In organisations with a small number of employees, it may be more appropriate to explore, in small groups, issues related to working conditions.
You may already have ways of encouraging participation and consulting with employees, for example, routine practical talks when work is planned, these are sometimes referred to as 'toolbox talks'.
Focus groups can provide an opportunity to explore work related stress issues in more depth, with more time set aside for such discussions than may be available within standard team meetings.
They also allow you to explore common issues across groups with shared interests that might not normally come together as members of teams. They can be particularly useful if you want to find out what specific groups of people think about their work.
The Management Standards approach suggests that focus groups are used as part of Step 3, to evaluate the risk by exploring problems and developing solutions. However, it is best to use techniques where they have proved most useful within your particular organisation.
Smaller organisations, in particular, may find it more useful to use such group approaches as part of the earlier stage of the risk assessment process.
Further information on focus groups and how to run them [PDF, 94KB] is available to download as a PDF.
Your organisation may already be involved in other initiatives that include your own approach to gathering information on who may be harmed and how. In this case, you may find it useful to integrate some parts of the Management Standards approach into your existing initiatives.