Confidentiality for engagement surveys

Balancing employee confidentiality with data integrity is a crucial puzzle in today's workplace—a puzzle that 15Five's Engagement feature aims to solve. 15Five's survey confidentiality policy protects individual anonymity and prevents results from being displayed for groups that don't meet a minimum respondent threshold. This, in turn, gives employees the peace of mind they need to share their true thoughts, driving participation in engagement surveys so that you have reliable, representative engagement data to act on.

In this article, you will learn...

Access and availability

⛔️ Required access to the Engagement feature.
👥 This article is relevant to all users.
📦 This feature is available in the Engage, Legacy Perform, and Total Platform pricing packages.


Engagement survey confidentiality in 15Five

Unbiased and honest survey participation is critical for an organization to receive accurate engagement insights from a survey. For this reason, 15Five intentionally designed our system to provide trust and security to employees. To ensure this, 15Five rigidly enforces our confidentiality policy in a few different ways:

  • Participation is confidential: 15Five does not share which employees did or did not participate in an engagement survey. We do, however, allow admins to see the response rates of groups during an engagement campaign.
  • No individual survey responses are identified. No one in your organization can see how an individual responded to statements in an engagement survey. Engagement results are only available in aggregate by groups that received no fewer than 3-5 respondents (see "Minimum respondent threshold for engagement results" below for more information).
  • Written responses are always anonymous. All written responses, which we call "Dynamic Feedback," are presented anonymously and can only be filtered by a single group type (e.g. by Department). For Dynamic Feedback comments to be available for a group, at least 3-5 employees from that group must have responded to the engagement survey. If the group meets the confidentiality criteria, leaders with results access for that group can read any responses that are received even if we receive fewer than five pieces of Dynamic Feedback.
  • No contact information is shared. 15Five does not sell personal contact information or use it for any other purpose, and it is protected with industry-standard encryption.

Minimum respondent threshold for engagement results

Survey confidentiality within 15Five's Engagement feature prevents engagement data from being displayed for groups with fewer than 3-5 members, or in instances where fewer than 3-5 people from a group respond to an engagement survey.

For example— if your organization has a Design team that's made up of only two individuals, survey confidentiality will prevent you from seeing engagement data for that group following the completion of a survey. Similarly, if your organization has a Customer Success team that's made up of 6 individuals and only 2 people submit their engagement surveys, you won't be able to see engagement data for that group.

All this said, even if an employee is in a group that contains fewer than 3-5 members, their responses will still be included in the organization's Engagement Score and in results for any other groups they're members of (as long as those groups have more than 3-5 survey respondents).

Confidentiality options

While the default and recommended threshold is 5 respondents, Engagement and Organization Admins have the option to customize the threshold to either 3 or 4 respondents as they configure Engagement feature settings.

Engagement-Confidentiality-Rule.png

We offer this threshold flexibility so that managers of smaller teams can access survey feedback for their teams. This visibility allows them to proactively identify potential pain points, address areas of improvement, and make data-driven decisions to enhance employee engagement.

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Tip

Although we offer the flexibility to set your confidentiality threshold to 3 or 4 respondents, we highly recommend sticking to what we call the 'Rule of 5'. This recommended policy, which prevents engagement results from being displayed for groups with fewer than five (5) survey respondents, is specifically engineered to protect respondent anonymity while also providing precise, actionable insights from your engagement surveys.


Why survey confidentiality is important

The best way to get employees to participate in an engagement survey and give honest feedback is to give them the confidence their responses are confidential. The fewer individuals there are in a group, the easier it becomes to identify where each person falls on the engagement spectrum.

With this in mind, we created our confidentiality policy to act as a safeguard to protect the anonymity of respondents. This confidentiality provides several benefits both for individual anonymity and for data integrity, including:

  • Protecting individual privacy: When there are fewer than 5 individuals in a group, it becomes increasingly easier to identify who provided specific feedback. This threatens the anonymity of participants, which can lead to hesitancy in providing honest and constructive feedback in the future.

  • Encouraging open dialogue: Knowing that their identity is protected allows employees to be more forthright and candid in their responses, providing better quality data for managers and HR to act upon.

  • Providing more accurate data aggregation: Smaller sample sizes are prone to high variability, which could skew engagement results or make them unreliable. Having at least 5 respondents ensures that the data collected is sufficiently aggregated to be representative of the group’s sentiment.
  • Avoiding misinterpretation: With too few data points, there's a high chance that the information could be misinterpreted. Managers or leaders might make decisions based on this unreliable data, which can have unintended negative consequences.

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