What are Focus Groups, and what are best practices, tools and templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Focus Groups
Focus Groups are groups of individuals who are gathered to observe a new product or discuss a particular topic in order to give organizations a chance to preview customer reactions. They are also used to gauge employee reactions to an organization’s change program.
Description of Focus Groups
In order to obtain the most essential information from a Focus Group, six steps should be followed:
1) State the purpose of the focus group. Outline what should be accomplished and clearly communicate to selected focus group participants how valuable their opinions are. It is also important to obtain support from top executives to provide sponsorship for the groups.
2) Outline the flow of the discussion. Indicate what questions should be asked for each subject discussed. It is advisable to ask targeted questions regarding each subject so that enough specific information can be generated so that follow-up actions are clear.
3) Determine who will lead the focus group. Focus Groups should generally not be conducted by a manager whose employees are participants in the group as that may inhibit honest responses. The facilitator should be impartial. It is also advised to have a separate individual to take notes so as to not split the focus of the facilitator. Focus Groups can also be video or audio recorded.
4) Define the group’s composition. There is no consensus on the optimal Focus Group size; it is specific to the organization and the topic being discussed. It is important to compose your Focus Group of a prototypical group of individuals affected by the change program. All participants should remain anonymous and involvement in the Focus Group can be required or voluntary.
5) Facilitate the group. Before beginning the session, the facilitator should go over the purpose and outline of the Focus Group and explain the rules. Participants should be given time to look over the questions before the discussion actually begins. Facilitators should remain engaged and actively listen to each participant in addition to observing body language, keep the discussion on topic, and clarify any statements made by participants that were not well explained or well received by the group. Participants should be compensated for the time in some way and should be kept abreast of how their responses will be used.
6) Analyze the results. The facilitator and scribe should meet and generate the key themes and results of the session. These should be presented as responses to the questions posed and relayed to the managers so that appropriate action can be taken.
Tools & Templates
The discussion guide for Focus Groups is often developed in a document. The notes from the session can be handwritten or typed in a document and disseminated in presentation format.
upBOARD's Online Focus Groups Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Focus Groups templates in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, upBOARD’s online Focus Groups collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other change management best practice tools and templates, including:
AIM Accelerated Implementation Methodology, Beckhard & Harris Change Process, Boston Consulting Group Change Delta, Brainstorming, Bridges’ Leading Transition Model, Burning Platform, Case for Change, Change Fatigue, Change Management Curve, Change Management Impact Analysis, Change Management Maturity Model, Change Management Levers, Change Management Plan, Change Management Roadmap, Change Proposal, Change Readiness Assessment, Change Resistance Management Plan, Change Risk Assessment, Change Success Metrics, Communications Planning, Core Values, Deming Change Cycle, EASIER Change Management, Employee Engagement Plan, Feedback Capture Grid, Focus Groups, Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture, GE Change Acceleration Process, Go-Live Planning, Head, Heart and Hands Model, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, Kubler Ross Change Curve, Lewin’s Change Management Model, Maurer’s 3 Levels of Resistance, Nudge Change Model, People Centered Implementation, Performance Support, Process Mapping, Sponsor Roadmap, Stakeholder Analysis, Stakeholder Interviews, Switch Change Framework, User Acceptance Testing, VRIO Framework and What’s In It For Me (WIIFMs).