Is it true that team engagement suffers when research is conducted online?
Our observation is that many teams disengage almost completely when online research is asynchronous. And while teams are more active when online research takes place in real-time, we suspect there is a lot more “in and out” behavior if the viewing is taking place in the office.
In fairness, however, we have also noticed an increased amount of disengagement in the back room of facilities. Social media, email, online shopping – all have become powerful distractions. Wouldn’t it be interesting to learn how much market research has boosted online retail sales?
To increase online team participation we suggest you consider one of the following :
1. Assign individual team members to observe and report back—in writing—on a select number of online interviews or groups.
2. Debrief on the platform after every few online interviews or groups.
3. Daily updates: Have the moderator and/or the team members write daily email summaries of what took place online that day. These e-briefings should be short and compelling to read. Follow up with a real time online debriefing where team members are asked to share their top 3-5 key learnings.
4. In-Person team meeting: We created DRA’s Team Navigation® for just this purpose—to meet after the research is completed to talk about “what did we learn” and “what do we do about what we learned?” Knowing we’re headed to Team Navigation®, we then assign members “homework” to bring to the session—key findings we should pay attention to. There’s nothing like a little accountability to generate some interest!
5. Observe together: We have clients who require their team members to observe the online research together—from a conference room at the office, or a local retreat center, just to keep the team momentum going. Easel pads are set-up, and there is an on-site client team “motivator” to keep the team engaged. Frequent debriefings keep everyone moving forward.
In rare circumstances, consider accepting the passive viewing, and trust your moderator to deliver the goods. Radical? Perhaps. Just like in-person groups or interviews where no one travels, sometimes it’s ok to allow your trusted moderator to deliver the research learning to you. But it becomes imperative, in these situations, that your team meet ahead of time to set VERY clear expectations, and that the team meet afterward to decide how to use the research findings.