by allowing them to see the results.
The same psychology applies to people responding and conversing with Ava. If Ava gives something to the employee, the employee is more likely to give her back something in kind.
Second, we emphasize transparency because it helps build trust with employees. We allow employees to see the dashboard, charts and metrics based on the results of all of the check-ins. Employees see the same data that leaders see. When employees see that their responses are being used appropriately, they can start to trust the collection process.
An anonymous feedback system needs to be run appropriately to avoid potential pitfalls. We are providing several best practices that you should follow to ensure you hear the kind of feedback that you can act on and improve your workplace:
- Encourage employees to give specific feedback
- Make sure employees understand that positive feedback can be just as valuable as constructive feedback
- Encourage people to provide solutions, which you can use to make improvements, giving a double-benefit to the feedback
- Provide a way for employees to give real-time feedback
Zeal provides multiple ways to help you build and maintain trust within your team. Our approach is to balancing anonymity with the right amount of transparency.