We're fans of focus groups because we know how valuable candid employee feedback can be. But we're not surprised when clients tell us that "We don't have time" for focus groups or "It's too much work" to put a study together. The solution is what we call a fast focus group.

A fast focus group is much more focused than its lengthy, comprehensive counterpart. It's perfect when you want to test an idea before rolling it out to employees. For example, we've used this format to gather feedback on a plan to introduce an organization's new brand positioning.

Here's an overview of the differences between a fast focus group and a comprehensive focus group study:

Burrito   Turkey
Very focused topic with one main question; for example, testing a new bonus plan
A broader topic with up to four sub-sections; for example, assessing the effectiveness of a communication program by exploring vehicles, leader communication, knowledge of key topics and employee needs
Limited to one or two sessions
Comprehensive study across many locations/countries, typically between 10 to 30 sessions
Each focus group runs from 45 to 60 minutes
Each focus group runs from 60 to 90 minutes
Moderated with a one-page discussion outline
Moderated with a full discussion guide, including instructions for the moderator and recommended follow-up questions
Participants are selected quickly based on their location, level or role
Participants are randomly selected (based on detailed lists from HR) to get a representative sample of the employee population
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