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.
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.
Does effective onboarding increase employee motivation? SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) has gathered information indicating that it does. Their findings? That the result of effective onboarding is that both employee AND employer reap long-term benefits.
According to SHRM, effective onboarding will increase job satisfaction, organizational commitment and performance levels. In addition, it can reduce turnover and new employee stress levels. When you research onboarding, you’ll find that video is one of the most effective approaches available today.
Traditional onboarding often consists of classroom-style lectures accompanied by documentation the new hire must study. Providing video is more memorable and far more effective than a lecture. It’s a way to build trust of company executives and ensure that the message to new employees is consistent. In addition, top-notch onboarding that includes video can reduce in-house training costs, and even reduce turnover in the first 90 days of employment.
You can build a library of onboarding videos and update them as required. When the employee has access to the library, they can revisit information that they need to reinforce.
Another advantage is that you don’t need to overwhelm new hires by providing all the information they need at one time. It’s easy to set up a drip email campaign that spaces out delivery of links to the videos in sequential order, based on the employee’s start date.
Separate the information you want to convey into manageable pieces. For example, one video could be a welcome video from the CEO; another might come from department heads and so forth.
Get employee input for ideas on the topics to cover. Ask existing employees of differing seniority in what ways they got lost when they were new hires. Also, ask them what they know now that they wish they’d known when they first joined the company.
Here are some topics you may want to include in a multi-day orientation program:
The types of videos can cover issues that may seem mundane but are important to new hires. Examples include how to use necessary equipment, IT policies, how to get support if something goes wrong, and a wide variety of other day-to-day challenges.
Operational videos are also useful for reference – they’re the sort of content that the new hire may return to later, when they encounter that particular challenge.
Of course, your onboarding videos should reflect your company culture. Expand on that idea with fun videos that illustrate what it’s like to work at the company. Take a video of one employee, or edit the input from a variety of employees into one video. Your team members can share on a variety of topics, such as what they do, their biggest challenge, their greatest satisfaction, the resources they find most useful, the help they can offer to new employees, and what they like about their job or the company. If you have employees whose career paths have included a series of promotions, arrange for them to provide a testimonial on career opportunities for long-term employees.
If you’re responsible for onboarding new employees, video is a tool you won’t want to ignore. Don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t have a video library right now. Since you’ll be creating specific videos to address specific topics, you can easily build a library over time. The most important thing is just getting started!
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.
We’ve all been there. Business is good, the work is flowing, the team is collaborating and then you hear it: an employee complaint. Maybe they feel the workload isn’t fair. Maybe they’re frustrated with the communication, or feel a lack thereof. Whatever it is, your first instinct may be to put on the boxing gloves and come back on the defensive. However, what if you can turn that complaint into what it likely is: an employee’s desire to make the company truly great? By doing this, you just may begin to see those complaints as opportunities instead.
Let’s clear this up right off the bat: complaints are good, because they mean that employee engagement is good. A complaint is a sign that your employees are so actively engaged in their jobs that they want their company to equal their passions and their contribution. They want to make a suggestion for improvement and see that they have a voice in how they spend those 40 hours every week. If your business doesn’t have a clear and effective avenue for these suggestions, they may just turn into complaints.
To prevent suggestions from turning into complaints, your company needs to have a way for employees to communicate their desires. The first and easiest way is to advertise an open-door policy. Include language in your employee handbook that you welcome feedback as a tool to constantly improve your program for all those involved. Schedule open office hours for employees to express any concerns or share new ideas. Foster positive employee relations by demonstrating that not only are you open to the contributions of your team, but that you will actively try to make changes within your power when they fit with your mission and your company’s needs.
Of course, no amount of open doors and feedback-based policies will prevent the occasional complaint from squeezing between the cracks. When this happens, don’t be disheartened. Nobody is perfect, and every company can find room for improvement. To handle complaints constructively, start the conversation by giving your employee the power to find a solution. For example, if your employee is complaining about a lack of opportunity for professional growth, ask them what areas they would like to develop and what suggestions they have for fostering these skills. If they complain about a long commute, have them propose a plan that outlines how they can get the job done from home occasionally — and be willing to give it a trial. If an employee has a suggestion to make, don’t feel it is all on your shoulders to make those changes. Rely on the strength of your team and the skills of your employees — you hired them for a reason, of course — to come up with constructive solutions as well.
Whether your employees have been with the company for decades or — perhaps even more importantly — are millennials just out of college, having an open and transparent organizational culture will ensure that all workers don’t just feel heard, but are heard. In order to minimize employee unrest and complaints, you need to make a clear and obvious effort to communicate openly in an effective way about employee concerns — not just what they are, but how your company is going to address them. Show that you are willing to put yourself out there and make a mistake in order to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. In this way, your employees can work with more passion and more trust in the company they support.
Most important of all is for the company to communicate that employees are being heard. Whether that takes the form of live meetings, regular video messages, or even an online resource, regular communication fosters understanding. This is particularly true when feedback from employees involves something systemic that may take some time to address. Creating custom training resources to address employee concerns can go a long way toward addressing the opportunities employees present to you. By fostering an environment of feedback, action and communication, you can create a culture that rewards growth and provides job security for every team member.