The key to business growth is cultivating a thoroughly engaged workforce. A workforce like that, full of people who are willing to go the extra mile, is what makes companies great.
That’s hard to achieve, which is what drives companies to spend billions of dollars annually on corporate training, on-boarding, team building, and employee development. The average training budget for a mid-size company is $3.7 million and expanding every year.
Yet, even after spending all that money, a Gallup poll shows that workers are less engaged than ever. Clearly, corporate training could stand to be better.
One channel that’s under-utilized and which shows great potential for solving all this is video.
Video for Internal Marketing & Training
Video can help managers and leaders build a workforce full of people who are more engaged in their work. You’re about to learn how to begin your own internal video marketing campaign so you too can enjoy the benefits of working with a passionate, dedicated staff under your wing.
Before you wheel out the video equipment, however, it’s important to do a little preparation up in the C-Suite. You’ll need to involve leadership during the initial steps, so book yourself a slot of time with the other top decision-makers in your company and be prepared to do some deep thinking about the core values of your company, because…
It All Starts With a (Brand) Story
Does your company have a brand story, and do your employees know about it? If not, it’s going to be extra difficult to rally your teams for the kinds of activities that make companies highly successful: maximum productivity and continuous innovation.
Building an engaged workforce is a process that occurs over time, but it begins with a clearly-defined company vision.
When your company revolves around a vision that drives everyone forward together in a positive manner, you have the beginnings of a brand story. A good brand story can drive everyone to make the company greater in his or her own unique way, in the things they do every day at work.
Think Apple or Zappos, both of which have strong visions and a clear brand story. Their employees are known to be wonderfully vested in their work and are therefore dedicated to promoting the brands they work for.
Then, Aim for Company-Wide Alignment
Obviously, your company vision statement must resonate with your employees. Whether it’s improving people’s lives by providing great products or it’s helping an under-served segment of the population get access to resources, there’s a vision for every company and a brand story for every vision that staff can wrap their heads around.
You’ll need company-wide alignment around your company vision. That’s called ‘achieving buy-in’. Once you have buy-in, you can work on ways to more fully engage your teams in promoting that vision.
And that’s where video comes in. Video can help leaders communicate the company vision in ways that make sense to every employee. Video can also help improve buy-in rates with staff on the very same company vision. Video brings your vision alive and makes it accessible to everyone.
Here’s a summary of what you need to achieve:
- Buy-in for that vision
- Engagement to bring that vision to life through the everyday tasks that employees perform
Both steps two and three can be facilitated with the use of video, and that’s what we’re going to focus on from here on out.
Reaching everyone is tough, no matter who your target audience may be. Just ask any marketer and they’ll be the first to tell you that every they can’t even agree on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to content marketing. And they’re all in the same field with similar goals and similar tools at their disposal.
Now imagine reaching for company-wide alignment over a vision: different types of employees, various departments with their own sub-goals, different job tasks: how in the world do you make Story Vesting take root?
Furthermore, a company is a diverse place—not only with demographics but also with all the different types of personalities found in any company. You could have a room full of first cousins and still have tons of diversity, because the way each person communicates is different and that has very little to do with skin color, age, or educational level.
And it’s that diversity which makes corporate training so darned difficult to get right.
To truly reach everyone with your message, you’ll have to not only be creative and engaging, but also deliver that message in ways it can be digested by everyone, no matter what communication style he or she prefers.
Reach More Minds with Video
Video is good for that—and video with a written transcript is even better. You’ll reach more minds and touch more hearts with one minute of video than you will with a year’s supply of emailed memos or talking head speeches at meetings and company-wide functions.
Besides, most people find it incredibly easy to relate to video. It’s safe to say that your in-house audience will love your video far more than they will love your company memo.
8 Principles for Using Video to Improve Employee Engagement
So, are you ready to take a stab at making a corporate video to promote employee engagement at your company? Here are eight basic principles to guide you in getting it right the first time around.
1. Take the ‘Internal Marketing’ Approach
First, it’s important to adopt the proper mindset. Treat your corporate in-house video program like it’s a marketing campaign. Consider your audience carefully and then . Perform the full cycle of steps you’d apply to any consumer marketing campaign:
- organize your campaign
- optimize each component
- measure performance
- then tweak for better results next time
2. Make Sure All Employees Have a Role
Since buy-in is not a goal that should be confined to your marketing department or your customers, it’s important to think about ways to get all your employees on board. Every last one of them, down to that temp in the mail room or that guy who’s replacing Jane who’s on maternity leave. They are all part of your video’s target audience.
It’s essential to understand that every employee is capable of furthering the company vision in his or her own way. Don’t forget this key point. You want them to sell from the soul? Then find a way to instill the company vision into their souls.
If you do, I promise, you will begin to see tiny demonstrations all around the workplace of that company vision in action through the more subtle displays of behaviors and attitudes everywhere.
3. Look at Individual and Department Goals to Get Buy-In
This works much like when you’re seeking buy-in from your customers. Consider their needs: what do they want at work? How can your video help them with their goals, while still getting your message across? This will take some serious insight, but with a few surveys, interviews, or just walking the halls and striking up casual conversations with your employees, you can come up with a general sense of the feelings out there.
It’s all part of becoming employee-centric, which is actually quite necessary for becoming a truly customer-driven organization.
4. Make Use of Employee Influencers and Resistors
It really helps to know who your employee influencers are, because if you enlist them to star in your videos, you increase the likelihood of buy-in.
On the flip side, it pays to know who belongs to the “resistance”, meaning those employees who are disgruntled and unfulfilled. Getting to know their gripes and needs might help you to help them solve their problems at work.
Then, if you can get them on board: woa, that’s a powerful message to everyone. When the harshest critic turns into your brand ambassador, that’s a powerful message.
5. Whoa, Nellie, You Can Put that Bullhorn Away
So far, you’ve learned who your audience really is, and you’ve perhaps chosen your star players for the video(s). As you’re nearing readiness to begin creating the video, keep in mind that your own attitude can make or break the whole production. There are two sides to this.
First, don’t let the phrase video production scare you into thinking you can’t do this.
You’re probably not going to be the next Steven Spielberg, but if you pay attention to this and the other seven concepts outlined here, there’s no reason to think you’re going to fail.
The first step is to set your sights higher than total disaster.
It’s important to approach your new video campaign from a can-do mindset. All it takes is a basic familiarity with these ground rules, a healthy dose of what not to do, and a very loose grip on the reigns.
Loose grip on the reigns: here’s what the means. Have confidence in yourself, but at the same time don’t get carried away with the role of director. It’s better to forget the word director and imagine yourself as a facilitator instead.
6. Video, the Last Stand Against Apathy
So, you’re not Oliver Stone. You are a facilitator. You’ve already rounded up a few influencer employee “stars”. Next, recruit some ambitious young Millennials to write the script and direct. Yup, it’s taking a cue from classic education theory and curriculum design:
Get the players to do the work, thereby engaging them to the fullest extent.
It’s a sure hedge against apathy when you get staff on board to share responsibility for the outcome of your video. Choose a director and step back to let the magic happen.
7. Make it Employee-Focused
Now, some advice for the video content. Definitely feature real-life employees, no matter what message you’re trying to convey.
Some companies have it easy: they produce absurdly popular items that everyone in the world aspires to own (think Rolex, Mercedes-Benz (Daimler), or other iconic status-delivering brands).
Unless leaders at those companies are failing in some horrible way, thereby managing to undermine the immense pride that comes from simply getting a job at such companies, it’s a safe bet to say there’s a lot of employee engagement going on. Buy-in with the company vision, at least at some level, is practically automatic when you work for Rolex, Harvard, or Google.
That’s why in their videos, you’ll often see shots of fantastically proud employees happy at work, promoting the company line. And it’s totally believable, too. It’s easy, in other words, for them to create in-house videos featuring real-life employees who love their jobs.
But you can do the same. In company training videos, your employees don’t want to see a talking head from HR droning on about compliance issues. They want to see their co-workers actively engaged in showing them the news. Make it real and put the spotlight on your engaged employees.
So, when you’ve devoted yourself to promoting the company vision, even the tools and methods you use should be inspiring. That’s why the emailed company memo is the death-knell of inspiration, the buzz kill of engagement. With those outdated and over-used techniques for disseminating company information, there’s no pull to engage. There’s only a push to read them.
With video, you introduce the possibility of “pulling” or enticing your audience to engage. One of the best ways to do this is through gamification.
Gamification is true marketing genius. By introducing elements of games into content that might otherwise be unpalatable, you’re capturing the interest and “pulling” your audience in by creating a desire in them to engage.
Find a way to offer badges or reward points to staff through your videos and your engagement level is surely to go through the roof. Take a look:
Inffographic courtesty of Association for Talent Development
Spending on corporate training is at an all time high, but results haven’t exactly been stellar. Video can help improve the ROI in your training dollars, but it has to be done right.
Hopefully by now you understand the importance of having a solid company vision statement and a brand story to anchor your video campaign. That will make it easier to capitalize on the universal appeal of video.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll find yourself making internal videos for training, compliance, mission buy-in, team building, product launch, CEO/C-suite connections with employees, explaining the company vision, executive mandates, and anything else you need to get across to staff. Enjoy!
Shariq Toor is Content Strategist working with NoStop Blogging Services, a boutique writing agency focusing on helping small business clients take their websites to the next level. From social media topics to articles on niche industry issues, NoStop’s articles are written with style, attention to detail, and with the client’s audience in mind.