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    Creating an Excellent Focus Group Experience

    In 2023, Nebo was engaged by many clients to conduct focus groups – guided discussions to gather input and feedback. Organizations were coming out of the pandemic and returning to a work environment that was nothing like the one in 2019. Several had recently conducted employee engagement surveys, and they were interested in exploring the results on a deeper level. As a result of the focus groups, our client organizations were able to identify the areas in which they could apply their resources most effectively for the greatest impact.

    If you are thinking about how to develop a deeper understanding of the employee experience in your organization, focus groups are an excellent option to uncover new insights.

    Here are some tips to help you structure your focus group experience:

    • Identify the key topic(s) you are looking to explore and define success for the work. Limit the area(s) of focus in order to get the most specific and robust information. A few areas to explore around the employee experience and engagement include: the remote / hybrid work environment, the effectiveness of new programs and initiatives, the experience of those in specific employee demographics (for example: working parents, women, employees in a specific department, employees in a specific role/level within the organization, and BIPOC employees.)
    • Identify the participants of the focus groups with regards to objectives of the focus groups. We suggest groups of 6-10 participants to allow for active participation from all. Some ways you may choose to group participants include: status as in-person, hybrid, or remote, tenure with the organization, title / role, employee self-identified gender, race, and parental/caregiver status.
    • Ensure that the participants have an equal voice to others in the group. We recommend establishing clear ground rules up front around confidentiality, being fully present, and not interrupting other participants. Each individual focus group should be either in-person or virtual as hybrid is not ideal for quality focus group discussion. Finally, if virtual, encourage participants to speak into the room AND make the chat option available if a participant wants to share and is not ready to bring voice to their comment.
    • Be transparent with participants about how their feedback will be used. Focus groups are an investment of time and resources. Be sure to have a plan of how you will share what you have learned and any resulting actions. Asking for the feedback is only one step in the process – reporting on how the feedback was received is important to demonstrating leadership and building a culture where feedback is welcome and encouraged. We recommend sharing the high-level themes from the focus groups and what is next with all focus group participants and a broader audience as appropriate.

    As with all of our work at Nebo, we bring a coach approach to focus groups in order to encourage high levels of engagement and participation. Focus groups offer insight into where to effectively target resources for significant impact. They also build significant goodwill with employees as they demonstrate that the organization is listening and cares enough to invest in the process.

    Let us know if we can help you design and conduct an excellent focus group in your organization in 2024.


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