Roll Camera… and Action! Video as an Internal Communication Tool
Dusty chalkboards, wrinkled flip charts, illegible handwriting, old 35mm slide projectors and monotonous Powerpoint presentations – all these have one thing in common: the inescapable tedium associated with the obligatory company presentation.
Most companies are very adept at using video for marketing and advertising purposes, but more and more companies are turning to look inward toward video as a way to enhance their internal communications, and just in the nick of time.
Gone, or should be gone, are the days of a business manager reading slides out loud while you struggle to stay awake under the daze- inducing flickering fluorescent lights. Many years ago a communications professor of mine had become somewhat notorious for frequently stating, “The mind absorbs as much as your butt can tolerate.” In his not so subtle way he was expressing the idea that to gain and keep an audience’s attention you must keep them engaged before they start to notice how uncomfortable they are in that hard office chair.
WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY
The digital age is exploding all around us and video has become a key, dynamic and relatable vehicle for all internal corporate communications.
Let us look all the way back to the oft quoted information processing theory from Treichler ( 1967): “people generally remember 10% of what they read, 20% percent of what they hear, 30% of what they see and 50% of what they hear and see at a time.” When we introduce video into this equation, we can assume that the impact that is produced through viewing a video to gain information is many times higher than the mostly singular methods of older forms of corporate communications. Videos may contain text, narration, interviews, visual stimuli, topical images with sound and music that make the experience much more immersive and memorable and well, fun and enjoyable. This is not your grandfather’s tri- fold company brochure.
With a well- produced video you can share your business practices internally in a concise and personal manner. Video, in contrast to the traditional methods of corporate communications, allows the company to craft their message precisely and deliver it seamlessly through their intranet or website, email links, work stations or through large audience presentations. Video has become ubiquitous, from our smartphones to digital billboards. We have become conditioned to absorb large volumes of information through this medium. Youtube boasts that hundreds of millions of hours of video are watched daily on their site alone. Video has become the most popular and influential form of communication in our society and harnessing its power for the success of your company only makes sense.
Let us explore the many flavors of internal communications through video.
TRAINING AND NEW HIRE VIDEOS
New hires and existing employees can benefit greatly from the ability to view the materials in their own time and in a variety of environments. Recent studies have shown that the comprehension and retention rates through the viewing of video is 50% greater than from live presentations or written materials. These videos can be used to cross- train employees, provide continuing education and welcome new employees to the company’s policies.
Gone, or should be gone, are the days of a business manager reading slides out loud while you struggle to stay awake under the daze- inducing flickering fluorescent lights.
INTERNAL BRANDING CAMPAIGNS
Get the message out by getting the message in. Building and understanding a company’s mission, goals and brand is tantamount in creating the framework for a successful team. An internal branding video is an effective way to express the company’s values to ensure that the employees are all on the same page in regard to the company’s mission and atmosphere. Well- crafted internal communication keeps employees engaged and focused on the operation of the company.
Through short video interviews company changes can be carefully articulated in a very personal way to communicate a shift in a company’s structure or philosophy. This can allow transparency and a better understanding without creating confusion for the employees. Video can be used to explain what changes are being made and as importantly, why they are being implemented. This personal touch can help assuage any fears or uncertainty that change can bring about.
CEO AND LEADERSHIP MESSAGING
A personal message from the CEO or leadership team enhances corporate loyalty and allows upper management to stay connected with the entire company. It also gives an ‘ open door’ feel to the company setting by allowing employees to feel more connected to the corporate management team and its goals. This has a significant impact on employee performance and satisfaction.
AWARD PROGRAMS AND ANNUAL MEETING VIDEOS
Videos can also be used to congratulate individuals or teams that have excelled throughout the year, mark anniversaries, share accomplishments and establish annual objectives and goals. These video presentations can boost morale and provide a greater sense of teamwork throughout the company. This can be an entertaining way to promote the company to the employees themselves and also affords an opportunity for an enjoyable company- wide gathering. Internal corpo- rate communication doesn’t always have to be boring. Sometimes patting yourself on the back is a good thing.
Another fun and effective way to use video is as a tool to accelerate and enhance cooperation between employees while fostering an environment of teamwork. This can include taking video of company activities that encourage employee participation or by setting up goals or challenges that attract the employees’ attention. Video used in this manner can also be a strategy to introduce company departments to one another or allow multiple or remote work sites to feel more closely related within the corporate structure.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Many work environments are subject to very serious safety standards and healthrelated measures. By using video to communicate best practices and guidelines a company can track, monitor and document employees’ participation without the need of assigned staff to manage this procedure. Due to the flexibility in the viewing of a video or video series valuable resources are saved compared to company- wide seminars to communicate these objectives.
Another way to generate employee engagement is to stay on top of progress reports and updates through electroni- cally delivered video messages or broadcasts. Several companies that I am aware of even have their own broadcast style intranet.
They make daily announcements and updates through a news anchor desk to report on the day’s activities. The employees at their workstations then view these video “reports” at a time that is convenient for them. This is a very novel use of video to keep employees up to date on goals and objectives, while also allowing for the ability to communicate a great deal of information in a very brief format.
Using video in your internal corporate communications is an incredibly personal and rapid method of delivering key messages, promoting teamwork, providing vital education and defining the company’s culture.
Video can do many positive things for your business and using it effectively can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to making your company and employees successful.
So don’t keep cranking out those old materials year after year just because it’s what has always been done. Try something new and creative and, I promise you, your audience will appreciate it, and they might even bring the popcorn.
Drew Rowland is the owner and operator of Fusion Pictures. He can be contacted at drew@ fusionpicturesbkk. com.