Do You Take Advantage of Employee Engagement Focus Groups?
Employee engagement focus groups are used to actively involve employees in designing solutions to improve their own engagement and retention. Done right as part of assessing your current organizational culture, they can bring clear, fresh, and implementable ideas on ways to effectively address the results of your employee engagement survey.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
More leaders are wisely paying attention to employee engagement these days. They understand that:
All of which makes a strong argument for testing the waters and finding out, with an employee engagement survey, just how engaged your employees are.
What Is a Focus Group?
The dictionary defines focus groups as a demographically diverse group of people gathered to participate in a guided discussion about a particular product, or to provide ongoing feedback on a political campaign, television series, etc. In other words, most focus groups are about gathering feedback.
From an employee engagement perspective, focus groups are a bit different.
Yes, they are a gathering of deliberately targeted people who participate in an actively guided discussion to elicit input, feedback, reactions, and perceptions.
But the real goal of employee engagement-related focus groups is to actively involve employees and their managers in the design and implementation of meaningful and practical engagement solutions that will improve employee engagement, performance, and retention.
Why Employee Engagement Focus Groups Are Valuable
Few organizations are as good at implementing what they learn from engagement surveys as they are at administering the survey. In fact, recent research by CEB found that 80% of business leaders do NOT believe that their engagement surveys are driving meaningful business outcomes. This is not surprising. Designing and administering a survey is much easier that getting an entire organization behind the critical few actions required to improve employee engagement.
We have written a lot about “doing it right” in terms of communicating and deploying the survey and then being ready and willing to act upon the results. But here, we want to throw out an underutilized approach that has worked for many of our clients, employee engagement focus groups.
When you have analyzed your survey results and identified the critical few engagement areas that need improvement, why not actively include your employees in the plans to go forward? Show that you value the input of those who will be most affected by the changes. With their on-the-job experience and insight, your employees can help formulate implementable and meaningful action steps for improvement.
Five Steps To Implement Employee Engagement Focus Groups
Here is how to involve your employees in improving engagement through employee engagement focus groups:
Invest the time for leadership to agree upon and communicate what is possible for employees to start, stop, and continue so they focus on what is possible to change.
Many organizations encourage different departments, locations and teams to set up their own focus groups to come up with suggestions on how to meaningfully improve engagement.
The faster you get people identifying and committing to meaningful engagement actions, the better.
In general, we recommend that managers not be facilitators in order to allow for a more free exchange of thoughts and ideas.
The Bottom Line
Inviting your employees to participate in employee engagement focus groups increases commitment and speed of implementation. You will know you are on the right track when employees notice positive change as a result of the last survey, know the specific action plans to address issues raised by the last survey’s results, and believe leadership is committed to responding to the survey results.
To learn more about how to improve employee engagement, download 7 Tips for Managers to Increase Employee Engagement through Communication
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