10 Ways AI is Already Enhancing Employee Engagement

Posted February 2nd, 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being utilized in various aspects of human resources (HR), transforming how companies manage their workforce and HR processes. Collecting, anonymous feedback is critical to understanding current and ever-changing employee sentiment and remaining engaged with your most important resource. AI can enhance employee engagement.

Here are some specific applications of AI in the HR space.

1. Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

AI streamlines the recruitment process by automating tasks like resume screening and initial candidate assessments. Tools like applicant tracking systems (ATS) use AI to parse and analyze resumes, helping recruiters identify the most suitable candidates quickly. AI can also assist in writing job descriptions, ensuring they are free from biased language and appealing to a diverse applicant pool.

2. Candidate Experience and Engagement

Chatbots and AI-driven platforms enhance candidate experience by providing instant responses to queries and guiding applicants through the recruitment process. This improves engagement and keeps candidates informed.

Two woman in black sits on chair near table - Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

3. Employee Onboarding

AI systems can automate and personalize the onboarding process for new hires. This includes scheduling orientation sessions, providing necessary training materials, and answering common queries, thereby making the onboarding process more efficient and tailored to individual needs.

4. Performance Management

AI tools analyze employee performance data to provide insights into their strengths and areas for improvement. These tools can also help in setting personalized goals, tracking progress, and offering feedback, leading to a more objective and data-driven performance evaluation process.

5. Learning and Development

AI-driven learning management systems (LMS) offer personalized learning experiences to employees. They can recommend courses and training programs based on an individual’s role, skills, and career aspirations. AI can also track learning progress and adapt training materials to suit different learning styles.

Focused female employee reading information on computer in office. Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

6. Employee Engagement and Sentiment Analysis

AI tools can analyze employee feedback, surveys, and communication patterns to gauge overall employee sentiment and engagement levels. This helps HR teams identify areas of concern and address them proactively. AI can enhance employee engagement.

7. Workforce Analytics and Planning

AI provides valuable insights into workforce trends, helping in strategic planning and decision-making. It can predict staffing needs, identify skills gaps, and assist in workforce optimization.

8. HR Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

These AI-driven tools can handle routine HR queries, provide instant responses to employee questions, and assist in administrative tasks like leave requests and policy inquiries, freeing up HR professionals to focus on more strategic tasks.

9. Diversity and Inclusion

AI can help in promoting diversity and inclusion by identifying biases in HR processes and suggesting corrective measures. It can ensure that recruitment, promotion, and compensation processes are fair and unbiased.

10. Employee Wellness and Health Monitoring

Some AI applications are designed to monitor employee wellness and provide insights into health trends within the organization. This can include stress level monitoring, suggesting wellness activities, and promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Man concentrating on something at a table. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

AI in HR is about leveraging technology to make HR processes more efficient, data-driven, and employee-centric. AI can enhance employee engagement. It helps in automating routine tasks, providing personalized experiences, and offering actionable insights, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of HR functions and those professionals managing them.

Incogneato: A Universal Whistleblowing Tool Empowering Transparency

Posted November 26th, 2023

In an era where transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct are increasingly valued, the need for effective whistleblowing mechanisms has never been greater. Whistleblowers play a crucial role in exposing wrongdoing, corruption, and unethical practices, but they often face significant risks and challenges when coming forward. Enter Incogneato, a groundbreaking platform that has emerged as a universal whistleblowing tool, revolutionizing the way individuals can report misconduct and wrongdoing while preserving their anonymity.

Incogneato is not your typical whistleblowing platform; it transcends traditional methods of reporting misconduct by placing a strong emphasis on security, anonymity, and accessibility. Founded on the principles of protecting whistleblowers and facilitating honest disclosures, Incogneato offers a range of features that make it a universal tool for anyone looking to expose wrongdoing.

Anonymity at its Core

One of the most significant barriers to whistleblowing is the fear of retaliation. Incogneato addresses this concern by providing a secure and anonymous platform for individuals to report misconduct. Whistleblowers can submit information without revealing their identity, ensuring they are shielded from potential harm or backlash.

User-Friendly Interface

Incogneato’s user-friendly interface and 10-second signup makes it accessible to people from all walks of life. Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, the platform’s intuitive design ensures that anyone can navigate it with ease. This accessibility is crucial in empowering individuals across various industries and organizations to blow the whistle when they witness unethical behavior.

Multilingual Support

Misconduct knows no boundaries, and neither should whistleblowing. Incogneato offers multilingual support, breaking down language barriers and allowing individuals from diverse linguistic backgrounds to report wrongdoing. This inclusivity ensures that no matter where you are in the world, you can make your voice heard.

Encryption and Data Security

Incogneato places a premium on the security of both the whistleblowers and the information they provide. All data submitted through the platform is encrypted, safeguarding it from prying eyes. This robust security framework helps maintain trust in the whistleblowing process.

Customized Reporting Channels

Incogneato recognizes that different organizations may require specific reporting channels. Whether it’s a corporation, government agency, non-profit organization, or educational institution, Incogneato can be tailored to fit the unique needs of each entity. For example, organizations can create distinctly-branded boxes for each reporting need. This customization ensures that the whistleblowing tool is universally applicable across various sectors.

Timely Notifications and Follow-ups

Whistleblowers often wonder about the outcome of their reports. Incogneato streamlines this aspect by providing timely notifications and follow-ups with its unique anonymous reply tool, keeping whistleblowers informed about the progress of their submissions. This transparency reassures them that their efforts are making a difference.

The Impact of Incogneato

Incogneato’s universal whistleblowing capabilities have the potential to transform the landscape of transparency and accountability across the globe. By offering a secure, anonymous, and user-friendly platform, it empowers individuals to expose wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. This newfound sense of security can encourage more whistleblowers to come forward, leading to the discovery and rectification of unethical practices in various sectors.

Furthermore, Incogneato acts as a powerful deterrent to potential wrongdoers. The knowledge that individuals have a reliable and secure platform to report misconduct sends a clear message that unethical behavior will not be tolerated.

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Spain’s Whistleblowing Directive: A Step towards Transparency and Accountability

Posted November 13th, 2023

Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in uncovering misconduct, corruption, and unethical practices within organizations. Recognizing the importance of whistleblower protection, the Spanish government took a significant stride towards transparency and accountability by introducing the Whistleblowing Directive. This landmark legislation aims to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals who choose to expose wrongdoing in the public interest. In this article, we delve into Spain’s Whistleblowing Directive, its key provisions, and the potential impact it can have on the country’s governance.

Enhanced Protection for Whistleblowers

Spain’s Whistleblowing Directive seeks to provide enhanced legal protection for whistleblowers and encourage them to come forward without fear of retaliation. Under the directive, both employees and self-employed individuals who report violations of law, breaches of public trust, or threats to the general interest are eligible for protection. This includes whistleblowers in the private sector, public administration, and nonprofit organizations.

Confidentiality and Anonymity

To ensure the safety and security of whistleblowers, the directive emphasizes confidentiality and anonymity. Whistleblowers have the right to remain anonymous throughout the entire reporting process, protecting them from potential reprisals. Confidentiality obligations are placed upon the recipients of the reports, such as employers or authorities, who are required to handle the information in a secure manner and refrain from disclosing the whistleblower’s identity.

Reporting Channels and Obligations

The directive mandates organizations to establish internal reporting channels to facilitate the disclosure of misconduct. Employers with over 50 employees or with an annual turnover exceeding €10 million are required to implement effective reporting mechanisms, including clear procedures for receiving, handling, and investigating reports. Additionally, public sector entities and certain organizations in critical sectors, such as finance and healthcare, must comply with these requirements.

Reprisal Protection

A fundamental aspect of the Whistleblowing Directive is its focus on preventing reprisals against whistleblowers. The legislation prohibits any form of retaliation, including dismissal, demotion, harassment, or discriminatory treatment. It empowers whistleblowers to seek legal recourse if they experience adverse actions as a result of their disclosures. The burden of proof is shifted to the employer, who must demonstrate that any measures taken against the whistleblower were unrelated to their reporting activities.

Impact and Implications

Spain’s Whistleblowing Directive marks a significant step towards promoting transparency, integrity, and accountability in the country. By protecting individuals who expose wrongdoing, the legislation can help uncover corruption, fraud, and other illegal activities that may harm public interest or private organizations. Whistleblowing has the potential to deter misconduct and encourage ethical behavior by creating a culture of accountability.

Moreover, the directive aligns Spain with international best practices and EU standards on whistleblower protection. It puts Spain on par with countries like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which have already implemented comprehensive whistleblower protection laws.

Incogneato, as an anonymous feedback platform, can play a crucial role in supporting Spain’s new Whistleblowing directive in several ways:

  1. Anonymous Reporting: Incogneato provides a secure and anonymous reporting channel for whistleblowers. Through its encrypted communication channels, individuals can submit reports without revealing their identity, ensuring their safety and protection from potential retaliation.
  2. Confidentiality and Data Security: Incogneato prioritizes confidentiality and data security. The platform employs robust encryption measures and strict data protection protocols to safeguard the information provided by whistleblowers. This ensures that sensitive data is handled securely and remains confidential throughout the reporting process.
  3. Compliance and Documentation: The platform helps organizations demonstrate compliance with the Whistleblowing directive’s requirements. By utilizing Incogneato, organizations can maintain comprehensive records of whistleblowing reports, actions taken, and the overall resolution process. These records can serve as evidence of compliance and can be easily accessed if required by authorities.

By utilizing Incogneato, organizations can effectively implement the Whistleblowing directive’s requirements, enhance their whistleblowing processes, and create a safe environment for individuals to report misconduct. The platform’s features and capabilities contribute to the overall effectiveness and success of Spain’s new Whistleblowing directive in promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity within organizations.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Whistleblower Protection: A Milestone in PETA Undercover Recording Case

Posted November 1st, 2023

The Supreme Court Building on 1 by Carol M Highsmith is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken a significant step in strengthening whistleblower protection laws by declining to hear an appeal in the case brought forward by North Carolina’s Democratic Attorney General. This ruling, which pertains to undercover recordings, is a powerful reminder of the vital role whistleblowers play in upholding accountability, transparency, and ethical standards in society.

The case in question revolves around the activities of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and its undercover investigations into animal cruelty. PETA, a prominent animal rights organization, has frequently relied on covert recordings to expose inhumane practices at various facilities. The organization’s efforts aim to shed light on animal rights violations and advocate for more humane treatment.

However, those being exposed in these recordings have, at times, retaliated legally by claiming that the recordings violated their privacy or property rights. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices’ decision to turn away the appeal is a crucial turning point for whistleblowers and their defenders.

Upholding Whistleblower Protection

The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the appeal sends a strong signal in favor of protecting whistleblowers, and here’s why this ruling is so important:

  1. Preserves the Freedom to Expose Wrongdoing: Whistleblowers are often the first line of defense against unethical or illegal activities within organizations, government agencies, or businesses. By refusing to entertain the appeal, the Supreme Court sends a clear message that undercover recordings are an important tool for exposing wrongdoing without fear of legal repercussions.
  2. Promotes Transparency: In a society that values transparency and accountability, whistleblowers play a pivotal role. Their actions are instrumental in bringing hidden truths to the surface and driving change. Protecting their ability to gather evidence through undercover recordings ensures that organizations are held accountable for their actions.
  3. Encourages Ethical Behavior: The fear of exposure can deter individuals and entities from engaging in wrongful activities. By safeguarding whistleblowers, the Supreme Court ruling encourages ethical behavior and the adherence to laws and regulations.
  4. Fosters a Culture of Responsibility: Whistleblowers are often motivated by a sense of responsibility toward the greater good. Protecting their rights fosters a culture where individuals feel empowered to come forward when they witness actions that go against their moral or ethical principles.
  5. Empowers Advocacy Groups: Non-profit organizations and advocacy groups, such as PETA, often rely on undercover recordings to make their cases. This ruling allows these organizations to continue their work without the constant threat of legal retaliation.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to turn away the appeal in the PETA undercover recording case is a significant win for whistleblowers and the broader cause of transparency and accountability. It sends a resounding message that the protection of those who expose wrongdoing is of paramount importance. Whistleblowers serve as the conscience of society, and their contributions must be safeguarded to ensure a just and ethical world. This ruling represents a milestone in the ongoing effort to support and protect whistleblowers, making the path forward brighter for those who seek to uncover the truth and fight for justice.

How Companies are Doing on their 2022 DEI Goals

Posted June 23rd, 2022

“When DEI is strong, people are supported and valued as humans…They’re empowered to do their best work—free from stress, distraction, and harm that results from prejudice, bias, unfair treatment, or the feeling that they have to assimilate or hide their true selves in order to be successful.”

— Mykaela Doane, Head of People at Gtmhub, to Built In

Going into 2022, organizations may have planned to improve or enhance DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) goals. But are they actually succeeding?

In this post, we cover:

Data on DEI in 2022

DEI includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values, national origin, or political beliefs. 

Part of improving DEI is setting DEI goals in the first place. You’d think this would be a given, but recent data from Built In’s State of DEI in Tech 2022 report says otherwise. 

While 40% of company leaders planned to report on DEI metrics in 2022, 30% say their companies currently have no DEI programs or are making poor progress toward DEI goals. Why? 

Let’s use hiring as an example. Companies missed their DEI hiring goals in 2021 due to: 

Have employers succeeded in building more diverse workforces? Yes and no. Regarding gender, over 64% of respondents in the 2022 survey identified as women—-a jump from over 51% who responded in 2020. 

However, non-binary employees are still underrepresented. Eighty-seven percent of non-binary individuals make up less than 10 percent of staff. Anti–LGBTQ discrimination is still all-too-prevalent. According to CNBC, over 45% of LGBTQ workers say they’ve experienced unfair treatment at work, including being fired, not hired, or harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity at some point in their lives.

That doesn’t mean that LGBTQ workers feel that they have to suffer in silence. Three-fourths say that it’s crucial for them to work at a company where they’re comfortable expressing their identity, and two-thirds say they’d leave their current job if they felt they couldn’t do so. 

In matters of racial disparity, workforces were reportedly 20% more diverse in 2022 than in 2020. While workforces with Black or African American employees increased by 13%, they remain glaringly underrepresented. Almost two in three companies (62%) say Black or African American employees account for less than 10 percent of their workforce.

One area that notably improved was the hiring of employees with mental disabilities. In 2020, 36% of companies said they had no employees with disabilities. The number dropped to 12% in 2022. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for ageism in tech. Nearly 90% of employers say that their workforce has employees aged 56 and older. Nineteen percent say that they have zero employees aged 56 and older.

Ground-up change and viable solutions

Today’s chaotic business climate likely impedes DEI efforts. Right now, organizations have to deal with:

However, the reasons above aren’t valid excuses to deprioritize diversity initiatives. Change begins by first, changing mindsets. 

DEI shouldn’t be a box-ticking exercise or an afterthought. Companies should look at DEI as a cornerstone attribute—one on which to build successful organizations. If there are leaders who don’t make building a diverse workforce a reality, it’s time to bring in leaders who do. 

Beyond mindset, companies should be intentional about how they realize their DEI goals. The Built In report spotlights Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) as impactful resources to foster inclusivity and community-building. Employees can form friendships, share experiences, host fun events, and discover ways to give back to the community. 

While ERGs are a great way to make employees with underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds feel a sense of belonging, the reality is that those employees end up shouldering much of the burden of DEI work. 

“Being an ERG leader is another full-time job, and sometimes ERG leaders are giving more attention towards building an inclusive culture than to their actual day job,” said Ivori Johnson, director of DEIB at ChartHop. “One thing that we’re building out is tying ERG leaders’ responsibilities into their performance reviews. We’re also trying to figure out how we can pay ERG leaders for their work.”

For managers, Harvard Business Review suggests:

“You can create a sense of psychological safety where everyone feels confident and comfortable to take risks, make mistakes, contribute opinions, and be candid about what they are up against…Managers have this power. You have this power.”

— Daisy Auger-Dominguez, DEI executive,
noting that middle managers have more influence than they realize.

Start by listening to your employees

Perhaps your company has set DEI goals or acknowledged it’s a priority, but intentions may not match reality. Your employees comprise your organization’s DNA and you must ensure that they feel safe, that they belong, and that they’ve been heard. It all starts by giving them ways to share their honest input, experiences, and ideas. Just one voice can transform your workplace into the exemplary organization it’s meant to be.

Do you want a safe, secure way to listen to your employees on DEI issues?


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Manage a Remote Workforce? You Might Be Missing These Serious Struggles

Posted June 8th, 2022

When you ask yourself, “What are common remote employee challenges?” some obvious answers are communication issues, working across different time zones, and technical woes.

But what about problems that don’t get as much attention–like harassment increasing with remote work, or ‘selectively hearing’ the voice of the employee? 

Keep scrolling to learn about challenges your remote employees are experiencing that you may not have considered before.

1. Remote work has escalated harassment.

When you swap in-person meetings for Zoom conferences and desk chatter for Slack, there are fewer boundaries, more opportunities to disguise oneself, and greater susceptibility to harassment.

The EEOC defines harassment as: “Unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy), national origin, older age (age 40 plus), disability, or genetic information (including family medical history).” 

FastCompany reported some alarming statistics about the uptick in harassment since the pandemic alone:

“Since the start of the pandemic, employees have felt as if online environments are the Wild Wild West, and the usual rules don’t apply,” said Jennifer Brown, DEI expert, to the New York Times. “…HR in most workplaces still has not caught up to what virtual forms of misconduct and harassment look and feel like, and there’s a lack of policies and procedures around what is acceptable.”

Organizations must develop standards for unacceptable remote communication on channels like instant messaging, video conferencing, email, etc. A critical part of curbing this behavior is to host discussions and training to show employees you’re holding them accountable and help those who’ve been the target of unwelcome virtual conduct.

2. Employee work-life balance—nice in theory but doesn’t always happen in practice.

According to SHRM, nearly 70 percent of professionals who transitioned to remote work in the pandemic say they now work on weekends. Forty-five percent say they work more hours during the week than they did pre-pandemic, and working parents were more likely to work on weekends than childless employees.

“While remote work affords employees more flexibility, it makes disconnecting extremely difficult,” said Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director at Robert Half. “Many people feel pressure to keep up with rising workloads and are putting in long hours to support the business and customer needs.” 

Employees may also feel like their managers take advantage of the lack of commute and travel to assign more work. Being overworked may not only cause employees to seek greener pastures with other employers—it may lead to long-term health problems.

“The pandemic has pushed companies to prioritize employee experience,” said McDonald. “Savvy employers are making lasting changes to support their staff’s needs and well-being, such as providing greater autonomy and flexibility.”

3. Employees don’t always feel heard.

Remote work adds a new layer to company culture and employee engagement. Nearly half of employees say their company doesn’t have an established feedback loop, according to research from SpiralMethod, an executive coaching company. 

Transparency is also a common issue. Three-fourths of employees say that more transparency would boost their morale and improve their company’s success.

While employees value transparency and feedback, there is clearly a disconnect for most organizations to realize those principles. Leaders also must recognize that even though they may receive employee feedback, it may not be honest. 

“In many cases, management is hearing what they want to hear,” says Leslie Jones, SpiralMethod founder. “If you’re not listening to the growing voice of your employees, you’re missing an enormous opportunity to cement your company culture in trust —and they will know it. There’s so much you can learn from your teams if you really listen with an authentic concern to hearing them.”

Remote work means new, different challenges. 

The remote work era has transformed business culture. Workplace principles are constantly evolving. Leaders must be aware that just because their employees haven’t directly complained doesn’t mean they’re not struggling. 

Organizations need to provide ways for remote employees to give authentic feedback. Even though they’re not physically present in an office, you should still make sure they’re heard.

Do you want a way to capture candid, remote employee feedback? We’re here to help.


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Employee Engagement Rates Are the Lowest They’ve Been in a Decade—Anonymous Feedback Helps

Posted May 27th, 2022

4 Ways to Encourage Constructive Feedback

In 2021, employee engagement rates were the lowest they’ve been in a decade. According to Gallup, 34% reported that they were engaged in their work and workplace. The factors that Gallup used to gauge employee engagement were how employees felt about their employer’s clarity of expectations, development opportunities, and opinions counting at work.

“If you are driving a racecar, you don’t wait until you blow a tire to realize it’s time to make a change; you have to be proactive and have measures in place to address problems before they become critical issues. Employee feedback, especially open-ended responses to survey questions, has been neglected for years. Still, it is the single best source for understanding not only your employees’ needs but their expectations. Listening to their feedback and acting on it is key to engaging and retaining them.”


It’s common for employees to be on the receiving end of feedback, but they also need opportunities to give it. The problem is that it’s easy for feedback discussions to devolve into grousing sessions.

Here are some tips to guide your employees to give honest and effective anonymous feedback.

1. Avoid—or at least minimize—meanspiritedness.

By asking about your perspective and experiences, your employer wants to use your suggestions to improve the company—and keep what’s working for you.

girl in blue sleeveless dress

Imagine that an HR executive is reading your suggestions, hoping they’d be helpful in enhancing a new program or boosting your company culture. It won’t be helpful if you use feedback opportunities to vent. Think about how you receive feedback at work, whether it’s from a manager or another department. You’d likely want the feedback to be objective and practical, not a barrage of criticism or complaints. 

Calling your manager hateful names or criticizing your coworkers when you submit the feedback will probably mean readers won’t take your suggestion as seriously as they should. If you’re enduring a personal complication like a coworker disagreement, bullying, or a violation of your employee rights, it’s best to go directly to HR.

2. Get to the point. While we don’t encourage griping for the sake of it, there’s no need to couch anonymous feedback or give a “compliment sandwich.”

Concisely state your issue. For example, “I believe I can be much more productive with a work-from-home day” or “we’d benefit from more marketing resources, like a designer.” 

The reader shouldn’t have to wade through your words to extract the takeaway. Consider adding bullets or data points to consolidate your thoughts or back up any points.

3. Propose a solution. Suggesting a solution helps the company take it seriously. Feedback is the most useful when it’s constructive or actionable.

The readers may act on your solution or use it to springboard new ideas. For example, “I’d like to get to know people in other departments more. One idea is to have quarterly social events.” 

3x3 Rubiks cube

Organizations appreciate resourceful employees. “[Resourcefulness is] a rare quality to find,” says Tarek Pertew, Co-Founder of Uncubed, to The Muse. “Folks who can work through obstacles creatively are my favorite…I look to assign someone who is capable of digging his or her heels in and independently creating solutions.” 

4. Trust that the feedback is anonymous—with the right channel.

Seventy-four percent of employees say they’d feel more comfortable giving feedback about their company and culture if the feedback was truly anonymous, says a Forbes report.

Keeping feedback anonymous will: 

Yet employees often fear that their anonymous feedback will be read and used against them, potentially leading to job loss.

   “I’m always disappointed to hear employees feel their job could be on the line for completing a survey. Why should a company ask for feedback if they don’t want honest feedback? Leaders who are reading the results need to keep an open mind and see the feedback as areas to improve, and to not get frustrated by.”

Emma Bindbeutel, Head of People Ops at Choozle, via Lattice

As an employee, you may want to verify that the feedback mechanism you’re using is truly anonymous. Leaders should explain how their suggestions are anonymized to protect the integrity of employee participation. Then submit your honest, constructive feedback. 

Feedback fuels your organization 

Leaders need to thoughtfully consider the feedback they receive, view it objectively, and then act on it. After all, feedback is ineffective if it remains unused. Employees should realize their voice is powerful. Two minutes taken to offer insight could lead to a new initiative launching or drawing attention to an overlooked issue. Whether you’re a leader or an individual contributor, your perspectives and contributions are instrumental to advancing a company and shaping its culture.

Are you looking for a way to collect and analyze anonymous feedback?


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5 Things Employees Are Too Afraid to Speak Up About   

Posted May 18th, 2022

Leaders might assume that because their employees aren’t complaining, they must be content. They may actually be struggling or want to suggest something but are too afraid to speak up. 

Why are employees keeping quiet? Fear of job loss, reputational damage, and organizational ineffectualness are just some explanations.

This post discusses issues employees keep mum on, from taking mental health days to voicing new ideas. We also include recent data points on what’s concerning employees and why they don’t verbalize them.   

self care isn t selfish signage
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

1. Taking time off for mental health.

Sixty-two percent of employees worry their boss will judge them for taking mental health days, according to Forbes. The pandemic shined a spotlight on nurturing mental health, both in and out of the workplace. Yet:

Multiple organizations are gradually instituting time-off periods for mental health—from Cisco to Starbucks to Google. As a whole, though, there’s still a long way to go for companies to provide relevant resources and adequate time off for employees to take care of themselves.

person s hand forming heart
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

2. Their identity.

Four in ten LGBTQ employees say they aren’t fully out at work, says CBS News and Glassdoor. The fact that more than 50 percent of LGBTQ workers say that they’ve experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments from coworkers is likely a huge driving factor.

Half of those surveyed said their fears about expressing their identity were:  

However, if employers let their employees bring their full selves to work, employees would be much happier and more engaged. 

“Employers want to fuel their businesses for financial success, and you need quality talent to do that. If they don’t show the LGBTQ community support, their companies are missing out on great talent.”

Scott Dobrowski, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Glassdoor

3. Unhappiness with their manager.

In 2022, more than 75 percent of employees report they’re frustrated with their manager, says a new study from Real Estate Witch. The biggest manager-related aggravations were:

Additionally, one in five workers (20%) say their managers negatively affect their confidence and self-esteem during performance reviews. 

One strategy to improve your happiness with your manager is to bring up one constructive suggestion and solution at a time, de-personalizing it as much as possible. For example, if they’re reluctant to let you work from home or use a hybrid style, speak with them about how much more productive you are without a daily commute. Suggest a trial period and demonstrate your effectiveness during that time.

4. Workplace bullying and harassment.

Think more open discussions about mental health and discrimination have mitigated workplace bullying? Not exactly. Remote work may have made it easier for colleagues to harass their comments. 

“Harassment and hostility have moved from physical and in-person actions to online and technology-based forms. They range from public bullying attacks on group video calls to berating employees over email to racist and sexist link-sharing in chat and more.”

Ellen Pao, CEO of Project Interlude, to FastCompany

Now that remote and hybrid work is omnipresent, organizations need to develop policies and plans specifically for curtailing virtual bullying and harassment.  

5. New ideas.

While companies claim they encourage innovation, employees don’t feel like they can voice new ideas. Why? According to the UNC Social Research Lab

Cognitive diversity is what will propel organizations. Everyone  That starts with creating a culture of feedback that encourages employees to bring new ideas to the table. 

Of course, it’s easy to tell employees to suggest new ideas and not as easy to make sure they’re set into motion. Devise a system or strategy to nurture ideas and make them actionable. Anonomyizing suggestions will assuage fears about confidentiality and make employees feel comfortable submitting new ideas.

Weave feedback into your company’s DNA

Your employees are the heartbeat of your organization. If they’re afraid or discouraged to speak up about their concerns, they’ll find another organization where they can. Organizations need to find ways to encourage employee feedback and engagement and use it to advance the organization.

Use technology to help you. The importance of collecting anonymous employee feedback is what drove us to create Incogneato, a secure, anonymous online suggestion box. 

Want more details? Reach out to one of us here.


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5 Ways to Embrace a Distributed Workforce

Posted September 28th, 2021

Working remotely isn’t new. The Basecamp folks wrote a book about it in 2013, but even before that many were already working away from a central office. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies were moving to a workforce that was distributed across the country or even the world. Some of the reasons include access to additional talent, reducing labor costs, and providing freedom for employees to work where they choose. 

Why might you want to embrace a distributed workforce? Matt Mullenweg of Automatic (WordPress) lays out out a few reasons in this short video:

Matt Mullenweg: Why Working From Home Is Good For Business

So yes, distributed work is here to stay whether or not your company embraces it or struggles with it. At Incogneato we have decades of experience working on remote teams and during that time, we’ve collected some tips and tricks to share with you. There are many ways to embrace a remote workforce but we think these five will be the most impactful. 

1. Foster a culture of trust.

Many companies are going to an unlimited (or more accurately non-tracked) vacation policy. Rather than limiting how much time employees can take off, they trust employees to take however much time they want while considering their tasks and responsibilities. This sort of policy eliminates the need for time-consuming tracking and accrual practices and sets the stage for a relationship built upon trust. 

Likewise, remote work policies should be trust-based. Trust-building starts in the recruiting and hiring stage and continues indefinitely. Interviewers and hiring managers should stress what will be expected of new hires and candidates should be selected based upon self-direction and maturity. 

Managers should be hesitant to micromanage employees, and trust that they will accomplish what was jointly agreed to. Communication should be honest and transparent and you should make time to get to know each other.

4. Make Time Together

Making time to be together: If possible you should establish “together hours” where 50+% of the team is expected to be online and working together. According to Harvard Business Review “teams had on average 7+ hours in the workday during which more than half the team was consistently online. Those hours are also when you should schedule business processes that benefit from having greater team overlap—as well as making and communicating decisions that affect the entire group.”

But regular check-ins between managers and direct reports, standing meetings with cross-functional project teams, and time for social interactions with subjects that fall outside of work topics and duties should be prioritized. 

Even if your workforce is mostly remote, it can be extremely valuable to also occasionally come together physically. Planning one or two annual meetings where everyone travels to a single location to accomplish business and social objectives will be important for effective distributed teams. 

3. Provide the tools your remote team needs. 

Don’t skimp here. The productivity of your remote employees (and thus your company) depends upon having the right tools in place. These tools consist of both software and hardware and can often be facilitated by listing preferred solutions and required applications and by providing a stipend for your  remote workforce to use to get set up with them.


Let’s start on the hardware side. A home office setup should consist of a decent camera, a good microphone/speaker combo, and (crucially) a strong internet connection. Of course, you can go crazy with this sort of thing as Mullengweg might suggest but you need not spend that much on a setup (though the results are amazing). Here’s a baseline list of specs (and a few recommendations) for which you should look:

Desk (chair optional) – Let’s start with the basics. You should strive for good ergonomics and health wherever you set up your office. Desks that you stand at are increasingly popular due to the health benefits of avoiding long periods of sitting. The popularity of standings desks is evident in the number of companies now offering them. You can find quality choices from Uplift, Fully, and Autonomous. If you like your current desk but want to stand from time to time you can also purchase a standing desk converter. Don’t forget a pair of nice comfy pair of “house shoes” and a cushioned mat!

If you must sit (but you are willing to try a standing desk), you can opt for a tall stool, a hydraulic chairwhatever this is, or even a skateboard like thingy. For those who know they are going to sit for long stretches, splurging on a nice chair is a must and should be at least subsidized by employers. 

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

Monitor – Your existing monitor is likely fine, however if you are spending more time at home, upgrading what you are looking at for hours each day can be a welcome improvement. Start by determining the size monitor you want/need. Focus in on LED monitors as those generally represent the best blend of price and features today. For work, you’ll want to look at 4k monitors which tend to come with refresh rates of 60 Hz. Then look for IPS displays with either FreeSync or G-Sync. Lastly, you can determine if you want features like a USB hub built in (which helps manage all those cables) and what types of adjustments you need for height—or if you want to mount it on a a onitor arm, look for one with VESA compatibility. This ProArt Display from ASUS would be a good choice or form something a bit larger check out this 32” Dell monitor for a bit more space.

Camera – These can be pretty simple (and inexpensive). You don’t need 4k. 1080p will do just fine. In fact, many monitors and laptops already have a camera built in. Your employees may want to utilize a camera (or accessory) that can be closed physically to ensure it isn’t on when they don’t expect it to be. In most cases, this is your camera.

Microphone/Speaker – If you don’t want to spend a lot on a standalone microphone, you can avoid the dreaded echo effect by making sure your microphone and speaker are handled by a single device. You can use the mic and speakers that are equipped on your laptop, but for an upgraded experience you could try something like this or this


As for software, this will relate closely to the software your team already uses and is familiar with and will tend to fall into one of the following categories: Chat, File Sharing, Project Management, Video Conferencing. Sometimes, many of these can be accommodated by one solution. For example, Google Workspace (formerly gSuite) or Microsoft 365 both provide file sharing, email, calendaring, docs and spreadsheets, chat, and video conferencing solutions. 

Some of the individual tools that are garnering the most attention (and usage) in these categories are:

Chat: Slack 

File Sharing: Dropbox

Project Management: Monday

Video Conferencing: No surprise here, Zoom

4. Explicitly define communication habits and expectations

With all these tools however comes greater opportunity to disrupt the normal flow of your workday. Now everyone will have many ways to reach out to someone. Email, Chat, Video Conferencing, and maybe even phone calls we guess.

Each is used for a different purpose, and you should orient your staff on what patterns and practices are desired in your organization. Here’s a framework you might decide to use from the authors of Remote, the Basecamp team with some minor edits, mostly for emphasis:

Chat: Quick questions and messages. We use Slack and chat throughout the day. Slack allows for setup of group channels around a particular topic. We find the old axiom, “If you have a question, someone else probably has the same question,” to be true, so for general clarification, we always have people default to the group channel so everyone benefits from the answer. 

Email: Non-urgent communication and project delivery. Email is appropriate for longer-term communication around a particular topic. We tell our team to err on the side of brevity with email. Since so many people use their phone for email, we want to send them quick messages that they will easily be able to digest and respond to on the go. 

Phone: We make phone calls from inside Slack and use a VoIP phone system. Phone calls are used for clarification when chat won’t do, and brainstorming or troubleshooting a particular project or issue

Regular (Video) Meetings: Each of our teams has a weekly meeting and each individual has a weekly one-on-one with their manager. Having these standing meetings helps us cut down on the clutter and one-off questions, since the team knows they will get a chance to address any issues during their weekly chat. It also gives everyone regular human interaction, and a chance to come up for air, joke around, present ideas and celebrate wins together.

Matt Mullenweg of Automatic also suggests that as much communication as possible be online—where it is documented so that everyone can understand the why of decisions that were made. The conversations and messages that led to a decision are all there for future review. 

5. Don’t forget to seek feedback on how it is all working

Last year we wrote about the importance of collecting feedback from remote workers. That still holds true, maybe even more so today. And although we admit to bias, we still think that collecting anonymous feedback offers advantages to other methods. You can set up a free demo of an Incogeato suggestion box in under 10 seconds.

Now Is a Great Time to Collect Anonymous Feedback from Employees Working from Home

Posted March 24th, 2020

The world is now several months into the COVID-19 pandemic and many local, state, and national governments are requiring companies to shut their doors and allow employees to work from home. Remote work can be a challenge for some, but it does offer one key benefit: a quiet time away from colleagues to reflect upon work life.

We are biologically attuned to the emotions of those around us. Removing our coworkers from the situation opens up our ability to convey our thoughts honestly without considering how others will immediately react. In other words, employees working from home are in a safe place now, removed from ordinary work-life and it is much easier to take a step back and approach their feedback holistically.

Make the most of “extra time”

Many remote employees have more time on their hands. With the average American commute consuming almost an hour each day and a likely dip in workload, some employees have several idle hours each day to reflect upon their work or craft new ideas. Forward-thinking organizations should encourage them to submit new ideas or spend some time developing out previous ideas they had been forced to back-burner.

Retain your best workers

Inevitably, some employees will use their downtime to begin searching for a new job. This underscores the need for anonymous feedback as a retention strategy. Research shows that employees are more candid when their personal anonymity is guaranteed. Giving employees a safe, anonymous tool to address their grievances can ultimately keep them around.

Collecting anonymous feedback is easy

Incogneato is a safe, anonymous employee feedback tool that is also significantly less expensive than other options. We believe that all organizations should be able to collect anonymous feedback without having to pay hefty monthly fees. This especially rings true now as organizations are trying to cut costs to survive. Incogneato is free for the first 30 days and no credit card is required until you subscribe to a plan.

The months ahead will be trying times for many organizations. We hope your business weathers the storm and comes out stronger and that your employees stay safe during this challenging period.

For additional reading, we recommend the following: