Business

Crafting an HR Video Employees Will Actually Watch

Emma Gallimore 02.06.2018

Internal communication is a challenge for any company. You have essential information that your employees need, but a one-on-one conversation with every employee is logistically impossible. The larger your company, the more complex the challenge.

Sure you could send an email, or post a memo on a bulletin board, or even ask managers across your company to read a prepared statement. Then you could hope that people will pay attention.

Or you could create a single, engaging video that employees will actually want to watch.

Video is the new standard for internal communications. According to a Mulcrum Study, 93% of Internal Communication professionals believe that video is essential. And it looks like employees agree.

The amount of time employees spend watching work-related videos is rising. According to a 2016 Enterprise Video Survey by Kaltura, 63% of people spent more time watching work-related videos in 2015 than they did in 2014.

It makes intuitive sense. Video is engaging. Given the choice between a six-page memo on equal opportunity policies or a 60-second video narrated by an engaging character, which would you choose?

Spoiler alert: Most people choose video.

About 65% of the population are visual learners according to the Social Science Research Network. That means they’ll respond better to visuals, like animation, than they do to plain text.

Your employees are no different. If you want them to understand and remember something, don’t just write it down, show it to them as a video.

Uses for Internal Videos

HR videos can help you meet many of your communication goals, whether you want to boost adoption of a new technology, help employees see a path to career development, or just need to share policies and procedures, HR videos are a painless solution.

Evangelization

Imagine you’ve spent a ton of money and resources on new technology to help track environmental health and safety incidents. You know the software is perfect for your company, but your employees might not be so sure.

That’s exactly the the challenge Tenneco faced when they introduced their new EHS system. The solution was a 2D animated internal video that would explain to employees exactly why the new software was so important.

And it worked. Employees embraced the new system.

But why did it work? Because it captured employee imaginations. Instead of a dry list of features they were presented with a character-based narrative that entertained while it informed.

Employee Development and Training

Encouraging employee growth is good for your employees and great for your company. Employees who feel like they have a path to growth are more engaged and more likely to stay for the long haul.

Video is also the perfect vehicle for rolling out an employee development program. William Gadea, creative director at IdeaRocket, explains why:

“Obviously a big part of employee satisfaction and engagement is believing that their workplace is a place where they can grow. Videos can engage the employees’ narrative about their life and connect it with the company story so that the two narratives are interlinked.”

Video is also less expensive and more accessible than in-person training. Employees can replay the training video anywhere, anytime. You can play it every time you onboard someone. And they can see video nearly anywhere:  on the conference room screen, at their desk, or on their mobile phone.

An HR video can make a clear statement about your policies surrounding equal opportunity, anti-harassment, whistle-blowing,  and more. Educating your employees on your policies not only reduces your liability and keeps you in compliance with the law, it also strengthens the company culture. Employees know exactly where the company stands on important issues.

Video turns what would otherwise be a dry document buried in your employee handbook into an opportunity to build engagement and employee buy-in.

This video we crated for Imperial Oil is a perfect example. It shows employees why periodic safety training is essential.

Creating your HR Video

Gadea says there are three major points to consider before you start crafting your HR video: objective, voice, and distribution.

Know your objective

Before you come up with clever characters or write one word of the script, you need to get crystal clear on what your goal is for the video. Or to put it another way, what is the effect you want your video to have? How do you want minds to change? How do you want behavior to change?

Take our Tenneco video as an example. They wanted to introduce employees to the software, yes. But they also wanted to go further by getting employees to embrace and use it.

Your immediate objective is just one piece of the puzzle. Think about how this video fits into your overall internal communication strategy and the mission of your company, so you can contextualize your objective properly.

Pay attention to voice

We all know that brand voice is important when it comes to marketing communications. But the voice of your internal communications is equally important. It might be the same as the voice you use to speak to your customers. Then again it might not.

You need a voice that promotes the kind of culture you want to create in your company. Is your company fun? Authoritative? Warm? Friendly?

Too often companies default to formal “corporate speak” that bores employees and makes them feel disconnected from the message. Fortunately, great animation can go a long way toward warming up your tone.

Electronic Arts is a company that is built around creativity and playfulness. It would be a sin to create a career development video that lacked these qualities. Here’s how we stepped up to the challenge:

Employees aren’t just seeing and hearing your message, they’re also becoming ambassadors for your brand. By talking to them in a tone that aligns with your brand strategy, you’re giving them the tools to go out into the world and talk about your company in the same tone.

Plan for Distribution

Distributing your video might be the last thing on your mind when you haven’t even seen a storyboard yet, but planning for distribution early can make your video more effective. A video that’s going to be used primarily at meetings might require  a different run time, and maybe even a different tone, than a video that will be sent out via email.

Also keep in mind that your employees are used to watching video on their phones. Views from mobile devices increased from 5.85 percent to 28.82 percent between 2015 and 2016 according to IBM. Those numbers will likely continue rising. So if you want to make an HR video your employees will actually watch, make it mobile friendly.

Get Creative

Your topic might be dry, but that doesn’t mean your HR video has to be. People engage with stories. They identify with strong characters. And they remember complex concepts that are presented visually. Don’t be afraid to inject a little humor and creativity into your internal videos. Your employees will thank you.

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