Archive for the ‘HR’ Category



HR Videos: what you need to make them better

HR Videos: what you need to make them betterLet’s start by being honest with ourselves. There are countless examples of terrible corporate videos. Irrelevant About Us videos, boring product videos, uninteresting testimonials… but the crown jewel of them all are HR videos.

Whether it’s the company culture video or a department training video, there might not be a better way to put people to sleep.

Another moment of honesty? In many cases, it’s nobody’s fault. Well, it might be legal’s fault. I’m fine with blaming them.

But in all seriousness, there are contributing factors that lead to boring HR videos that are beyond your control. Maybe the biggest factor is asking highly trained human resources professionals to do something they don’t have any background in… producing a video.

We can change that. I’m going to help you make better HR videos.

A little bit of knowledge goes a long way!

You’re not in human resources anymore

Let’s start with something that could be cringeworthy for some of you, but once you accept it will make the process much easier.

When you accept the responsibility of helping produce an HR video, you are no longer in HR. You’re now in marketing.

Your job is to deliver information about HR issues, but if you want to deliver it well… in a way that people will pay attention to and dare I say enjoy… you have to take off you HR hat and put on your marketing hat.

I know, it’s not what many of you want to hear, but thinking like a marketer in this case is going to help you make a better video.

Again, your job isn’t just about delivering the information. You want to deliver a message that’s going to be received, understood, but more importantly… you want buy-in.

In short, you need to market your ideas and policies to team members.

Need some help getting into this mindset? Go make friends with the people in your marketing department! Doing so can benefit you beyond making better videos.

One of our customers is Prophet, a global growth agency, and they have written about why a teaming of HR and marketing makes sense.

“Career change” will benefit your HR Videos

Marketers (at least the good ones!) understand that video isn’t about facts and figures. It’s not about information. Video is about emotion. It’s a medium that allows you to tap people’s emotions.

Now, you might be thinking… I don’t need to connect with my audience on an emotional level, I just need to communicate what our policies and programs are.

You’re right. That is what you need to do.

However, if you want people to take notice of those policies and programs and remember them, then you do need to connect with people emotionally.

As humans, we are widely guided by our emotions. They influence what we buy, and in this case they impact what we buy into.

Is it starting to make sense?

I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats!

Keep in mind, you don’t need to tap big emotions. It’s great if you can create videos that make people laugh or cry… yes, as a video producer I work in one of the rare fields where we relish making people cry! But you don’t need to do that to make an emotional connection.

Your goal should simply be leaving people with a specific feeling.

In the vast majority of corporate videos we produce, we just want the audience to feel good about the company. We want them to feel confident in the company.

You can achieve both of those emotions with your HR videos.

Another good one for HR might be understanding. You want people to understand why the company has a certain policy. You want people to “get it.”

What’s awesome is once you produce a quality video, all that information you’re trying to get to people will sink-in and they’ll retain it. And the more quality videos you produce, the more people will attach those emotions to your information. It snowballs from video to video.

OK, let’s produce an HR video

Now that you’re an honorary member of the marketing department, let’s talk about the videos themselves.

We’ll cover a few types of typical HR videos, but really you can apply the lessons learned later to just about any type of video.

About Us Video

The About Us video is the one video I say every business/organization needs. It’s the video that tells people who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

And good news… you might not even need to produce it! Marketing might have done it for you because it’s a terrific marketing asset.

If they haven’t, start talking with them about producing one.

Look at you working between silos!

Regardless of whether you or marketing produces it, this video has multiple uses for HR. Need a recruiting video? Check! Need an introduction video for new hires? Check!

Company Culture Video

The company culture video is sort of the cousin to the About Us video. It’ll probably have a similar look and feel, but might be a bit more focused on the who you are as opposed to the what you do.

Recruiting? New hires? Again, these audiences are ideal for this type of video.

It provides you with an opportunity to show people what makes your organization special. Whether it’s a certain leadership style or company perks, you can use video to highlight aspects of the business that make it unique.

This is a great opportunity to take people behind of the scenes of what it’s really like to work there.

Company Program Videos

Whether you’re launching a new company program, or highlighting existing ones, you can use video to spread the word.

It goes from being an easily missed (or ignored) email, to something that will grab people’s attention.

Training or instructional videos

Ugg… the dreaded training video. We’ve all seen how awful they can be, but even a training video can draw people in.

I’ll admit, you’ll really have to stretch your creating thinking here. It can be done though.

My favorite examples come from the airlines. They have gotten increasingly creative in the videos they show passengers to teach them in-flight safety procedures.

In many cases, they use big budget productions to facilitate their creativity, but you can be creative on a modest budget as well.

Highlight team members

I LOVE THESE VIDEOS! Do you have an employee of the month, quarter, or year? Don’t just highlight them in the company newsletter, produce a video about them.

But don’t stop there… I highly recommend finding ways to produce stories about your team members on a regular basis. One of our customers features employees who demonstrate the company’s core values.

And while you can certainly do it to highlight professional achievements, don’t shy away from producing stories about who they are away from work.

The more your employees learn about one another on a human level, the better they will function as a team.

By the way… this can be another joint effort between marketing and HR. Employee profiles are useful for both departments.

Before you begin

Now, as you start your video project, let’s really start thinking like marketers.

We’ll start with some pre-production questions.

  • What are you trying to communicate? Simple.
  • How are you going to communicate it? Video… see this is easy!
  • Where are you going to post the videos? Intranet, email, digital newsletter, social media?
  • What’s your goal and how are you going to measure it? You can certainly count the number of views and time spent viewing the video, but be more tactical about it. Try to attach an action to having watched the video. For example, tracking many people signed-up to take part in a new program after having watched the video.

I haven’t scared you off, right? These are simple but important questions to ask before you start producing any video project.

The most important question

There is one thing I didn’t list there and it’s because it requires extra attention. Dare I say it’s the most important question to ask.

Who is your audience?

It seems obvious, especially from an HR perspective, but you’d be surprised how many people glance past the answer to the question or over-simplify it.

When it comes to HR, the answer is usually employees, or team members, or whatever way you like to refer to the people who work at the company/organization.

And in some cases that’s good enough because the video is meant for everyone at the organization. However, depending on the size of your company, you might have specific videos for people with specific roles, or maybe it’s intended for managers only.

It’s very important to get as specific as you can about your target viewers, and I’ll explain why.

It’s not about you

At the end of the day, you need to realize the video you’re producing isn’t for you. It’s not for managers. It’s not for the company, per se.

The video is for your audience. Every decision you make regarding the video, from the content to the look and feel, needs to take into account your audience.

Ask yourself…

  • What to do they really need/want to know?
  • How would they like to receive the information?
  • Are they loose? Buttoned-up?

And brace yourself, the answers to some of those questions might not align with your wants and desires. You might have to set your ego aside… or worse… have to tell someone higher up they need to set their ego aside.

When in doubt, do this

Being a temporary marketer is starting to get a bit more daunting. I get it.

Well… when answering those questions gets difficult, here’s a universal guidepost to follow.

Be authentic.

I don’t care whether it’s an outward facing marketing video or an internal company video… my advice is the same… be authentic… be genuine.

If you’re excited about something, be excited, and don’t be shy about spreading that enthusiasm.

On the flip side, if you’re trying to communicate something you know isn’t going to be popular, don’t be a phony.

Don’t try to sugarcoat it and fool people. Treat your audience with respect and treat them like adults.

The more you do that, the more respect your videos (and policies) will receive. When your audience knows you respect them, they’ll continue to watch video after video.

It all sounds great, but…

I hope all of this sounds good to you. I hope you’re thinking to yourself, yeah, I want all of those videos for our department! And I want them all to be authentic and respectful!

But you might also be thinking… how are we going to pay for it? Or… there’s no way we have a budget for any of it, so how can we DIY it?

Let’s make a deal

Let’s start with the best case scenario and go from there. If you have a budget for video, use it. Hire a professional to produce them for you. Let them guide you through the creative process.

Need help with that? Check out our Milwaukee Video Production Buyers Guide. It has great tips that apply to any city you live in.

Stick with me

I’ll give you one quick suggestion from the guide. Share you budget with the production company.

I know, everybody wants the best deal possible. It seems counter-intuitive to share your budget.

The problem with video production is you’re not dealing with an apples to apples comparison when shopping for a video company. They’ll each provide you with a video at the end, but you’re not buying a widget. It’s more like buying a piece of art.

Each video company has a different style, different capabilities, different thoughts on video production cost.

So instead of looking for a deal, look for value.

Contact a few companies that interest you, share your budget with each of them, and see what they can do for you at that budget.

DIY HR Videos

Now, the other less desirable option. You can DIY these videos.

It’s not the best option because you’re an HR professional, not a video production expert.

So… the first thing you need to do is manage expectations and cut yourself some slack. Nobody should expect your video to be perfect. Heck, your organization should simply be happy you’re making the effort.

The next thing you need are some basic DIY skills. Again, we can help with that. We like helping. Check out our DIY video guide.

That’s a wrap

I hope this helped you on your journey to better HR videos. You can do it! Internal company videos don’t have to be lame. They don’t have to be boring.

If you think like a marketer and treat your audience with respect, you’re well on your way.

—Tony Gnau

Best Internal Communications Video Idea… Ever

Best Internal Communications Video Idea... EverAttention all human resources professionals or others in charge of communicating with team members. I have an internal communications video idea for you. An idea that will have everyone in your organization buzzing.

What I propose is to start featuring employees… at random. Not the employee of the month, not someone working on the latest company product or initiative. No, I’m talking about selecting people at random, and I’ll layout my case for why this is an awesome idea.

Some background

I’ve blogged in the past about my TV news mentor, CBS feature reporter Steve Hartman. He’s just flat-out one of the best in the biz. Back when I was a cub reporter at my first real TV job in Kearney, NE, I called Steve out of the blue one day while he was working at KCBS-TV. As a USC student, I watched his stories and loved them. As a new working professional, I wanted to know how he got into features. Not only did he take my call, he spoke with me on the phone for more than 30-minutes. For the eight years that followed, I sent him tapes of my stories and he critiqued them… even after he moved on to work for the network.

I eventually landed a job in Cincinnati working at WLWT-TV. I was developing a feature segment for myself, so I called Steve to brainstorm. I wanted to do something like what he was doing at the time for CBS. His segment was called, “Everybody Has a Story.” The concept was simple. Throw a dart at the map and go there. Open the local phone book, start flipping pages and blindly throw a finger in to select someone to feature in a story. All of it done on-camera for the audience to see.

Had I been at a CBS affiliate we could have just followed suit, but WLWT is an NBC affiliate so we came up with a similar idea. I wrote down all of the city’s neighborhoods and suburbs on slips of paper and put them in a hat. We would select the place from the hat, go there, stop into a local business, then we’d ask people if they knew someone we should feature.

As a feature reporter, it was more fun than you could imagine. The photographer and I never knew what we would end-up with, and frankly, neither did the people who selected our subjects. I can’t tell you how many times someone would suggest a person for one reason, yet the story we told about them would end-up being something different.

What I learned along the way

It was a total blast and it taught me something. Something Steve already knew, which is why he encouraged me to do the series. Everyone really does have a story. Many times it takes a great storyteller to uncover it, but that’s part of the fun.

Steve’s stories were amazing. I recommend watching some of his best, which still live online. I like to think my stories were a success as well; I won an Emmy Award for the series.

Your internal communications video series

Which all leads me back to my idea for you. Businesses can do this type of series as well. Here’s how you do it:

  1. hire a professional storyteller. Okay, a bit self-serving, but if you really want to do this right you should hire someone who knows how to draw-out people’s stories. Storytelling is a skill honed over years, so it’s worthwhile finding an expert.
  2. use your company directory to randomly select the people you feature. A side note, I love the idea of asking the current person being featured to select the next person. Bring the company directory on the shoot and have them make the random selection.
  3. don’t go for the obvious story. It would be easy to pick out a story related to their job. That’s fine, but also ask them questions about their life outside of work. You’re bound to uncover some amazing stories.
  4. whatever their story is, look for a way to make it relateable. If they have an amazing collection, that’s only the start of the story. It’s that everyone has passion, or obsession, or something his or her spouse can’t understand. Look for universal truths the audience can relate to.
  5. this is an awesome internal communications idea, but don’t be afraid to let marketing have it. A series like this is a great way to help customers get to know your company.

Bold plan, good reason to do it

So… the big question… why? Why should you do this? The answer is it’s an incredible way to transform your company. People go about their jobs not knowing how much they have in common with one another. When they start to learn about their fellow team members, they develop a bond. They care more about each other. All of that comes back to the company. It fosters a positive culture.

Do this series right and you’ll have people looking forward to each and every video you send.

–Tony Gnau

How-To Use HR Videos To Inspire Team Members

Marketing videos are so popular these days, but many tend to forget a traditional video that benefits from a modern storytelling touch. HR videos, when done right, are a great way to engage your team and pump them up.

Your human resources team can use a recruiting to get prospects excited about working for your company, an orientation video to acclimate them to your culture, and a training video to make sure they know the way you do things. You can do it all using good storytelling techniques to keep people interested.

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Recruiting videos

You might think that during times of high unemployment you don’t need a recruiting video.  Here’s an important thing to keep in mind:  Do you want candidates who are inspired by your company and its mission, or those who are simply desperate for a job?

A rhetorical question? Yes, but many business leaders really don’t put extra effort in promoting their company to potential team members. They might write a great job description and post it on some employment boards, but that isn’t exactly awe-inspiring.

A recruiting video on the other hand… that’s something that can really set a business apart. Take candidates behind the scenes of your company. Let them hear from team members. Have the CEO talk to them. This is an opportunity to encourage the best job seekers to apply to your company.

Orientation videos

Okay, maybe you’ve already nabbed the top candidates you were looking for and they’re in the fold. Now you just need to assimilate them into your company culture. Instead of having them read about it or letting it trickle down from other team members, an orientation video can set them out on the right foot.

This is your opportunity to let new employees know what you expect of them, and frankly, what they can expect from you. This is an opportunity for your human resources team to shine. Make sure new team members are clear on the dress code, where they can eat lunch, and how they finish their work day.

However, don’t be satisfied with that. Go beyond the day-to-day things they’ll need to know. Tell your new team members about the company’s charity efforts. Highlight team members and their efforts improve the company’s culture. This is your chance to make sure people know their new workplace is awesome, and inspire them to contribute to that awesomeness.

An orientation video like this can bring your company handbook to life.

Training videos

They’ve been hired, they’re squared-away on the company’s culture, now you just need to get them working, or to improve employee processes that are already in place.  A training video can demonstrate how the job is done and answer the most frequently asked questions.

New team members are sure to get all sorts of on-the-job training, but you never know who the source of that training will be.  Video assures consistency as you share important processes with team members.  

Use a team member in your training video who does  things “right.” The majority of people are visual learners, so it’s a great idea to show them examples of your top people and how they do their jobs.

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HR videos don’t need to be boring

I know, some of you rolled your eyes at the notion of HR videos. The thing is, these videos don’t have to put people to sleep. You just need to apply the same mindset to these videos as you do your external marketing videos.

In a way, all of the HR videos I described are marketing videos. The difference is that you’re marketing to your team members rather than potential clients.

Think about it. How many times have you heard business leaders talking about getting their team to “buy-in” to the corporate mission or culture? That’s why the same storytelling strategy we use to sell customers needs to be used in these HR videos.

Telling stories is the key to it all.  When you have a ton of information you’re trying to give someone, they’re more likely to pay attention and remember when you tell them a good story.

What’s your story?

Get your best storytellers in on the effort. If your marketing team rocks, encourage them to work with your people in HR. The two united teams can look inward to help you sell your policies and processes to the rest of the team.

If neither or those teams have the time, you can always turn to outside pros to help with this sort of thing. Professional video storytellers can help you tell your stories.

HR videos that use storytelling to motivate can be a great way to inspire your team.

–Tony Gnau

 

Extra Work A Small Price

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When’s the last time you lent a hand to a friend in need? I don’t mean something small like giving them a cup of sugar or a ride to someplace you were both going anyway. I’m thinking something major… like helping them move or giving them a ride to the airport.

Where am I going with this? I got a reminder last week just how nice it feels to help a good friend, and when you can do it through something you’re passionate about… all the better.

Mrs. G and I have a GREAT friend who’s moving soon. Not to like, Minnesota or something… no… she’s moving halfway around the world. 

Anyway, the move means she’s going to miss her little sister’s wedding. We found out she was considering shooting a video to surprise her sister with during the reception, so we basically took it from there.

We insisted on shooting and editing something special for her. Of course, she doesn’t want to “put us out,” but come on… do you have any idea how many times this person has cat-sit for us? I’ll end-up putting in some extra hours working this week, but producing a video is the least we can do for this person.

Well, we shot the video last week and afterwards I was really touched by how appreciative she was. She basically said this is the nicest gift anyone has ever given her. How badly do you think I want this video to turn out well?

My point is this… we all have skills we’re blessed with. To us…  they’re no big deal. They’re just what we’re good at. But to someone without those skills, they’re pretty awesome. Especially when you use them in a time of need.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 11 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

Top 5 Reasons Internal Communications Needs Video

cameraWhen people think of video, they often think marketing. It’s true… video is terrific for marketing. It also happens to be a great internal communications tool, and there are many subjects that can be covered (video examples).

Here’s the top five reasons you should be using video to communicate with team members…

Video creates interest. Anyone can send out a newsletter or email, but video captures people’s attention. How many dozens of newsletters go unread? How many memos get skimmed, but don’t receive the attention they might require? LOTS! You can communicate the same thing in a video that a memo or newsletter might explain. Detail company policies, feature your latest product or service, maybe even highlight the work of an individual or group. The difference is people will watch and pay attention to the video.

The accessible CEO. If you’re part of a small organization, chances are you’ve met the CEO. On the other hand if you work at a medium or large company, there’s a good chance you don’t know what the CEO looks like much less had an opportunity to interact with them. Putting company leaders out front in videos allows them to speak directly to team members. They are no longer the impersonal name behind a title. They become a real person others can relate to, which then empowers managers to energize the company culture.

Electri-FlexBreaking down the silos. A lot of companies work in silos. One department separated from the other, people don’t know one another and certainly none of them can tell you what the other is doing. Video can change that. It allows team members to provide an inside look at what they’re working on. You can write about a new product or service all you want, but hearing from someone who’s working on that project and seeing them at work takes it to a whole new level.

Storytelling advantage. Using video allows a business to tell great stories. The medium incorporates images, sounds and words to create a rich platform for people to “experience” information. On paper, what’s happening around the company is simply a laundry list of activities. Put that same information into the hands of a skilled video storyteller, and it becomes a narrative that engages the audience. By incorporating information into a compelling story you capture the audience’s attention and make them more receptive to your message.

Leaves an impression. Storytelling also helps viewers retain the information, and after watching something they really enjoy they share it with other people. A company newsletter might garner mild interest. Videos will have people talking about them in the halls. They also have a cumulative effect. The more quality videos you produce, the more viewers look forward to them. They can even become a morale booster. Team member success stories are a pat on the back they’ll really feel.

All of these things add up to a good reason for corporate leaders to use video to communicate with their teams. A CEO vlog, a video newsletter, updates on projects and initiatives… all great ways to get your messages across to people.

–Tony Gnau

This post first appeared at ragan.com.

 Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 11 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

HR Videos Can Boost Employee Morale

Dillanos Coffee

A fun HR video is a great way to boost employee morale, and I recently came across some good examples. Dillanos Coffee Roasters was recently featured on Chris Locurto’s blog and the EntreLeadership podcast. The company produces a bunch of videos, but its YouTube channel is mostly devoted to making the company’s employees laugh. 

What a great idea for HR departments everywhere.

I’m not going to build-up the videos into something they’re not. The production quality leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s what you get producing things in-house without professional help. Here’s the thing though…

Who cares?

The videos aren’t meant for me or you. They’re meant for the men and women who work there. I didn’t really get any laughs out of the videos I watched, but I’m sure the people who work at Dillanos love them.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE

Company leaders are following the first “rule” of video production. Always keep the focus on your audience. They’ve created a culture of fun around Dillanos, and these videos are a flection of it.

When you think about it from that perspective, these videos are winning productions.

–Tony Gnau

Photo: dillanos.com