Why Are Your Employees Unhappy


It?s the start of the year and most of you will be busy reviewing the results of the employee engagement surveys, conducted in the year-end. Once engagement survey results have been reviewed, conducting one or more focus groups is an effective method of identifying root causes and potential solutions to specific areas of disengagement in your startup. A startup has an uphill task of keeping employees engaged and highly motivated so that their rational and emotional commitment is used to build the company. And there is no way you can do anything about it, if you don’t know what’s causing the Trauma.

You can use the process detailed below to build an action plan by asking at risk employee segments, in open focus groups, their opinion on what causes disengagement at your organization.

Use the engagement survey results to identify the low scoring questions and structure the focus group conversation around these questions to diagnose root causes behind low scores. Review the following six steps to ensure that the agenda for the focus group will result in helpful and actionable information:

– Identify the lowest scoring engagement questions from the engagement survey.

– Structure the focus group discussion around ten to fifteen low-scoring engagement questions.

– Discuss employee knowledge, attitudes, and practices for each of the engagement questions.

– Structure group exercises to increase candor.

– Ensure that participants also rate the organization?s performance on the top drivers of employee engagement

– Propose potential action steps for addressing each area of disengagement and allow participants to comment.

Focus groups should be held in a conference room or at a location that provides a comfortable atmosphere for participants to provide candid responses. The focus group organiser should ensure that there are necessary materials, such as a whiteboard or flipchart or any handouts. An ideal length for a focus group is one to two hours. The organiser of the focus group should ensure that the elements have been prepared in advance.

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The moderator should provide context at the beginning of each focus group and lead into the discussion ensuring equal participation and encouraging candour. The conversation should include key discussion points and result in root causes and potential solutions for each disengagement area. You can use the steps given below to ensure effective facilitation of the focus group.

Introduction (15 minutes)

– Introduce the overall engagement feedback gathered from various forums, explain importance of the session, and discuss confidentiality issues

– Write the discussion points on the whiteboard

– Explain that once the session has begun, all participants are encouraged to provide ideas for the moderator to write on the board, and that the moderator may call on quiet participants

– Discourage unconstructive criticism

– Inform participants of the session timeline

– Establish rules such as every participant must speak, talking one at a time

– Communicate the scheduled time for each discussion point

Discussion (60-75 minutes)

– Encourage the flow of discussion by calling on participants when necessary

– Write all ideas on the whiteboard as they are voiced

– Inform participants of time remaining

– Continually discourage unconstructive criticism

Conclusion (15 minutes)

– Discuss the ideas generated during the meeting with participants

– Note additional feedback regarding the ideas and/or the session

– Explain next steps that will be taken with the ideas generated

– Thank the participants

Prepare a report

What gets recorded gets measured and improved, believing in the same apostle, write a report for each focus group conducted and distribute to internal stakeholders and focus group participants. It will be a good idea to include the following components in the report

– Key areas of disengagement addressed

– For each disengagement area, root causes raised by participants

– For each disengagement area, potential solutions raised by participants

– Other relevant comments raised by participants

– Follow-up plans

– Names of participants (optional)

Jappreet Sethi

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