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Survey participant FAQs

One of our aims with OutBüro is to create a straight-forward survey experience. Here we’ll answer some general queries about answering a survey using the OutBüro system. If you’ve been asked to complete a survey by your employer, but haven’t received an invitation, contact your HR department and ask to have the survey link sent to you.

Your first source of information is any emails, invitations, or other communication tools such as an HR portal, breakroom/coffee room posters, etc. depending on the communication choices by the HR department.

Your survey will also have a Welcome Screen that will explain the basics. If you ever have any questions or feedback, use our Contact Us. form. We answer what we can or direct you to the primary employer contact for additional help.

Feeling comfortable to provide feedback

Most organizations care about getting honest feedback from their employees, whether it’s good or bad, so they can use the data to help create better places to work. With that said, we know some people may feel nervous about providing honest feedback. While we encourage you to answer every question there may be valid reasons not to answer a question. You may feel the question is not relevant to you. Or you may simply feel uncomfortable with the question for personal reasons. If this is the case for any of the questions, you can skip them. Or, if you feel your answers are more nuanced, you can add comments (on a per question basis), if configured in your survey (described more below). In all cases, your privacy is protected. We value your feedback and privacy.

Can you see my individual responses?

This depends on the type of survey and feedback being collected. For some surveys, it makes sense to see individual responses (e.g. onboarding or exit surveys). For other surveys (e.g. engagement surveys, general life/community experiences), it’s more important to understand how employees/people are feeling generally, so aggregated results provide more meaningful and representative feedback. Most engagement surveys are set-up in a way that does not allow OutBüro to show employers, study partners, or the public any individual-level data.

To understand how your particular survey is set up, the specific reporting rules for the survey are included in your invitation and reminder communications. The reporting rules outline the reporting group minimum for the survey, as well as whether survey administrators have access to raw data. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the specific reporting rules for your survey.

For example, Company X runs an engagement survey with a reporting group minimum of 5, and no access to raw data. In this case, because we do aggregate reporting, people with access to the results can only see results in groups of 5. So if 5 people in your location/department/demographic (gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.) submit, people will be able to see the aggregate (combined) total for your area. In this example, we do not reveal your individual responses.

Part of our aim as an external party is to provide confidence around the confidentiality of the results. If you have any other concerns or queries, feel free to contact us using the Contact Us form and select Survey as the reason.

How will my answers be used?

Survey information is used in a variety of ways. At OutBüro we deal with a lot of organizations conducting surveys of their employees as well as we conduct open to the public surveys.

For employers, almost universally these companies have a genuine desire to connect with their employees and make positive changes to understand what their work environment is really like and what they then need to do improve and become a safe, welcomimg work environment for all employees.

Talking to employees is the quickest and most direct method – that is, someone could just ask you for your opinion. However, surveys provide an opportunity to gather feedback in an anonymous confidential way so that employees feel comfortable in being open and honest. This isn’t always possible in other forums. Surveys also allow for an analytical view of the data. Surveys let organizations see trends over time. A simple conversation is very powerful, but it’s very difficult to turn that into a reasonably objective, organization-wide picture. This is where surveys become essential.

Is it just a waste of my time?

We don’t see that a lot. Generally, nobody begrudges doing a survey if they see real, positive change from it. The organizations we see genuinely want to make a positive change from their surveys. It’s possible that there may not be any change from your survey. Or there may be, but you may not see or hear about it instantly. Sometimes it just takes time. If you feel that is the case, we’d encourage you to discuss with your manager and HR representatives and let them know. If that’s not possible for you, see if you can let them know via the survey. It’s possible to have serious issues with your organization.

We hope the survey is your opportunity to convey that and get heard. Your engagement in this process is one of the best mechanisms for enabling real change to occur.

Answering Rating Questions

Our general questions follow what is called the “Agree Format”. For these questions, we put forward a statement, and you tell us how much you agree or disagree with that statement. In OutBüro you use our radio buttons to enter your answers. Simply click on your response.

Why only five answers? I’d like more choice.

Most questions have just 5 response choices. The evidence on the effectiveness of more options is mixed at best. We favor having simpler surveys with clear questions that are quicker for you to complete. More options tend to be an issue when people weigh questions against each other. Try not to do this. Answer each question on it’s own merits. If you feel that an answer requires explanation, use the comments feature (where available).

Why are the questions framed positively?

It’s not trying to bias the survey, in fact quite the opposite. We frame each question as an ideal state that we’d all generally like to be true of how we feel or experience our organizations. This makes the survey consistent – this is easy to understand, leads to less confusion, and is quicker to complete. However, the response scale allows you to be neutral or completely disagree with these statements – if you respond negatively the results will reflect this. 

Is there a ‘not applicable’ option?

No. If a question does not apply to your situation, simply do not answer that question. This is the equivalent of a ‘n/a’ response.

Can I add comments?

Comments are not enabled on all OutBüro surveys. If comments are enabled for your survey, you will be informed on the Welcome Screen. You will also see the comment icon/area for each question.

Do not feel you need to add a comment on every question. Use comments to provide directed feedback on the topics you feel deserve additional attention. Many surveys also include free-text questions. Often you have the opportunity to provide feedback in these sections. It may not always be necessary to comment at the question level.

Will comments identify me?

Confidential surveys do not identify comments. However, it’s naturally possible to identify yourself by the content of your comment. If you’d like to remain confidential, do not include identifying information such as people’s names or departments.

Can I complete the survey on a smartphone or tablet?

We support most modern desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile devices, and browsers. If you’re on a mobile device, we support Android version 2.3 or higher and iOS (iPhone or iPad) version 2 or higher. We support most browsers.

Can I save my survey and complete it later?

Yes. OutBüro allows you to save your changes every time you use it. You can use the original link that was provided to return to where you left off. However, be aware that this link will not function after the survey is closed. For most survey types, you will be sent a reminder to complete the survey if you have not done so before the survey’s closing date. You can even switch between devices while completing your survey.

Do I need to answer every question?

No. There are some mandatory questions in OutBüro Surveys, but these are the exception. We encourage you to answer every question, however, there are valid reasons not to answer a question. You may feel the question is not relevant to you. Or you may simply feel uncomfortable with the question for personal reasons.

Can I change my answers?

You can change your answers anytime before finishing the survey. If you already submitted your survey and would like to change your answers, the survey link can be reset by following the original survey link and using the “Redo Survey” link at the bottom of the ‘Thank You’ page. You will receive a new survey invite link by email. Be aware that resetting a survey removes all your previous answers. You will need to complete the entire survey again.

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