Should You Reply to Negative Feedback?

Posted September 11th, 2018

Should you reply to negative feedback?

A common question asked by those collecting feedback is whether or not to respond to negative feedback. In our opinion, the answer is YES.

Positive feedback is great. It’s a virtual pat on the back. More importantly, it validates the work you’ve done and makes you feel good about yourself or your organization. Negative feedback on the other hand is much easier to ignore. It can often present additional work or invalidate the work you’ve done. But it should never be ignored. Here’s why:

It offers a rare path to improvement.

Trolls aside, people leave negative feedback because they are trying to help. They care about your organization or about it’s potential benefits. For every person who leaves negative feedback, many more will stay silent and simply walk away. Take negative feedback seriously and use it to improve your product or service. It may even be the case that no improvements are necessary there was a simple misunderstanding. In any case, you should always reply back to the respondent.

It opens an important dialogue.

It can be very angering to have feedback ignored, especially if the person is already upset. A quick reply can diffuse the situation immediately and open a meaningful dialogue between you and the respondent. You might not be able to solve their problem right away, but letting them know you care is a good first step. If you’re using a canned response, consider customizing it a bit by reiterating their concerns. As you work toward a solution, reply back with occasional updates or an estimated timeframe.

Not responding is responding.

Giving a respondent the cold shoulder signals that you don’t care enough to respond. At this point, they may take their grievance public and potentially damage your organization. A quick response only takes a minute and could save you significant trouble in the future.

What about anonymous feedback?

Before the release of Incogneato, replying to anonymous feedback was difficult, if not impossible. Incogneato solved that problem by allowing organizations to anonymously communicate with those who leave feedback. Acting as an intermediary, Incogneato relays messages back and forth, allowing the respondent to remain anonymous.

Improve your organization with Incogneato. Start your free trial now. Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons to choose Incogneato for your anonymous feedback.

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How Can Your Organization Benefit from Anonymous Crowdsourcing?

Posted May 6th, 2018

A paramount feature of Incogneato’s Premier Plan is a powerful anonymous crowdsourcing forum. This feature enables the ability to selectively add suggestions already received via an Incogneato anonymous suggestion box to a publicly available site for anonymous voting and discussion. Here are just a few practical uses by field:

Does Crowdsourcing Really Improve Ideas?

Recent studies from both the Harvard Business Review and MIT’s Sloan Review suggest that crowdsourcing ideas is an effective and necessary exercise for companies interested in improving both their operations and knowledge base.

Findings from a study released last year by MIT’s Sloan Review were among the most promising. The researchers spent four years at three large organizations, one each from the telecommunications, healthcare, and retail fields, studying the implementation, reception and results of crowdsourcing initiatives. Their findings were unequivocal: “Because many large companies have pockets of expertise and knowledge scattered across different locations, we have found that harnessing the cognitive diversity within organizations can open up rich new sources of innovation. Internal crowdsourcing is a particularly effective way for companies to engage younger employees and people working on the front lines.”

This study suggests that crowdsourcing taps into existing company resources by leveraging the innovative power already present in employees. Sometimes all it takes is bringing people together to collaborate and share knowledge.

An article by Henry Chesbrough in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) also suggests that companies willing to crowdsource beyond the confines of their own organization may stand to reap enormous rewards, even if that means sharing proprietary information. “Companies must become nimble at “open innovation”—at accessing and exploiting outside knowledge,” writes Chesbrough, “while liberating their own internal expertise for others’ use.”

Whether companies are providing internal crowdsourcing tools to gather suggestions from employees, or expanding beyond the bounds of their organization to source solutions from external groups, they’re acquiring new knowledge, ideas, or resources at a very small cost.

Why Does It Have to Be Anonymous?

When not anonymous, employees tailor their feedback to avoid irritating or challenging their superiors, which guarantees that potentially difficult or groundbreaking discussions end up watered down or withheld altogether. Other groups, like customers, students and coworkers, may also hesitate to engage in a candid discussion when they feel their words can alter or jeopardize a relationship.

This desire for anonymity is well-documented in research on employee feedback. In an article on conducting employee surveys, HBR noted that when asked to submit feedback, anonymity is the number one concern for employees.  When employees are certain that their feedback will remain anonymous, they are not only more likely to submit honest, productive feedback, they are likely to submit it more often. This type of environment is vital for the successful implementation of a crowdsourcing initiative. Candid, secure employees are far more likely to provide innovative insights than those worried about the consequences of alienating leadership.

Anonymous Crowdsourcing with Incogneato

Incogneato’s Premier Plan offers company managers the opportunity to crowdsource ideas and feedback from employees in an open and anonymous setting. It does this by expanding upon Incogneato’s core functionality by letting managers selectively add suggestions they receive to a public voting and discussion box. The box can be both password-protected and restricted by IP address to limit access.

Incogneato can help to validate employee contributions while providing the company with tangible suggestions for improving workplace culture and adjusting operations—it has the potential to bring forth truly innovative ideas from a company’s workforce.

Give your organization the powerful benefit of honest employee feedback. Start your free trial now. Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons to choose Incogneato for your anonymous feedback.

 

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Big Voting and Discussion Update

Posted April 9th, 2018

Today we launched a big update to Incogneato’s “Voting and Discussion” tool (Premier Plan only). In addition to a new responsive design, the tool now includes the ability to sort by tag, search within, and link directly to specific discussions. Box owners can moderate the forum by locking/unlocking discussions and deleting individual comments. Locking a discussion allows people to view past vote counts and discussions, but not contribute to it.

If you haven’t already, give Incogneato a try by setting up a free anonymous suggestion box. No credit card is required during your trial.

 


How Anonymous Feedback Creates a Better Work Environment

Posted March 15th, 2018

Attracting and maintaining a talented workforce is a perennial problem for employers and one that has become especially frustrating in the past several years. Conventional incentives like competitive salaries, robust benefits packages, and spacious offices are still useful tools, but they are no longer enough for today’s office population.

Recent studies by hiring industry leaders like GlassDoor.com have shown that less tangible factors, like company culture and workplace values, are vital to employee satisfaction. Corporate employees spend more time per week with their co-workers than they do with their own families, and they crave an enjoyable and nurturing environment.

But what practical steps can an employer take to improve something as difficult to define as company culture? A company’s greatest source of ideas for improvement can be its employees, but soliciting these ideas can be a challenging process. Implementing tools for anonymous feedback is a fantastic way to open lines of communication with employees, and can be a huge first step for a company seeking to make changes to their workplace culture.

Why anonymous feedback?

Many company leaders feel that they can meet the needs of their employees by simply asking them what they can do better. While this might cultivate an appreciation for the leader, it is ineffective when attempting to change or create an employee-driven work culture. Why? Despite the best efforts of the leader, employees will tailor their feedback to avoid irritating or challenging him or her, which guarantees that potentially difficult or groundbreaking suggestions end up watered down or withheld altogether.

But while an employee may be ambivalent about giving their opinion directly to a manager or an HR representative, that does not mean that they do not want their opinion to be heard. This Forbes round-up of studies on employee engagement suggests that finding ways for employees to thoughtfully express themselves can have across-the-board benefits for a company, including improved employee retention and increased discretionary effort on the part of employees.

So while employees are hesitant to express themselves to leadership, the ability to express themselves is a vital component of employee satisfaction. Anonymous feedback tools provide a solution to this dilemma. A recent article from Wharton Business School explores why anonymous feedback is such an effective tool for improving company culture – it empowers conscientious employees to bring their full capabilities to bear on improving the company, without fear of reprisal.

In an article on conducting employee surveys, Harvard Business Review (HBR) specifically outlined that when asked to submit feedback, anonymity is the number one concern for employees. When employees are certain that their feedback will remain anonymous, they are not only more likely to submit honest, productive feedback, they are likely to submit it more often. This is the type of positive communication cycle that can quickly help employers take an employee-driven approach to improving workplace culture.

Implementing Employee Feedback

When implementing an employee feedback program, employees want to know that their voice has been heard. This does not mean that every piece of feedback submitted has to end with reform, but employees need to know their concerns are at least under consideration.

A publication by the Society for Organizational and Industrial Psychology explains that the role of HR managers is vital in this process. The HR manager’s role has shifted over the past few decades from a position that is concerned only with the needs of individual personnel, to a position that is concerned with a company’s well-being as a whole. A large part of this role is analyzing, implementing and leading changes that affect the company’s culture. For many companies, this is the position that will be responsible for generating and responding to employee feedback.

The importance of Human Resources’ role in facilitating a comfortable and engaging workplace culture was discussed in a study published in the International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues. This study showed that HR has to maintain a state of constant evolution in its relationships with employees. When HR creates changes based on the feedback that has been provided through open dialogue with employees, the employees, in turn, feel a stronger relationship with the company and are more likely to continue their position with the company long term. Anonymous feedback tools are a great method for facilitating that type of communication.

Create Open Communication with Incogneato

Incogneato is an online tool that allows for open, anonymous communication between employees and company representatives, particularly the HR department. Incogneato not only allows employees to provide their opinions, but it allows for real-time chatting with company representatives, which evolves the feedback process from a tedious back-and-forth to a constructive conversation.

Because Incogneato opens anonymous, real-time communication avenues between employers and employees, it validates the employee’s contribution while providing the company with tangible suggestions for improving workplace culture. As illustrated above, the benefits to this mode of communication are plentiful, and its implementation is exceedingly simple. Incogneato offers a chance to improve communication and culture at companies of every size.

Give your company the powerful benefit of honest employee feedback. Start your free trial now. Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons to choose Incogneato for your anonymous feedback.

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5 Reasons to Choose Incogneato for Your Anonymous Feedback

Posted March 9th, 2018

Collect Anonymous Feedback with Incogneato

There are many anonymous suggestion box solutions out there with varied features and philosophies. Incogneato includes many of the features offered by enterprise-level solutions at a fraction of the cost. Here are five reasons to choose Incogneato:

1: Lowest price
It’s amazing what some charge for an anonymous suggestion box. We work with organizations of all size, so we have to keep our prices within reach of everyone. That’s why plans start at just $9 per month.

2: We’re a trusted third party.
When collecting anonymous feedback, it’s important for your respondents to feel comfortable. Collecting anonymous feedback on your own server can make employees feel exposed and vulnerable. Even with the best intentions, you may inadvertently store log files that could later identify your respondents. Unless they choose to identify themselves, Incogneato keeps your respondents anonymous.

3: We’re the only one with anonymous chat.
One of Incogneato’s key features is the ability to hold an anonymous conversation. Often times that initial anonymous suggestion leads to more questions that would otherwise go unanswered. Anonymous chat lets you immediately ask a follow up question or for clarification.

4: We let you customize your box to fit your organization.
It’s important for your employees to recognize your brand when leaving feedback. That’s why we include lots of ways to customize your box including a your logo, a custom URL, and an introduction paragraph.

5: We take anonymity seriously.
While other suggestion boxes offer the option to stay anonymous, Incogneato is always anonymous because we believe strongly that anonymity breeds honesty. And there’s research to back it up. The Harvard Business Review found that respondents are much more likely participate in a survey if their anonymity is guaranteed.

We also take privacy and security seriously. In addition to using 256-bit SSL encryption for all communication, we also do not retain any personal identifying information of the person leaving a suggestion, other than an encrypted email address (if they choose to include one).

If you haven’t already, give Incogneato a try by setting up a free anonymous suggestion box. No credit card is required during your trial.

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Continue the Conversation with Anonymous Chat

Posted March 1st, 2018

So you’ve setup your suggestion box and are starting to receive some great feedback. While much of it is helpful, some suggestions are vague and need more clarification. That’s where Incogneato shines. All Incogneato plans come with a unique message relay system that lets you anonymously chat with your respondents, either via email or in real-time.

Here’s how it works:

1) When leaving a suggestion, your respondent has the option of including their email address. We encrypt it and never share it with you.

2) If your respondent included an email address, you’ll see a reply arrow beside the suggestion in your dashboard. Simply click the arrow to reply.

3) When you reply, your respondent will receive an email with your reply text and a link to continue the conversation.

4) If you’re logged in to your dashboard, you’ll hear a notification chime when someone replies so you can continue the conversation live in real-time.

If you haven’t already, test out this unique feature by creating a free trial account. It’s free for 30 days and no credit card is required. Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons to choose Incogneato for your anonymous feedback.

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Can Incogneato Help Retain Your Employees?

Posted February 22nd, 2018

Improve Employee Retention with Incogneato

Employees are expensive to recruit and often more expensive to retain. Many organizations find it more efficient to retain their best employees than recruit and train a replacement. According to SHRM, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129. One study found the cost of re-hiring a midrange position ($30-$50K per year) to be 20% of the employee’s future salary.

Employees leave for a variety of reasons. Among the most common are:

Engaged employees are more connected

Communicating with your employees is the first step in retaining them. According to Gallup’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” report, engaged employees make strong contributions and are more connected to their organization. While some may candidly share their views during a face-to-face conversation, we believe that anonymity is better for sensitive issues. This is especially true if the employee fears retaliation or being ostracized. For example, an organization with a strong hierarchical power structure might be less open to feedback from those at the bottom. Even a flat organization may have employees who would rather remain isolated than share their ideas face-to-face.

Employees experiencing personal issues

While there may be little you can do to retain an employee experiencing personal issues, employees can also use an anonymous feedback tool to disclose workplace issues or tell you why they are dissatisfied in general. Plus, giving your employees a real outlet to improve their work life can make all the difference for those experiencing difficulties at home. Even if change is not possible at the moment, you can use Incogneato’s anonymous communication feature to explain your position or discuss alternatives.

If you haven’t already, give Incogneato a try by setting up a free anonymous suggestion box. No credit card is required during your trial. Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons to choose Incogneato for your anonymous feedback.

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New: Weekly Digest Emails

Posted November 29th, 2017

Several customers have told us that while they like receiving notifications for new feedback, it can quickly overwhelm an inbox. As a result, we’ve launched a weekly digest option. The digest displays your ten most recent pieces of feedback from the past week.

If you prefer to only receive a weekly digest, simply disable your alerts and enable weekly digests. See the following links for additional help:

Enabling weekly digests: (account owner) (box manager)
Disabling all other alerts: (account owner) (box manager)


New: Custom Images for Each Feedback Box

Posted November 3rd, 2017

We’ve just put the finishing touches on a newly requested feature allowing those on the Professional or Premier Plans to further customize their boxes. Now, in addition to having one custom image or logo and button color, customers on these plans can have different logos or images for each of their boxes.

This can be useful for multiple groups within the same organization utilizing the same account or for those who simply want to differentiate the look of each box. Now they don’t need to have the same logo.

And if you haven’t yet tried collecting anonymous feedback with an Incogneato box, give it a try today. We are still offering great discounts on all plans for a little while longer. With plans starting as low as $7.65/mo and free 30-day trials for all plans, we’re making it easy and affordable to collect feedback from customers, employees, or anyone.

Collect Feedback Button

 


Incogneato WordPress Plugin Now Available

Posted October 22nd, 2017

Got a WordPress site? We’re proud to announce the addition of an Incogneato WordPress plugin that allows you to quickly add your suggestion box to your WordPress site.

To install it, simply login to your WordPress dashboard and search for “Incogneato” in the plugins directory. Once activated, all you’ll need is your box ID. You can also find it in the official plugins directory. See this page if you need help locating it.