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August 31, 2022

How to Facilitate an Employee Focus Group

Human resource professionals use focus groups to gather feedback on various initiatives and programs, as well as check the pulse of their workforce following a major change. These are also beneficial tools when conducting employee surveys.

Unlike surveys, focus groups can also be used to enhance the results of a survey by revealing the more qualitative aspects of the data. There are a variety of guidelines that can help make these tools work effectively.

It’s easy to gather a group of people in a room for a discussion, but it’s important to make sure that the discussion is conducted in a way that’s conducive to the discussion’s success. A productive focus group is more than just a chat session. It can help gather the information that can be used to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, many people assume that a group of people will automatically produce a collective opinion.

Before conducting a focus group, it’s important that the organizer has a clear understanding of the group’s goals and objectives. A purpose statement can help provide a concise explanation of the purpose of the session.

One of the most important factors that employers need to consider when conducting a focus group is securing the support of their executive officers. This will allow them to take the necessary actions based on the results. Another important aspect that employers need to consider is ensuring that their employees are aware of the importance of participating.

In addition to ensuring that the participants are aware of the importance of participating, HR professionals should also consider presenting their objectives to the executive officers. These can include increasing the participation of employees, improving communication between managers, and reducing the number of accidents.

It is imperative that a process guide is developed and prepared to help the participants navigate through the various activities during the session. It should include the necessary details such as the format and the purpose statement.

The facilitator is also the main person who will be responsible for the outcome of the focus group. He or she should play a leading role in the group’s success. If the facilitator does a good job, the results of the session will be more likely to be positive.

Ideally, the facilitator should not be taking notes during the session. However, a team member should be able to provide additional points or observations. Some employers may allow them to record the sessions, which will be transcribed later, but they should make sure that the participants are comfortable with this option.

Although there are varying opinions about the size of a focus group, it should be composed of at least six to 12 participants. The organization’s size and the topic of the session will help determine the group’s size. Besides selecting the most appropriate number of participants, the goal of the group should also be to ensure that the majority of the affected population is represented.

The group’s selection criteria should also be based on the various factors that are related to the topic. For instance, the selection criteria for long-term and newly hired employees should be considered. Although some topics may allow for the presence of managers and direct reports, they should not be grouped together.

Most companies allow employees to participate in a voluntary manner instead of requiring them to join a focus group. The meeting should be conducted in a private room, and it should not be interrupted. Meetings should last for about 60 to 90 minutes. To ensure that the participants’ anonymity is protected, employers should ensure that the facilitators provide the same level of anonymity.

The HR professional should be at the meeting early to set up the room and ensure that the equipment is ready. Scribes should also have the necessary equipment, and all materials should be in place. Name tags and tent cards should be made to help identify the speakers.

Before the meeting begins, the HR professional should welcome the participants and provide them with informal introductions. They should also review the meeting’s process guide and the agenda to ensure that they are aware of the group’s goals. After the facilitator has prepared the discussion questions, the participants should be allowed to review them quietly.

In order to keep the discussion on track, the facilitator should also make eye contact with the participants to show them that they are engaged. They should also engage them in a conversational tone. The facilitator should also be neutral and avoid making eye contact with participants if they are talking about disagreeing or agreeing with what is being said.

Although some participants may be able to discuss their own ideas, the facilitator should make sure that the discussion is focused on the main topic. They should also be able to gently ask the participants to stop talking about their own ideas.

The facilitator should be sensitive to the comments of the participants who did not have the time to explain their points of view. They should also be asking probing questions to help the participants clarify their ideas.

After the meeting, the HR professional should thank the participants for their participation and provide them with a follow-up message. Some companies also provide them with a free lunch or gift card. HR professionals should consider the various factors that affect the success of the meeting.

When all is said and done the data gathered must be analyzed and findings reported. The HR professional should hold a debriefing session to gather feedback from the participants and the facilitator. This should be conducted in order to gather information about the meeting’s overall tone and themes. The information should be arranged in a way that allows the participants to respond to the discussion questions. The HR professional should then come up with a set of recommendations that can be implemented immediately.

After the meeting, the HR professional should create an executive summary that includes the key findings and recommendations, as well as the objectives and recommendations. This should be communicated to the participants and managers as appropriate. Follow-up reports should also be provided to help the employees know that the actions were taken.


Originally published on Scott Wolfrum’s website.

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