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  • Laila Datoo

How to set up focus groups for employee engagement

Focus groups can be a great way to gather insights on employee engagement and you can even use the basis of your survey as a way to lead the questioning.

By delivering your questions face to face, it allows you to obtain much more emotive and in-depth information about employee attitudes, opinions and perceptions and improves the understanding and context around the situation.

In this blog post, we'll explore how to set up focus groups for employee engagement research, including planning and preparation, recruitment, and facilitation.

Planning and Preparation

Objectives and audience.

Before conducting focus groups, it's important to have a clear understanding of the research objectives, as well as the target audience. This will help you to identify the key topics and questions to be discussed during the focus group sessions.


Next, it's important to select a suitable location for the focus groups. Ideally, this should be a neutral location that is easily accessible to everyone. You could use your conference room or an offsite meeting area. Make sure your location is equipped with everything you need for a successful session.

Guide notes.

Whether it is in the form of a presentation or a flip chart, you should have something to help you guide your discussions. Ideally a set of open-ended questions that will encourage employees to share their thoughts and opinions on employee engagement.


To ensure your focus group is a success, you need to make sure you have a good diverse range of participants from across the organisation. Think about things that you can use to segment them, job function, department, hierarchy, location, age, gender, years of service for example. Ensure you have a group that is representative of the wider population.

Some organisations use incentives to encourage participation.


The facilitator is key to the success of your focus group project. They are responsible for creating the right environment to enable employees to feel safe and able to share. They should be a great communicator and be clear about what the purpose is. Importantly, they should set expectations of the group and key behaviours.

The art of facilitation is to be able to encourage everyone to share their thoughts and know when to probe into an answer further to get more insights from it. It might be a good idea to record the session if your people allow so you can capture the insights in slow time later just in case your conversations go off topic.

Communicate the findings

Once again it is important to communicate the results of the focus group, not only to your leadership team but to the wider organisation. Whether it is the focus group or employee survey results, identifying key areas for concern and mapping out a plan to improve them, will be crucial if you don’t want to undermine all the effort both you and your employees have gone to.

An employee survey can be a great alternative to a focus group. If you would like to read about how to set one up, click here

More guidance on how to set up focus groups?

Good luck carrying out your surveys, at A Life More Mindful we are trained as coaches and facilitators capable of helping businesses like yours to conduct successful surveys and focus groups. If we can help you, please contact us on


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