Focus Groups: We’re listening, are you?

In her latest blog, Charlotte Dimond shares an insight into a focus group project we're delivering for one of Sidekick PR's clients.

A recent project has seen us hold a series of focus group sessions for a client. The management team were keen to listen to different stakeholder groups from staff to customers.

It really is music to our ears when a client wants to listen - really listen - to what their stakeholders are saying.

This project saw us work with the client to differentiate the key groups that they initially wanted to hear from and then set out plans to recruit people to the sessions.

We’re halfway through the initial sessions with two of the four focus group sessions having taken place, and they have provided invaluable insights for the organisation.

The two sessions were made up of participants who work with the client and their regular customers. Separate criteria and questions were developed for each group and clear guidance was set out to ensure that all participants were comfortable with what was being asked of them and what would happen with the information they shared – the ethical side of running focus groups is really important and something that needs to be in place from the start.

Each session started with an explanation of the ethical guidelines, to remind people what they had agreed to and what the expectations were.

We explained why we were facilitating the sessions– to give an extra level of independence - and then we got the conversation flowing.

When you take the time to listen to people, you get to see your organisation through a fresh pair of eyes.

One thing is for sure, the participants were not short of things to say!

After each session a report was prepared for the client with key recommendations.

The next two sessions will be with people with additional accessibility needs and people who don’t currently engage with the client. I’m sure that both groups will give some really valuable insights based on lived experience.

What is important is what the centre then does with this information. We’ll be working with them to look at how the recommendation can be implemented.

Sometimes people are scared of asking the questions in case they don’t like the answers but listening is a great way to gain real insights into your organisation and how key stakeholders feel about the service you offer.

These groups will meet twice a year, so this is not a one off, lets listen and then tick a box to say we’ve listened experiment, it is part of a continual process to listen, engage, improve and listen some more.

If you are interested in gaining valuable insighted into your organisation gained from focus group research do get in touch. Listening is a great way to learn.


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash