Are your employees fully engaged? Are you interested in getting to the point where you can answer “Yes!” to that question without hesitating? If so, you need to follow along with me in this series on employee engagement. Today, we will look at steps to hosting great employee focus groups.
As I said in my last couple of posts, I have seen a lot of material on employee engagement lately. The more I have seen on this topic, the more I have realized how much our organization needs to improve. I assume many of you have the same needs.
I have taken the various sources of the material I have seen or heard and I have condensed into a fairly simple action plan that I am going to follow over the next several months. I am going to explain my action plan in this series and then I am going to implement it, keeping you informed of my progress as I go.
You will hear about the wins and losses, the good, the bad, and the ugly! Hopefully, this process will help you implement similar employee engagement efforts in your own business.
The goal of this step is to sit face-to-face with every employee and get their honest feedback on how you might work to improve the workplace. Make sure to consider all of the factors described below in making this step successful.
Keep in mind, as I described earlier, I have not yet executed the following steps in my employee engagement plan. I am telling you about them before I implement them, but they have been used successfully by others I trust and respect. I will follow up with the results in a future post.
Hosting Employee Focus Groups
Here are the eight steps:
1. Make the setting an informal one. Make sure you have food and hold the gathering in a comfortable environment. If possible, meet somewhere other than where other meetings take place. If that is not possible, find other ways to soften the environment.
2. Make the employees feel safe. Managers should not be present. Depending on your structure, you may want to add a meeting or two of only managers. Regardless, the employees in each meeting need to feel safe, free from repercussions from their comments. They need to know they will not be shot for telling the truth.
3. Keep it simple. Don’t go in with pages of questions! Michael Hyatt recommended using the four questions below.
- What does your ideal Saturday (day off) look like?
- What do you like about our company that you hope never changes?
- Where could we improve?
- If you were the CEO for a day, what is one of the first things you would change?
4. Take notes. Everyone knows you cannot possibly remember all of their suggestions. Take pen and paper and show them you are sincere about getting every last suggestion or idea down on paper. Ask clarifying questions as you do so.
5. Review your notes with them. At the end of the meeting, hit the highlights of what you have written down. Show them that you have truly been listening. Make sure you correctly interpreted their comments. Add any necessary clarifications at this time.
6. Quickly implement as many ideas as you can. There is nothing you can say that will prove your sincerity better than implementing ideas you were given in this meeting. Show them that you are genuinely interested in their needs and you will earn their hearts!
7. Communicate the implemented ideas across the company. Even if you don’t implement something from everyone, when someone in another department hears about something you implemented from another department, they will still feel like they were heard.
8. Make this an ongoing process, not a one-time thing! Everyone needs to know this is not just a one-time idea you had. They need to know this is part of how you do business from now on. Don’t allow these meetings to get stale over time. Freshen them up by mixing up how you execute it each time, but just make sure you continue to get in front of them and listen!
Have you had any experience with employee focus groups?
Do you see how this process could help with employee engagement in your company?
What are you going to do next?