Why the Digital Workplace Should Be Video-First
To operate efficiently in the digital workplace, many companies have embraced video as a way to communicate. As it has become more widespread in the enterprise, the applications have become more diverse.
Zoom, Teams and the other video-based communication apps have become the go-to for team meetings and individual one-on-ones. Beyond staff meetings, video is also being used for onboarding, training and even non-work-related team activities. Popular collaboration tools like Slack have also integrated video recording and sharing into messaging platforms, and startups like Loom have sprung up to give employees tools to quickly capture and share videos from their devices.
Adding video to a company's training and communications arsenal can be cost-efficient and reliable. It can also help save time and improve productivity.
The Role of Video in the Digital Workplace
Take the example of onboarding. Training manuals, office policy handbooks and work procedure documentation have traditionally been dense, wordy manuals or documents that can be tedious to read and, at times, difficult to understand. This is particularly true for new employees, who are not familiar with the company's internal processes and approach.
Providing these materials in video format in onboarding helps keep workers engaged and increases the chances of them understanding and retaining the content. Video-based training also helps with another challenge of work in the remote and hybrid era: the need to create a human connection, particularly with a new company.
Assuming the material isn't dated and static, video training can be a useful way for employees to get to know a company while learning about the culture and people at the same time. Just be sure to keep it short and mix it up so employees don't get overloaded. Visual training methods can be more memorable and reinforce learning, said David Johnson, chief technology officer at Munich, Germany-based data analytics firm Mulytic Labs. It can also improve employee retention, teamwork and camaraderie.
“The goal with training is that it has to be different from the other communications so that it stands out and is valued,” he said.
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3 Benefits of Being Video-first
Video-based training and communications in the digital workplace can be a boost engagement and performance. Here are three main reasons why:
1. Increased Motivation
A Quantum Workplace report shows hybrid and remote workers are generally more engaged than employees who are strictly in the office. According to the data, 81 percent of hybrid employees report high engagement, compared to 78 percent for remote employees and 72 percent for on-site employees. However, motivation can be fleeting as employees work from home longer, said Sanket Shah, CEO at San Francisco, CA-based InVideo.
“Keeping employees motivated in minimal face-to-face communication has become more challenging,” he said. More frequent communication about company goals and strategies through video-based communications can help them remain motivated longer.
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2. Reduced Human Error
One of the big performance challenges is human error, sometimes caused by a lack of understanding. Technical training in particular can get lost in translation, but with video materials, trainers can ensure employees have a consistent experience that involves effective and smooth communication.
3. Improved Information Retention and Performance Support
Another benefit of video-based training is that it allows for better retention of the material. If something isn’t clear the first time, employees can replay the video and watch it again. Video training also allows those being trained to pace the instructions, pausing to take notes as needed. It can also be used as a performance support tool, with subject matter experts available to create and share short snippets to address specific challenges. These can be archived for reference for future use as well.
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Tips for Effective Video Communications
Organizations and HR leaders looking to create video manuals and training materials can improve their effectiveness with three simple tips:
Use Annotations and Subtitles
Video training makes it easier for employees to retain information because there is a visual component. Adding annotations and subtitles to critical material can add a sense of urgency or importance for those watching. Subtitles also help support multilingual companies, so employees can receive training in their preferred language.
Include Written Documentation
Offering video communications doesn't mean organizations should do away with written material. It can be useful to complement videos with other forms of communications to support the core message and cater to different styles of learning. According to Johnson, having written documentation also helps viewers retain attention and information better when videos are too long.
Have a Review Process
Like any other documentation process, having a review system helps minimize the risk of errors. According to Jim Sullivan, CEO of Grafton, Mass.-based lead recruiting agency JCSI, a great way to do this is to ask current employees to review information before it is released.
“Oftentimes, these employees will mention something important to add that will be helpful for future employees to know,” he said.