Management says our responses cannot be identified, but we have to enter a pre-assigned user name and password to access the survey form. This makes me uncomfortable.

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Q: Our company is conducting an employee-satisfaction survey. Management says our responses cannot be identified, but we have to enter a pre-assigned user name and password to access the survey form. This makes me uncomfortable. Should I be concerned?

A: Employee surveys are only valid when people give honest opinions. Since concerns about being identified can invalidate the data, professional survey providers take steps to prevent this problem. Therefore, you have less to worry about if the survey is being conducted by a reputable outside vendor.

Identity can be protected through either anonymity or confidentiality. Anonymity means there is no way to know who completed each form, while confidentiality implies that such information may be gathered, but not compiled or shared.

If the vendor has given everyone the same user name and password, responses should be anonymous, especially if you log in from a personal device. However, unique identifiers may be assigned to insure that no one takes the survey twice. In that case, you should ask how confidentiality will be protected.

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But if this survey is being administered in-house, that’s a different story. Because internal systems provide many ways to connect survey answers to individuals, your confidence in anonymity will depend upon your level of trust in management.

Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.