California Senate Bill 553 and Incident Reporting

Posted May 15th, 2024

California’s Senate Bill No. 553 (SB 553) is a significant legislative stride towards fostering safer workplace environments across various sectors in California. This law, signed into effect by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 30, 2023, establishes a new written Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) requirement for nearly all California employers. The law becomes enforceable on July 1, 2024 and does not have any built-in grace period.

Employers must take proactive steps to comply with Senate Bill 553, ensuring a safer work environment for all employees. Central to this is the creation of an incident reporting system.

Learn more about Senate Bill 553 and it’s requirements here.

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Reply to 100% of Your Anonymous Feedback with Conversation Codes

Posted February 8th, 2024

We’re excited to share Incogneato’s latest feature aimed at helping you collect even more feedback: Conversation Codes.

What are Conversation Codes?

These are codes are provided to respondents as an alternative to providing email address—allowing them to hold an anonymous conversation with you simply by providing their unique code.

Why are we offering Conversation Codes?

Some respondents may still be wary of including their email address, despite the fact that it’s never shared and their anonymity is guaranteed. Conversation Codes will allow you to hold more conversations with your respondents, even if they choose not to include an email address.

How do I enable Conversation Codes?

Just head over to your dashboard and toggle the Provide Conversation Code option (Professional or above plan required). All future respondents will be given a response code.

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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?


Check Out Incogneato Now

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.


Check Out Incogneato Now

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?


Check Out Incogneato Now

Collecting Anonymous Employee Feedback

Posted January 28th, 2021

An anonymous employee feedback program can be an indispensable tool for any organization. Even the most vocal employees may withhold feedback out of fear of irritating others or creating internal controversy. Anonymity breaks that barrier and can lead to many positive outcomes, including:

How to Collect Anonymous Employee Feedback

Fortunately, Incogneato makes it easy to collect anonymous employee feedback. In fact, you can create your first fully-functional box in 15 seconds from the Incogneato homepage. You are immediately given a unique web address to share with employees and a sent a login to view their responses. To get even more out of your box, we recommend reading Best Practices for Creating an Employee Suggestion Box.

Why Choose Incogneato for Your Anonymous Employee Feedback Program?

As you can see from this comparison page, Incogneato gives you significant value for the money. Many of our included features can only be found on enterprise-level solutions, which cost significantly more.

Also, all Incogneato plans come with a unique anonymous message relay and chat feature that lets you hold anonymous conversations with your respondents.

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

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Why Are Many People Choosing to Stay Anonymous?

Posted September 24th, 2019

In recent years, people have become more aware of the dangers associated with sharing mounds of personal information online. Data breaches are certainly nothing new, but used to affect larger organizations more so than the reputations of individuals. Then came a series of Facebook data breaches starting in 2013, followed by Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and more. In total, more than 545 million records were exposed in Facebook’s breaches alone. Another 65 million were exposed in the Tumblr hack, and the list goes on and on.

At first, many thought the breaches wouldn’t make a dent in the massive numbers of people interacting within these networks. Over time, however people began to take action. One study conducted over the summer of 2018 found that 42% of Facebook users took a break from the site in the past year. It further found that 52% adjusted their privacy settings, and 26% deleted the app from their phone. While still growing, Facebook’s growth has been slowing down across North America and in Europe. In addition to Facebook, Tumblr growth has slowed significantly and Twitter appears to have plateaued several years ago.

On the other side of the coin is Reddit — a social network known for anonymity and “throwaway accounts.” Reddit’s user base has been skyrocketing over the past few years and is projected to continue growing through 2023. Unlike other social networks, many Reddit users attempt to remain anonymous and completely control what they reveal about themselves. Using these anonymous accounts, Reddit users are free to engage in candid discussion across millions of topics.

What Does This Mean for Workplace Feedback?

People have become much more aware of the dangers associated with sharing personal information. The lessons learned from social media can have a direct effect in other areas of life as well. Someone who is less likely to post personal information on Facebook out of fear of it being seen by the wrong pair of eyes may be equally as reluctant to comment on workplace issues out in the open. We’ve learned that data can be breached and anything we say can be used against us at some point. This is especially salient when dealing with contentious or sensitive issues.

So What’s the Solution?

Using an anonymous suggestion box to collect workplace feedback (like Incogneato) can help employees feel more comfortable giving candid, honest feedback. Additionally, using a trusted third party to collect anonymous feedback prevents organizations from mistakenly storing log files or other pieces of data that can inadvertently reveal the identities of respondents. As we’ve covered in another post, there’s lots more research supporting the use of anonymous feedback.

What Makes Incogneato Safe?

Incogneato takes anonymity and security seriously. In addition to using 256-bit SSL encryption for all communication within Incogneato, there is continuous threat monitoring in place, and the latest server software is always in use. Perhaps most significantly, Incogneato does not collect any personal identifying information from those submitting feedback, unless they choose to include an email address (which is encrypted before storing).

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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