You might think it’s a bit strange for a company who produces professional-quality video for companies to give advice on “do it yourself” video for HR. But employees, especially millennial employees, crave engagement, and HR departments are increasingly expected to communicate regularly with their workforce on both routine and critical issues. Videos can be a great way to communicate with employees and deepen engagement, but, really, should you create your own content? This article will consider the pros and cons of HR departments shooting their own employee communication videos – and you might be surprised!
Do you have an iPhone? Good news, you’re an amateur filmmaker. Gone are the days when you needed to buy dedicated camera equipment. That phone in your pocket can take high-definition video and can usually autocorrect for poor lighting. There are a number of simple things you can do to make those handheld videos look better. Try spending 30 minutes to create consistent lighting conditions throughout your set (or if outside, try to minimize glare from the sun). You can also use multiple iPhones to get different angles. Newer models even shoot video in 4K, though this resolution will consume a great deal of memory. Even these basic techniques can give your videos greater credibility but once you use editing software, the quality of your content improves exponentially.
Many amateur filmmakers use Apple’s iMovie, an incredibly powerful software platform that can make short films look fantastic. The software even allows you to start editing on your iPhone before finishing on a Mac. Once you start using iMovie, it makes sense to upgrade your other equipment to get the most out of the software. A good microphone will help capture high-quality audio, and a proper lighting rig goes a long way to make sure your subjects and set are appropriately lit. You can find royalty-free music on sites such as Premium Beat and Pond unless you intend to create your own. iMovie includes a large suite of editing tools such as time lapses, color correction and special effects. While these tools make your videos look great, it can take many months to fully understand how to use the software to its full potential.
Technology has evolved to the point that with limited skill, you can create a great looking employee video. With a little editing and touch-ups, homemade videos can be distributed throughout your organization. However, mission-critical communications require a professional touch. During periods of heightened tension such as union organizing, layoffs or restructuring, you want to make sure your video surgically communicates the right message to the right audience. You only get one shot in corporate communications, and mistakes can be quickly broadcast on national news and social media. Everyone wants to go viral, but not for the wrong reasons. The good news is that there the team at Projections can provide first-class employee communication videos when the stakes really matter. Projections specializes in labor relations and provides award-winning, highly effective corporate communication tools for onboarding, union organizing campaigns, benefits rollouts, changes (such as facility closings or corporate restructuring), and especially for training and educating your workforce.
A great way to deepen employee engagement is first-class videos, websites and e-learning. Showing your team members that you value their ongoing education is vital for morale and employee retention – not to mention your reputation as an employer of choice. The equipment needed to create quality videos is increasingly affordable, and there are a number of software tools to make your videos look more professional. For routine communications, creating your own videos is probably fine. For critical communications with your broader workforce, such as union avoidance, look to a professional that specializes in corporate communications to ensure your videos are focused enough to convey the right message to the right audience when it really matters.
A motivated, happy workforce doesn’t just benefit your company with increased productivity and better quarterly revenues. Employee engagement also guarantees that you get to retain your best employees, enjoy a higher level of staff loyalty, stave off nascent union organizing and ensure your company remains innovative and competitive going forward.
With that in mind, let’s examine the most common warning signs that suggest your employees aren’t as motivated or engaged as you’d like them to be.
Everyone knows teams or individuals who are content to be “just good enough.” Yes, they’re hitting their targets, but box-ticking metrics aren’t the stuff of great companies. Try to develop a culture that inspires your employees to want to become excellent in everything they do.
Most employees should be fine with taking constructive criticism; ideally, they should be actively seeking it out. Unfortunately, some resist feedback, and this can be a sign of increasing withdrawal, both in the workplace and elsewhere.
Some employees can be overly protective of their own status quo. Not wanting to be blamed for failure, they shun any risk at all.
Regardless of the specific benefits that your company enjoys from good interpersonal relationships among your staff, it is a universal truth that bad employee interactions are always a net detriment to productivity. Having employees who won’t work on maintaining or fixing good relationships is a sure sign of trouble further down the line.
Changes to workplace practices can often trigger a natural and subconscious resistance in employees, which should be predicted and managed as such and even leveraged as a coaching or training opportunity. Regardless, it should only be a temporary reaction and dissolve over time. However, when employees demonstrate a chronic and obstinate desire to stay stuck in their ways, it may be an indicator of other, more serious, underlying issues.
Not dissimilar to the desire to shun risk, a lack of interest in experimentation suggests that your employees have grown bored with their work and encounter a lack of stimulation and curiosity in what they do.
Employees who excuse their own work by finding fault in someone else’s show a lack of accountability. They never learn from their mistakes.
It shouldn’t be a hard sell to get your employees to expand their skill set and make themselves more valuable in the process. If some of your staff are reluctant to engage with workplace training and ignore offers of educational opportunities, you might want to explore it with them further in a bid to address any preexisting concerns.
We know gossip when we hear it, and in the workplace, it’s never a good thing. Not only does it decrease team cohesiveness, damage morale and inculcate a negative atmosphere, it’s also a consistent precursor to the beginnings of union organizing in your firm. Rumors and hearsay can spread false notions and add fuel to the fire that union officials rely on.
If you get that feeling that some of your employees are jealous of others, or that there’s a rift between a department or two borne out of a feeling of inequity, it’s definitely worth investigating. What might appear as a sense of petty injustice can have large ramifications on labor relations further down the line.
And, finally, what could be more indicative of disengagement than your staff not turning up to work in the first place? Fortunately, this is usually one of the last signs to manifest itself, giving you plenty of opportunity to address the problem beforehand.
If you’re witnessing any of these signs of failing employee engagement, it’s not too late! In fact, its testament to your commitment to your teams that you’re aware of their needs. Now is the time to begin connecting, and you can use powerfully consistent video messages, highly interactive eLearning and dedicated websites to create an innovative, engaged workforce.
Video is easily the preferred medium for consuming information, and is rapidly outdistancing other options for ease and versatility. Recent data shows that video is expected to be responsible for 82 percent of online traffic by 2021. So, if you’re not already incorporating video in your internal communications, you may be missing out on an opportunity to connect with your employees.
When you use video as a communication channel, you increase the effectiveness of internal communications. People remember only 10 percent of the information they hear; however, they remember 65 percent of that information if it’s accompanied by a relevant picture.
You can use videos to improve employees’ understanding of an important topic, such as union organizing. A video used during a union organizing drive to effectively communicate the facts about joining a union before the employees make the commitment will drastically help your cause.
Today’s employees are accustomed to consuming their information, news and entertainment via video. A 2013 Pew Research Center study found that 50 percent of adults watched educational videos online. YouTube’s educational content via YouTube EDU is an example of the exponential growth of video-based instructional content online. In 2011, YouTube EDU started with 500,000 educational videos and doubled its viewership by 2012. In addition, academic enrollment in online courses is growing by nearly 3.9 percent annually, with thousands of online courses, saving $130 billion on certification and corporate training annually for organizations.
When you hold training sessions, capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention just by speaking alone may be limiting your employees’ learning experiences. However, when you incorporate a video into a training session, it helps support what the live training is trying to communicate to your employees while enhancing their learning experience. Video combined with a live trainer is better than a live trainer alone for a variety of reasons:
Videos are useful for breaking down important or complex information into digestible content that is shown over time. For example, you can stretch out complex topics regarding union organizing into discussions that are shared and released to employees weekly. This can include releasing a topic on strikes in the first week, on job security in the second week, on collective bargaining in the third week, and additional topics in the weeks that follow — such as union dues and finances, union card signing and how unions organize.
Using video is a modern and helpful method to connect with your staff. Employing videos in your training sessions doesn’t have to be complicated or a solo job. Whether you’re looking for innovative training approaches to provide managers with union avoidance tips or you want to educate employees on union organizing, working with a professional team with experience in producing videos for employees ensures you provide relevant, engaging and memorable content.
Contrary to popular belief, artificial intelligence, or AI, is no longer relegated to science fiction novels and “think pieces” on future innovations. In reality, AI has already arrived and is much more pervasive than most people realize. For HR professionals, the technology is already providing dividends in the areas of recruiting, onboarding, and training procedures by significantly streamlining operations.
As useful as AI is already proving to be, it is already clear that it’s best utilized as an accompaniment to people in the workplace and not a replacement, allowing employees to perform their responsibilities in a much more efficient and effective manner. Despite how the vocal naysayers are reacting, AI’s negative impact on a workforce itself will be negligible, but could instead increase the overall health of many organizations. This is evidenced in the banking industry, where ATMs could have caused job losses but instead streamlined operations and reduced costs, allowing many banks to add staffed locations. This created a positive situation for workers and customers alike
That said, many union leaders are concerned that automation means workers will no longer have the ability to demand higher wages, which will in turn continue the decline in union membership. In the private sector today, just 6.4% of workers belong to a union. Contrast that with 1983, when about 17% of private-sector workers were in a union.
The typical HR professional is being pulled in a thousand different directions at any given moment. In fact, no matter the length of the work day or size of the staff, the work always seems to continue to pile up. This unending accumulation of duties is exactly where AI can positively impact the workplace. Through various platforms, AI automates the bulk of the tedious responsibilities that are important to the organization but a tremendous expenditure of time and effort as well.
In terms of recruiting, an AI-based suite can administer any and all social media efforts, email correspondence and even interview scheduling with an interface that makes it difficult to tell if the communication is coming from a human or machine. Furthermore, all testing and training for onboarding and existing employees can be personalized down to the individual level to adhere to the training method that best fits a particular person. All of this functionality can be synced with current CRM and ERP systems to further streamline the entire process.
Like most technologies, AI will only continue to grow and evolve in the future. As far as impact on overall operations and a workforce are concerned, it will work alongside humans to make them more efficient in their responsibilities. While specific tasks like email correspondence might be automated, it will always be under the watching eye of a human being.
In other words, while on the big screen AI might still enslave humanity in a zombie-like state of perpetual anguish, in reality, it will simply permit us to excel and reach levels we otherwise would never reach. That might not be as dramatic as the Hollywood version, but, at least for HR professionals, AI will undoubtedly be a welcome tool to significantly enhance productivity.
Human resources professionals know that union organizing presents a variety of complex challenges, and many dread their labor relations responsibilities. After all, the process of educating employees on the drawbacks of voting in a union can be taxing, and participating in contract negotiations is nearly always stressful.
However, there’s another way to look at labor relations: as a unique opportunity to develop strong skills in leadership, decision-making, communication, and collaboration through experience that can’t be gained any other way. In fact, some C-suite HR leaders credit their labor relations work as their most important development opportunity, giving them the extra boost in skills they needed to reach the top of their career ladders.
Increased Understanding of Business Strategies
The cost of labor is one of the highest expenses in any organization, and maximizing the use of people to produce the company’s goods and services is a core function of human resources. However, many HR professionals find themselves bogged down in the details of the HR function: managing payroll, performance, and interpersonal conflicts, for example.
For unionized companies, collective bargaining agreements bring focus back to the purpose of HR, as these contracts essentially boil down to an exchange of quality labor for specific compensation and working conditions. Experience with contract negotiations gives HR staff special insight into their larger role, as well as an improved understanding of business strategies that will optimize the company’s success.
When word gets around that there’s interest in unionizing, HR personnel often limit their union avoidance activities to correcting issues that have cropped up with managers’ behavior, application of policies, and similar matters. However, to be truly effective in keeping an organization union-free, smart HR professionals examine all aspects of the business. From basic operations to compensation rates for skilled workers, they look into every available possibility for improving the work environment. This offers an entirely new set of skills to HR staff. Instead of restricting their work to issues directly in their span of control, they learn to develop larger, more integrated solutions that benefit the business as a whole.
Working in HR means you’re regularly dropped in the middle of intense, highly emotional situations. The best HR professionals can handle the stress of these encounters calmly, keeping their own feelings in check while de-escalating tension between others. When labor issues crop up, they tend to be some of the most intense that any HR staff member faces. Greater exposure to labor relations means more practice with this sort of intensity. Before long, you’ll discover that staying composed is second nature for you – an important trait in any executive.
The foundation of any union avoidance strategy is increased communication, and when a union is already present, collaboration is key to maintaining a productive working environment. Working on labor relations issues is an opportunity to become more effective in both communication and collaboration – skills that are very much on display in leaders.
Of course, not every position has exposure to unions and their related concerns, but you can still work toward improving your skills. Participating in high-quality training such as the Union Proof Certification is an excellent first step in taking your career to the next level.