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Moving Pictures: How Employee Communications Videos Have Transformed the Workplace

Joe Ailinger

Joe Ailinger

digital video communicationsEmployee communications videos have quickly changed how human resources departments manage company-wide communications. How did this happen?

For true trivia fans, perhaps one of the least challenging questions they’ll get is what’s the name of the first music video shown on MTV? The famously apropo ‘Video Killed the Radio Star,’ by The Buggles, ushered in an era where sights had to accompany sound for aspiring artists to be successful. In the 1980s, you pretty much couldn’t sell a song unless it had an accompanying video in MTV’s rotation. It wasn’t that music took a backseat to videos, or that carefully crafted melody and rhythm were any less important to songwriting. But videos became a powerful, new tool that allowed singers and bands to express themselves and reach millions of fans in a totally different way.

From MTV to the Corner Office

Fast-forward a couple decades to the advent of easy, affordable video production and the technology available on today’s desktops and mobile devices, and you could say much the same thing about employee communications videos and their impact on corporate communications. Crafting a focused, well-­written message obviously remains important in the workplace. But video gives corporate communicators a dynamic means to connect with employees, clients and other stakeholders that mere text can’t always match. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then moving pictures—video—are worth millions.

HR planning notebookWhen done right, videos—even employee communication videos—can convey a lot more than information. They can convey emotion. They can convey a higher sense of purpose. They can convey excitement and passion, which are critical to organizations looking to foster a sense of trust and loyalty among workers. Videos can serve specialized purposes, too. HR communications videos, for example, can convey an enormous amount of complex information used for training programs, employee engagement, or benefits enrollment. I’ve worked on videos that in 12 minutes did more to help employees grasp the big picture ­­ the breadth and scope of a company’s capabilities ­than 25 years of emails, presentations and annual reports had ever done. I’ve seen videos help senior leaders make real connections with workers on the other side of the planet who they may never meet, simply because employees were able to see their face, watch their body language, and hear their voice for the first time. These dynamic features inherent in employee communications videos can carry a lot more weight than you’ll find in an email watermarked with the CEO’s signature.

Employee Communications Videos Validation

A recent report on the effectiveness of emails containing video showed a 76% engagement rate. That’s a well above­ average metric at many firms where the deluge of email traffic leads to employees ignoring or deleting corporate messages without ever reading them. Even more impressive, the report found a 139% video­ viewing rate and 147% response rate on the more than 875,000 emails analyzed in the survey. This means employees watched more than one video and took action using more than one link embedded in the email. Clearly, the use of employee communication videos gets workers’ attention and, more importantly, prompts them to take action and seek more information (via intranet, micro­sites, etc.) on the topic being addressed. And that’s the whole point of corporate communications, right? It’s not about management shoveling out as much information as possible. It’s about making sure employees actually listen to your message. That they’re receptive to your messaging. That they want to understand what you’re telling them and to learn more. Corporate communications is never a one­-way street. Creative and compelling use of video can help ensure the traffic flow at your enterprise runs smoothly in both directions.

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