Employee surveys are often over-used and under-acted upon.
They also set up interesting expectations:
1) Since employees are promised anonymity, they should gratefully take the opportunity to be blatantly honest about their experiences, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc.
2) Management will fix whatever employees say is "wrong" because they haven't communicated upfront what survey results, responses, suggestions, ideas, etc. will and/or will not be given attention.
Translation to employee:
You won't be held accountable in any way for what you say is "wrong," but you will be held accountable for "fixing" whatever management decides is heavily weighted enough to be "fixed."
Hmm. Why can't employees be held accountable for what they say? If there is a problem in the organization, then what's so wrong with absolute honesty communicated in a solution-focused way?
Perhaps a candid discussion among leaders and their teams would suffice. A few simple questions about what is working great, what strengths in one area could be leveraged in another area, and what opportunities for greatness exist, combined with a bit of goal-oriented, team-focused discussion goes a long way.
“What makes a good follower? The single most important characteristic may well be a willingness to tell the truth. In a world of growing complexity leaders are increasingly dependent on their subordinates for good information, whether the leaders want to hear it or not. Followers who tell the truth and leaders who listen to it are an unbeatable combination.”
- Warren Bennis