What are focus groups and why does your organisation need them?

How to find out what your people really think in order to make positive workplace change.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” .

Wayne Dyer

Banging your head against the wall trying to solve a problem facing your organisation?  Struggling for fresh ideas or new ways to inspire and motivate teams in the workplace?  Facilitated discussion through workplace focus groups could reveal the answers to increase employee engagement and take your organisation to the next level.  Anna Broadhead shares some insights on what workplace focus groups are and why organisations engage independent specialists to facilitate these vital discussions. 

What is a focus group and why use them? 

A focus group brings together a small group of individuals within a workplace or community to discover how people perceive and feel about an important issue or a particular topic under consideration. Focus groups offer a positive way to discover and explore possibilities, and transform communities or teams toward a shared vision.

In a workplace setting, focus groups help employers meet their legal obligations to consult with their people particularly when it comes to creating a psychologically safe environment and managing psychosocial risks. 

Workplace focus groups involving employees at all levels are also a unique research tool to uncover beneficial information while directly involving employees in a positive and inclusive process of decision-making and identifying business solutions. They can also be just a nice excuse to come together, strengthen colleague relationships and connect to business goals in a safe and collaborative environment. 

So why should Awareness Co. facilitate your Focus Group? 

There are many advantages to having an external expert facilitator conduct a focus group. These may include time and resource restraints making it difficult to run in-house not to mention ensuring there is the right, unbiased, skillset to deliver, but the “gold” is in the analysis of the output to inform a pathway forward. Our HR and Change expertise coupled with an Appreciative Inquiry methodology allows us to create positive discussion and gain feedback, insights and opinions that will ultimately improve the culture, work practices, systems and beliefs for the future. We know what to look for to analyse the results with practical recommendations and support you to prioritise and implement change.

What does your workplace get out of it? 

  • Experienced and qualified facilitators with the tools and strategies needed to dig deeper than written surveys to reveal trends and fresh ideas
  • A confidential, safe an unbiased environment for people to share feedback both positive and constructive leaving them feeling valued and energised for the future
  • A more comprehensive picture of strengths and weaknesses and actions for addressing or sustaining them from the participants perspective
  • Focus Group Insights Report with recommendations to move forward on priorities that have been highlighted by participants, in consideration with the data that has been collected in the previous survey(s)
  • A leader debrief session to discuss the workshop and report outcomes
  • Confidence and peace of mind that you are meeting your duty of care obligations to consult with your people!

What do participants get out of it? 

  • Time “off the floor” to engage and connect with fellow participants in a small group setting 
  • An opportunity to contribute to an important organisational topic, in team-building/group exercises in a safe environment
  • The chance to give feedback and “dream” about what’s possible prompted by evidence-based, positively-framed questions
  • The knowledge and comfort that their voices are heard and they are contributing to outcomes 
  • Connection and collaboration with team members, and the satisfaction that their input is valued by their leaders.

What’s in the report? 

The report that you will receive post the focus group will include:

  • Our unique approach to conducting the focus group
  • Current State Reflection in the eyes of participants
  • Analysis of data (if applicable) and trends
  • Key themes and recommendations based on our expertise and practice
  • Summary and next steps for success.

What types of recommendations come out of the focus groups? 

Generally, we are able to summarise recommendations in key focus areas of an organisation and discuss each of the key themes and recommendations with Leaders in the debrief. An example of these key focus areas may include:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Organisational Change
  • Employee Engagement
  • Wellbeing & Resilience

What happens after the focus group and debrief? 

It’s over to you! You have been on the journey with your people and engaged them to hear their ideas and dream of what’s possible so it’s now time to prioritise and plan. Whilst we are not “in” your business day-to-day we have walked in your shoes and are here to support you wherever you need help implementing changes, engaging your people and transforming your workplace.

Awareness Co. is a Wollongong based Employee Engagement and Wellbeing consultancy, providing HR solutions that go beyond just work performance, and focus on developing individuals and teams to thrive in work and in life. Awareness Co. use the latest evidence-based tools to improve wellbeing, resilience and performance transforming the way you think, feel and behave at work. To learn more about our services, and to book in for your FREE Awareness Assessment, visit https://www.awarenessco.com.au/book-a-meeting

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