Why use focus groups in a climate survey?

Most managers are familiar with climate surveys conducted using a questionnaire, either online or in paper copy. This is an efficient way of collecting information from across the workforce and ensuring that all voices are heard.

Focus groups, however, can add depth and insight to the survey process. With focus groups it is possible to explore in depth the attitudes of team members and by group interaction, stimulate discussion and test out ideas.

Focus groups can be used at any point during the survey process but they offer slightly different benefits depending on where they fit in to the survey timeline.

At the design stage, focus groups are an essential. They are critical in determining what are the safety concerns of members of the production workforce. These may be different to those identified by the management team and it is important to find out what really concerns those who face daily risks at the workface. Additionally, at design stage focus groups can capture the language that workers use so that the questionnaire can be designed to be as accessible as possible.

Focus groups can be run in tandem with the survey. Here, they add depth and colour to the quantitative process. There is an opportunity to explore in depth the issues that are addressed in the survey and to draw out thoughts and feelings about safety issues. Whereas the quantitative survey gives robust evidence using data drawn from across the workforce, the focus group yields high quality data from a small representative section of the workforce. The two data are complementary.

Post survey, focus groups give the opportunity to explore issues that have arisen from analysis of the questionnaires, possibly to validate the findings or to find out what lies behind some of the response patterns. This might be useful when issues such as peer pressure or leadership have emerged in a negative light.

Whenever they occur during the survey process, focus groups should be conducted by an independent person from outside the project. Focus groups should be in confidence sot that participants feel free to express their views without fear of comeback.

Focus groups can offer a useful addition to the survey, giving a unique in depth insight to workforce attitudes to safety.

Updates

Levelling the playing field in construction: International Women’s Day

Posted - 8. Mar .19

Even with a database as large as Safety Diagnostics, with more than 50,000 individual cases, producing robust data on women in the construction industry is challenging. Women comprise around 12%…Read More

Safety is Viral!

Posted - 22. Mar .17

How peer pressure can influence safety attitudes and behaviour   A key attitude statement that is ranked in all Safety Diagnostics attitude survey is “Peer pressure sometimes makes me do…Read More

Safety Diagnostics as a Leading Measure for Construction Safety Planning

Posted - 17. Feb .16

How do you target limited resources to achieve a real improvement in safety performance?  Construction safety planning is often based on rear view mirror thinking. What has gone wrong in…Read More

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Posted - 14. Apr .15

One of the most significant correlations that emerges from the Safety Diagnostics data is the link that exists between the age of respondents and attitudes to safety behaviour and risk.…Read More

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Posted - 18. Mar .15

Each Safety Diagnostics survey includes a question in the demographic section that asks respondents whether they are a parent.   This question often draws a suspicious response – ’Is this an…Read More

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Updates

08/03/19 - Levelling the playing field in construction: International Women’s Day

Even with a database as large as Safety Diagnostics, with more than 50,000 individual cases, producing robust data on women ...Read More

22/03/17 - Safety is Viral!

How peer pressure can influence safety attitudes and behaviour   A key attitude statement that is ranked in all Safety ...Read More

17/02/16 - Safety Diagnostics as a Leading Measure for Construction Safety Planning

How do you target limited resources to achieve a real improvement in safety performance?  Construction safety planning is often based ...Read More

14/04/15 - Young Turks and Old Turkeys: Age Related Risk

One of the most significant correlations that emerges from the Safety Diagnostics data is the link that exists between the ...Read More