Using Video to Tackle HR Digital Transformation

Our much more digital lives is strongly influencing our expectations at work as well as at home. Recent studies on digital transformation in HR, like this one by Deloitte University Press have highlighted the need for further digital initiatives outside of our products and services. This is the HR digital transformation and there are many facets to the challenge.

But how does one go about tackling this very broad, pervasive challenge? HR neither has the resources or the specialists, but is tasked with tackling this issue across the organization. And many are looking to solve the whole problem, but that’s nearly impossible. So let’s start with a simple, yet effective digital transformation. Video.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the focus of the next billion internet users: video and voice. “Typing is dead,” they claim. Google’s YouTube service has seen this coming as well, investing time, resources and creative energy understanding the needs and desires of the next billion internet users.  For context, the next billion internet users are coming online from countries catching up on technology infrastructure, like India, China, Indonesia and Brazil. So how does this inform our strategy to leverage digital resources to improve employee engagement?

What we can learn from YouTube and these macro behavioral trends is that we need more video and voice at work. Those long CEO emails? Not read. Posters in the breakroom? Not read. Bulky handouts about your 401k plan? Not read. What employees crave is a more direct connection and when you can’t do it in person for everyone, video is the next best thing.

So let’s focus on some simple ways you can use video to engage your internal audience. It’s not that hard and it’s not that scary. Thanks to a virtual mini-studio we all hold in our hands (smartphones), we have the power to create fantastic videos that really resonate with our team members. There are three areas to focus on when thinking about creating a video message: 

The Best Ingredients
People: identify candidates from around your organization, at all levels, for participation. These include your CEO, an intern, a new employee, support staff and long-tenured team members. 
Story: associated with people are great stories. Stories about their journey in the organization, their role, what they do for your customers and what they enjoy most about the organization. Identify fun and inspiring stories that support the message you are trying to get a cross.
Setting: the office, a customer visit, a volunteer activity or just happy hour get together. It’s great to showcase areas or events not employees see often or have a reason to visit. Bring customer stories to team members who don’t usually interact with them. Highlight activities that others may have missed. 

Appropriate Length
I cannot emphasize enough how important this element is to making an engaging, consumable video. We see so many videos get drawn out, over-produced, over-scripted. Employees want to connect with real people and it’s that connection that brings them closer. The most positively received videos are often off-the-cuff, lightly outlined and aimed to be 45-90 seconds. 

Given the time constraint, don’t try to deliver too much. The whole point is bite-size pieces of consumable information. Aim to deliver video messages relatively often so there is a constant stream of various types of video messages. If this is your first video, take your time to develop a format that works best for your organization.

Maximum Exposure
You’ve assembled the story, the people and produced a quick hitting video. Now what? Get the word out! Put your marketer’s hat on and find channels to promote the video to your teams. If you have to use email, make sure to embed the video link and add a screenshot of the clip. You don’t want to waste your hard work with non-engaging forms of communication. If there is an intranet page that employees visit often or TVs in the breakroom or lobby, use those to show the video.


In addition to videos, think about podcasts. While not as visually interactive, hearing a story directly narrated by a fellow team member can have just as much impact on employee engagement. Given that communications is often a top three issue cited in employee surveys, podcasts and videos are a great way to get the message directly to all levels of employees. The issue is often the filters between leadership and the front line, especially middle managers who are either not equipped, trained or bought-in to effectively pass on the message. 

The great part of using videos is creating that direct connection. Plus, it creates a natural demand for more interactions. Your team will look forward to the next video update with great anticipation. So use videos to kick-start your engagement tactics!

(Do you wish this blog post was a short video instead?)