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  • Writer's pictureRamsay Lewis

UWG Case Study: Collecting and Analyzing Qualitative Data for a Strategic DEI Plan

Data analysts typically focus on analyzing quantitative data.

There’s a good reason for that: it is objective (in a certain sense), you can include a larger sample and can capture vast amounts of data, you can summarize and describe it with statistics, and it’s usually quite fast. It’s also easy to compare to previous years or find trends over time.

But sometimes the insights that come from rich, messy qualitative data are critical too. Especially for companies trying to take stock of employees’ opinions on their culture, diversity initiatives, equitability, and feelings of inclusion.

In this case study, I explain how I helped my client, UWG Global Reflections, collect and analyze qualitative data for their client in order to build a DEI strategic and business plan.

Background: A large regional medical company

UWG, formerly UniWorld Group, is the longest-standing multicultural advertising firm in the US. Global Reflections is their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practice, which provides consulting services to US-based and multinational organizations.

Their client was a large midwestern medical company with hospitals, aged care, and insurance arms. This client was looking for an updated strategic business plan to guide their diversity, equity, and inclusion work after their DEI group merged with their learning and development team.

As part of developing that strategic plan, UWG Global Reflections engaged in a listening tour, conducting interviews with business leaders and focus groups with a number of employees with the goal of better understanding employees’ DEI perceptions and needs.

Problem: UWG needed to quickly build their team capacity

UWG’s core team is small, and they needed to quickly expand their capacity. They planned to conduct 12 executive interviews, and at least 8 focus groups to capture the opinions of about 80 employees.

They also needed a qualified data analyst to aggregate the qualitative data and do a thematic analysis.

Solution: Focus group facilitation and qualitative data analysis

UWG Global Reflections regularly contracts me to collect and analyze qualitative data. For this project, they contracted me to:

  • Conduct interviews

  • Facilitate focus groups

  • Take detailed notes

  • Analyze the resulting qualitative data

  • Write a report on the findings

I joined the UWG Global Reflections team along with a few other consultants to host, facilitate, and collect qualitative data from 12 interviews with executives and 8 focus groups including about 80 participants.

I then conducted a rigorous thematic analysis, first reading through all the data to understand the high-level themes, and then developing an initial set of theme codes. Next, I read through again, using NVivo to tag and code the interviews and themes. On this iteration, I revised the list of codes slightly, adding a few and merging others. Finally, I read through the data one more time to ensure that all the themes had been captured adequately by the codes.

“During the past 2+ years, Ramsay has offered an array of consulting services, including as lead researcher, data analyst, marketing content designer, client liaison, project manager, content designer, and training facilitator.”Fred Smith, Executive Vice President, Operations, UWG Global Reflections

Results: Two Insight-rich Reports on Qualitative Findings

The result was that we completed the interviews and focus groups in the two-week time frame that we were given. I produced two full reports—one for the interviews and one for the focus groups—that provided the major themes of what we heard as well as actionable insights and ideas that participants offered for improving DEI.

The client was impressed by the scope of the report and how the insights led to clear conclusions and recommendations for informing a DEI strategy.

“Ramsay is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, and innovative professionals I’ve had the pleasure of working with in any capacity. He is flexible, compassionate, kind, and he never misses deadlines. Ramsay is the type of person you can count on to be productive in a stressful situation, and his positive can-do attitude is contagious.” — Fred Smith, Executive Vice President, Operations, UWG


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