At Supermood, privacy is paramount. This is why we spent a lot of time and resources in R&D so that our reports always respect our customers' employees anonymity.(We’ll let you in on a secret: when the founders launched Supermood, they decided that “ethics” would be one of Supermood’s three core values).
The anonymity threshold
At Supermood, we’ve set an anonymity threshold of 5 people. That means that the results of a survey will never be displayed if there haven’t been at least 5 respondents. So if only 4 people from a team of 10 have responded, the results of the survey aren’t shown to administrators.
Administrators can change this threshold to between 3 and 10 people (particularly for small companies and teams). In any event, this choice is offered to you when launching Supermood.
Representing individual responses
Supermood is focused on statistics, but the human element is our priority. We don’t reduce people to averages and percentages; we never forget that the responses are given by real people.
So Supermood produces bar charts, as we can see in image 1. We therefore know precisely how many people have answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. It’s interesting to know that someone has answered 1 to this question when the others have answered 5. In comparison, if we only had the averages, a question with an average of 4.3 could be given by the following set up:
Supermood allows you to filter results in different ways. For example, let’s imagine that a company is organised in the following way:
- It has entities in two countries: France and the United States
- Each entity has departments: Admin & HR, Product, Sales
- Departments are sometimes spread across several cities: in the United States, the Marketing department has teams in Dallas and New York.
So Supermood allows you to filter results based on this hierarchy, enabling the Marketing manager in New York to view feedback from his/her employees.
In the screenshot above, we can see that as Marketing/Dallas only has 3 results, these results won’t be accessible because they won’t be sufficiently anonymous!
Lots of products offering HR surveys have this same policy: “fewer than X responses and we don’t display the results.” That’s quite effective, but it’s not enough, as we’re going to see.
The difficulty: anonymity with bar charts and filters
It’s easy to see why it’s possible to filter results. The Head of Marketing in New York needs to have the results just for his/her team - how else can he/she understand how Marketing employees are feeling? He/she must therefore have access to the bar charts for the Marketing team in New York (called Marketing/New York).
At Supermood, we hope for the best, but we plan for the worst. If ever an ill-intentioned administrator remembers his/her secondary school maths lessons, he/she will know how to find out the responses for Marketing/Dallas when faced with image 3.
We have Marketing = Marketing/Dallas + Marketing/New-York
So Marketing/Dallas = Marketing - Marketing/New-York
So with this system of “fewer than X responses = we don’t display the results”, an administrator could still obtain them by initially displaying the bar chart for Marketing, then by displaying the bar chart for Marketing/New York and by comparing the two to find out what was said by three out of four colleagues who work in Marketing/Dallas!
Rest assured - your HR department only has good intentions and wouldn’t do that! We also know that they work very hard and don’t have time to waste by using hundreds of filters. But at Supermood, we prefer a zero-risk policy when it comes to a company’s employees - which is why we’ve developed specific algorithms so that even if someone tries to find responses which are supposed to remain anonymous, he/she cannot do so. So the algorithms calculate what would happen if an administrator used such and such a filter and pre-emptively block any filters which could cause a problem.
And so this is what happens if the administrator for the above account tries to access the results for Marketing:
That’s right: as image 4 shows, the responses for Marketing aren’t displayed because those for Marketing/New York are accessible. Our algorithms make it impossible for anyone to attempt to find the 3 responses from Marketing/Dallas.
Supermood is the only tool to design models which provide data-rich reports to managers and HR employees, whilst simultaneously ensuring the anonymity of employees.
And what about comments?
Supermood also enables you to express yourself in a qualitative way: reporting specific problems, giving solutions, etc. In short, to make yourself heard, you need to be able to provide a written account.
To ensure your anonymity, verbatim comments are never nominative. They follow the same rules as the closed-ended questions for filtering. To be sure that your response will remain confidential, remember:
- Not to write anything which can clearly identify you.
- Not to include your name.
- To offer suggestions rather than criticisms.
And what about the security of my data?
Of course, your responses are stored in our ultra-secure database and remain in Europe (in our ISO-27001 data centres). To communicate with you, we use an encrypted communication channel called SSL. This rather strange name means that even your IT department can’t intercept your responses - everything stays between you and us. Phew!
In addition to its use on the Supermood platform, your collected data is used in two ways: to improve our existing algorithms (to see if the questions we ask are relevant, etc.) and to contribute to a global benchmark (once your data has been totally anonymised). So no, we’re not interested in reselling your data “to customise your advertising experience”.
Contractually, how does it work?
Below is a brief summary of what’s been agreed with your company:
- 1 The platform’s administrators agree not to try to reproduce an individual response (and in any case, it’s impossible!). ).
- 2 At the end of the contract, your company can ask us to export the collected data. We agree to do that, but our contract states that only totally anonymised data can be exported. That means in a format which makes it impossible to isolate a single response.
- 3 As with all IT services, you have a right to correct your data.
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