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Posted on March 25, 2016

Focus Groups: The Value of Listening

Employee Focus Groups

Here’s a question for you: how can you move the needle on employee engagement without first listening to your employees? Here’s the answer: you can’t.

In order to improve culture, fix processes, and identify aspirations, you need to first understand what the current employee experience is, and the best way to do that is to perk up your ears and listen. One of the best ways to listen is to conduct employee focus groups – something that we at Brilliant Ink strive to do at the beginning of every employee engagement project.

I know, we just wrote about focus groups a few weeks ago, but I’ve been leading so many of them lately that I just had to share my thoughts on WHY they’re so valuable. If you’re on the focus group fence, here are some reasons to jump the fence and drink the delicious and satisfying focus group Kool-Aid on the other side.

Reason #1: Focus groups reassure employees that their opinions matter. Employees appreciate their employers for giving them a platform to speak their minds. This isn’t just something I suspect, it’s confirmed in every single focus group I attend.

Reason #2: Focus groups validate beliefs that you already have. You may have a feeling that employees feel overworked and under-appreciated, but how can you be sure? Focus groups are a great tool to confirm suspicions and get to the underlying cause of issues before they bubble up.

Reason #3: Focus groups surface perspectives/concerns you didn’t know existed. Maybe your employees have wonderful things to say about a benefit that doesn’t get much promotion, or perhaps your annual review process is confusing and ineffective. More likely than not, you will walk away from focus groups with a whole new understanding of your employees’ appreciations and frustrations.

Reason #4: Focus groups make it easy to prioritize next steps. When it comes to employee engagement, there’s probably a lot you want to accomplish at any given time. By listening to your employees, you find out what matters most to them, which should help you decide where efforts should be spent.

By now, I hope that you’re drinking the Kool-Aid with me. Investing the time to listen is the difference between truly engaging your employees and launching an initiative that falls flat.

Thanks for listening!

Patty Youngclaus