So, you’re an HR manager and your company is growing fast — fast. You expect five, perhaps 10 new recruits over the next six months. No, make that 50! Now what? As Donald Miller of StoryBrand states, “All (employee) engagement rises and falls on the employee value proposition.” Part of that value is in how new employees are treated from day one. An orientation video can also raise that value proposition by ensuring that every employee is provided with a consistent welcome message that emphasizes the importance of every role at the company.
Think of your video as the foundation for the company’s “tribal knowledge.” It should include the top things you want every employee to be able to talk about confidently – both inside and outside the company. Here, step-by-step, is how to create a killer employee orientation video.
Start by with a “napkin sketch” outline — just the nuts and bolts of your message. Detail the basic narrative and your brand message. Is your company history vital to the corporate culture? Has the company won awards that have directed its later success? What about points of pride in the local community?
Remember that new employees want to feel that they’re a part of something great. What do your clients come to you to achieve? Talk about their successes as much as you do your own and new hires will go home bragging about the company right from the start.
As you refine your outline and add detail, remember that any new employee can easily become overwhelmed. Make a point to focus on the most important takeaways that will inspire and motivate your new hires.
Once you have a solid outline, fill in the blanks. Write a robust script, and decide who will deliver each aspect of your message. You may want one narrator, or two. You may want to use upper management if they have a good on-camera presence. You may even want parts of your message delivered by current employees. The structure of your video is worth thinking through. Take tech brand Cisco — their employee introduction video has an easy-to-follow format. It starts with a member of the company’s HR talent management team addressing the camera — “We’d like to give you a view into our new employee orientation experience,” which is then followed by testimonials from the sales, engineering and operations departments.
If your teams aren’t so keen about being on camera, professional talent is definitely the way to go. Keep in mind that if you hire those whose first language isn’t English, you may want to consider producing in alternate languages at the same time, a definite cost savings. Connecting with a Spanish-speaking employee in their preferred language from day one is a sign that you care about and respect their needs.
The first element of your production includes capturing your script. This might involve recording a company executive on camera, or recording a voice-over by professional talent. Whatever your script calls for, be sure you are prepared. If you’re using company executives, do your best to make them feel comfortable. Recording in a professional studio with a teleprompter can make them feel much more at-ease. If you’re using employees, a question-and-answer approach will help you get the best sound-bites with the most candid approach.
Lights, Camera, Action! Create a shot list from your script to make sure you get enough footage to cover all your narration. If you have multiple locations, plot out how you’ll accomplish everything. You may have interior and exterior shoot days. Be sure to get establishing shots of the company, as well as production, current employees, even your products being used by the customer.
When in doubt, over-shoot! It’s better to have 3 different angles of the same thing than have to re-shoot a close-up later on (particularly if you’re inconveniencing employees to get just the right shot!) You can always trim down your video during the editing process. Oh, and remember, stay true to your script.
Next, you’ll want to create your graphics, animation and any titles for your video. You may want to hire a professional animator or graphic artist to help with this part of the production. Plus, you’ll need to decide whether you want to use any music, and purchase the tracks you’ll need.
Editing is just as important (and just as much fun!) as recording your orientation video. During this process, you’ll select the shots you want to use and add transitions and music. This orientation video from hotel chain Ayres Hotels (and here it is in Spanish) is a good example of professional post-production.
“Visual elements such as transitions, slow motion, split screen and other effects will add flare to your video — and who doesn’t want more flare, right?” says the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “Just don’t overdo it with flashy transitions or animations.”
Finally, you need to distribute your video so employees can watch it. You can do this online — direct new hires to your website, for example — or in a small group meeting during onboarding week. Alternatively, upload your orientation video to YouTube, just like Talmer Bank and Trust and Omni Hotels & Resorts.
Sixty-nine percent of staffers are more likely to stay with an organization for three years if they experience a great introduction to their new company. An orientation video definitely improves your onboarding processes but can be time-consuming to make. That’s where a professional production company can be a definite asset. Choose one with decades of experience who can help you create an orientation video that really works. Click here to find out more.
Working to create motivated, engaged employees is a full-time job. That’s why a static approach to onboarding no longer works. You need real interaction, but as the number of team members grows, it’s often hard to individualize not only your new hires, but your existing employees as well.
Consider a unique approach to employee engagement that, when done right, can work wonders. “Blind Dates” between employees can not only increase worker morale but improve productivity, motivation and work quality as well. Beyond that, Globoforce reported that when they have a friend in the office, employees are 69% more likely to describe themselves as “highly engaged” at work.
The strategy, while a bit awkward at first, simply calls for your Employee Relations team to arrange for different employees – who likely would never interact in their normal workday – to meet and greet each other.
Toronto-based FreshBooks, has completed several rounds of blind dates among employees, and reported that of the employees who chose to opt-in, “100 percent of people who joined said they liked it.” These meetings are all about building rapport and giving staff a break from the daily mundane work tasks. Employees can treat the time as a brainstorming session since bouncing ideas off someone with a new perspective is often helpful.
Staff from different departments can also get together for parts of assignments where their work connects. They can work with each other to clear confusion and gain more knowledge — each employee will have something unique to bring forward.
Their blind date is a time when all regular work should get thrown out the window. Let them sit down for coffee and find ways to help each other grow. Your employees will not only engage with each other, they also get an emotional break from their normal work life.
This personalized communication truly matters. The one thing that makes an employee feel worthless, or on the brink of getting fired, is a lack of personalization. You should want your entire team to be comfortable with each other, regardless of which position they hold or what department they serve.
The key is to plan these blind dates strategically. Don’t just pick names out of a hat. If Bob from the IT department can help Janet from accounting overcome software confusion, why not let them interact?
They might already communicate through certain protocols or systems. But by building rapport, less negativity and fear surrounds their communications. In the end, Janet will walk away more confident that she can reach out to Bob for little issues. Meanwhile, Bob will have a better feel for Janet’s weak points and will no longer feel like he’s offending her when he offers unsolicited help.
The idea might sound a little “out there,” and it is, but the results may astonish you when its done right. Focus on cross-department dates; create interactions that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Set aside an hour each month for “corporate dating,” and have department managers coordinate the two employees, based on what benefits their current workload the most.
If you’ve ever felt your talent is suffering because of your recruiting and onboarding processes, you are far from alone. A recent study revealed that 33 percent of HR teams believe their organization is “not competitive in the battle for talent” because of recruitment failures.
The U.S. unemployment rate is hovering at low levels, recently hitting its lowest level since 2007. If your company is worried about the national talent shortage, know that avoiding some of the most common HR mistakes could yield a competitive edge.
Seventy-three percent of HR leaders feel they are not using recruitment technology appropriately. If your organization still scans resumes manually and uses paper checklists, you may have massive potential to become more efficient. From technology-assisted resume matching to automated candidate scheduling, smarter technology can significantly free up time for HR to focus on strategy.
Using the right recruitment technology is also one way to help your organization discover new talent pipelines, from social media candidate sourcing to benchmarking your organization’s openings against talent in your area.
Cultural fit is critical for successful employee performance at organizations of any size. Airbnb is one firm who attributes some of their success to hiring employees based on values. Experts recommend using personality assessments and “off-the-wall” interview questions to learn more about who your candidates are as people before making a job offer.
Recruitment should be a mutual selection process. Onboarding, or a formal approach to acclimating new hires to your organization, can help your new employees succeed. However, onboarding is also an important way for potential hires to assess fit and determine whether they will thrive in your culture. Some highly successful companies use a “pre-hire orientation” video to acclimate their candidates to culture, values and expectations. Using standardized content, like a video, can introduce massive consistency in global or distributed organizations
Recruitment has never been an easy undertaking, and the nationwide talent shortage has only made it more challenging. Fortunately, there are a variety of technologies that can support comprehensive assessment and efficiency among HR teams.
With smarter recruitment technologies, you can access new talent pipelines and tools to holistically assess your candidates. With the use of pre-hire orientation materials, you can also support your candidate’s ability to select the right match for their needs.
When a union has you — and your employees — in its sight, you need to be ready to respond. Union leadership had months to prepare, to start engaging your employees, and to lay the groundwork for a unionization drive. Your business can’t afford to cobble together a strategy once a representation vote is imminent; you need to have a well-thought-out communications game plan. Here are a few tips to help craft your message:
Your labor team needs to communicate with employees during an organizing drive. But before they do, it’s vital to understand that the laws are explicit about what kind of communication is permissible. The team of people working to help keep your company union-free will be in charge of overseeing the message, understanding what is said, to whom and when. Beyond that, the labor team (even if it’s a group of leaders who normally have other primary responsibilities) must know what resources are available to them to help them communicate well. This includes attorneys, persuaders & consultants and those that provide video, web, and eLearning tools dedicated to keeping your company union-free.
So, do your research and know what’s legal as well as what’s recommended for your unique company and workforce ahead of time. Then, when you do have to manage a campaign to keep your company union-free, you’ll be well-prepared.
Next, remember that your supervisors are out every day interacting with employees… making them your best source of information about what’s going on with your workforce. Empower those in supervisory positions and promote positive employee relations by providing confidence-boosting training that helps them understand not only what cannot be said to employees – but what CAN and SHOULD be said during an organizing drive. Supervisors can state that the company is opposed to unionization, highlight the disadvantages of union membership, and point to misleading statements in union propaganda. Supervisors cannot prohibit employees from wearing union buttons or demand to know if they’ve signed a union authorization card. Provide them with the skills they need to conduct meetings with employees, recognize distribution of authorization cards, and implement other targeted communications.
Any team member that is expected to lead and to communicate with employees needs powerful leadership training to avoid mistakes – and Unfair Labor Practice charges – that could lead to fines and penalties for your company, and stress for your management team. This gives you time to prepare your response and make your case to your employees.
Why are your employees even considering joining a union in the first place? If you can answer that question, maybe you can prevent this problem altogether. In a union-free environment, one option is to empower your supervisors to engage employees directly and solicit feedback. If there are consistent grievances, you may have your answer. A more involved option is to organize a “town hall” with executives to speak to employees and even the families of employees directly. This is a slightly more risky idea, but if your leadership is prepared and willing, this can put a more human face on your company.
Finally, your internal processes can include regularly conducted employee engagement or union vulnerability assessments and surveys. When conducted by an outside company, these processes can help upper management gain insight, understanding, and the ability to take action on the right things.
The time to plan your communications strategy is before an organizing drive – not during. Whoever makes up your labor team – be it staff dedicated to this area or communications teams and senior management – needs to sit down and create templates for several key publications: a response to an organizing drive so employees immediately understand that the company is aware and listening, educational information about the effects of unionization and why the company wants to remain union-free, and what to say once an organizing drive has ended (and what it means for the business going forward).
This pre-prepped communications plan applies to company emails and press releases, but if your labor team wants to directly engage and refute union messaging, the best medium can be a website, dedicated to the organizing drive – and addressing only that topic. This kind of site can be created and kept in a “dark” state until it’s needed.
This is where your labor & communications teams earns their keep. Your internal and public communications need to be clear, consistent and positive. Your leadership needs to have the authority to control all management interactions with the media and ensure that no company leaders “wing it” and go off-message. That message needs to state the facts and avoid painting the dispute as bitter or unpleasant. Remember, all you need to communicate is where the company stands and that events are ongoing. Anything else is just noise.
Your message needs to be thoughtful, consistent and constructive. Every communication you release will be picked over by your employees, the union and, depending on the level of coverage, the media. What you say, and how you say it, will reveal a lot about how your organization is weathering the storm and how soon you can get back to business.
For a little more than a decade, Human Resources and Employee & Labor Relations departments across the country have been on a mission to figure out how to connect with employees on social media — and it’s proven to be a very difficult task. Employees sometimes aren’t as open to corporate communications on Facebook and Twitter. Even on LinkedIn, reaching employees can be challenging, and sometimes even fruitless. Nevertheless, employee engagement is key to union avoidance, as well as a healthy and happy workplace culture.
Luckily, there are other more powerful ways to connect with employees that don’t involve social media and can help with limiting vulnerability to union organizing. Here are a few innovative ways to engage employees and foster meaningful connections.
Online video is quickly becoming the most popular and most consumed form of media. It’s even been estimated that video traffic will account for 82 percent of internet traffic by 2020. And it’s easy to see why — video is both incredibly popular and highly affordable. Plus, the possibilities with video content are endless. Host a live Q&A session, create a mini-series of training videos or share interviews with executive leadership to keep employees tuned in and motivation turned up.
With plenty of free services like Survey Gizmo, Google Forms and Survey Monkey, it’s never been easier to create employee surveys and analyze the feedback. This can be a powerful tool when you’re looking to craft positive relationships with your employees. Keeping a pulse on how your employees feel about your workplace can help you overcome culture challenges and anticipate potential problems. But be aware of anonymous feedback when giving surveys, as they could encourage unproductive conversations and skew the facts.
Sometimes the best way to create positive employee relations is to unplug. Walking through the office to chat with employees a couple times a week is the most simple yet most powerful way to connect. Personal, face-to-face interactions remind employees that you’re a resource to them and create a bond that can’t be made over SnapChat. Taking five minutes to check in once in awhile might be just what your employees need to feel supported and connected to your company. Plus, you’ll be able to gauge the energy in the room, something digital platforms can’t measure.
Ask managers and supervisors to take the same online training classes so they’re reviewing identical material at the same time. The process of learning collaboratively will give them an opportunity to connect among themselves, online and off. Follow up a week of training with a group discussion to reinforce the lessons. It will reinforce your company’s values of continual learning, foster a culture that supports growth and remind your teams that you care about their professional development.
After the end-of-the-year seasonal parties, employees are usually feeling connected and energized, having just made new memories together. This is why you shouldn’t limit the fun to just once a year. Host quarterly or bi-annual parties that bring people together to do nothing but have fun and bond as a team. The relationships developed over a hamburger at a cookout in the summer will translate to stronger relationships in the office. And stronger relationships in the office will translate to happier, more motivated and more fulfilled employees.
Make your company an employer of choice by driving meaningful connections in person, not just on social media. When you’re looking to improve your employee engagement practices, remember that there are plenty of innovative ways to connect offline as well as on. However, one size does not fit all. What works best for one company might not work at another, so it’s important to find the most effective methods of reaching your employees. Try one, two or all five of these tips to see which work best for you, your team and your culture.