What is an employee video ? A video created autonomously by your teams, whatever the format (news, seminar, testimonial, etc.) and purpose (training, employer branding, onboarding, etc.). It is made by your employees using tools that are accessible to everyone, such as a smartphone. Why is employee video so important nowadays ?
Today, video has become a key means of communication in all sectors and in all business functions – for training, selling, engaging, recruiting. Dynamic and ubiquitous content with social media, video is becoming the new information vector. Dynamic and entertaining, it is gradually replacing text and simple images.
Despite a certain democratisation of production, businesses requiring a certain level of quality used to use specialised service providers – agencies, production companies or freelancers. This approach has a cost and, with a constant budget, limits the number of videos produced.
Businesses still face hurdles
Video is not an easy format to integrate into your communications strategy. Firstly, even if it is possible to produce with basic devices, the pace and cycle of production can overwhelm communications teams which are often already under pressure. Producing more good quality videos with limited resources is a real challenge for these teams on a daily basis.
Similarly, the quest for excellence in the quality of output is holding back many communications departments. While we have become accustomed to tolerating lower quality amateur videos on social networks, most businesses are committed to certain standards and are not prepared to compromise on branded content. What’s more, this pressure often comes from the company’s top management.
Finally, while consumers are looking for more authenticity, businesses are still too often reluctant to showcase their talents in their communications in the light of real-life situations.
Employee video : what is it ?
A collaborative format
Faced with a similar situation among many of our customers, we wanted to understand what characterised teams that had successfully deployed a “staff video” strategy, and to identify the recipes to draw inspiration from.
Obviously, by the nature of our business, the companies that contact us have generally already made progress in their thinking about employee video, or even set up pilots or programmes in some of their entities. They are often looking for solutions that are more effective and easier to use for the end user – whether they hold an operational role in the field or are communications specialists.
An unbeatable solution
In this white paper we present the results of our observations and the tips we have identified to help you develop the most appropriate approach for your company, whether you are a manager, communications or HR director, or directly responsible for implementing the content strategy.
As you have understood by now, collaborative video is unbeatable in terms of cost and impact for those who want to produce in volume or frequently. As we only work with businesses, we take into account validation to meet the quality requirements of our customers.
If you were still in doubt, 53% of consumers consider employees to be the most credible source of information about a company. (Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer)
So, take your colleagues on a new challenge where they become the main actors of change. Provide them with intuitive and accessible tools, trust them and go for it!
Having said that, let’s dive into the heart of the matter… Let’s see how to approach a collaborative video project to boost your communications.
The keys to succeed
Beyond a few self-made videos, the success of a video project within an organisation depends on the validation and adoption by the various stakeholders: the employees who will be in front of and behind the camera, the hierarchy who should see it as an undeniable benefit rather than a potential risk or waste of time, and the functional teams who could possibly hinder the project. That’s whom you will have to convince.
Engaging your colleagues
According to IFOP, 60% of employees believe that too many changes are being undertaken in their company. What’s more, communications and training are often considered secondary to other tasks. The first challenge is therefore to convince the first video makers and presenters.
In order to hand over the realisation, it is necessary to make simple tools available and to train the teams. Initially, we advise you to rely on the most tech-savvy employees, because not all coworkers are digital natives.
Even before using Kannelle, our customers preferred tools and approaches with which their staff were familiar: a smartphone instead of a full-fledged camera, or a semi-automatic editing application instead of pro software. Offering training sessions is fun and it will help your staff understand the basics (lighting, composition) and overcome their initial reluctance.
4 tips to engage your collaborators :
- Play on the motivation of each employee: feeling valued, being part of an innovative project, showing their attachment to the business…
- Avoid the grumpy, and chronic latecomers.
- Emphasise what they can get out of it, personal branding, internal visibility…
- Reassure them about the final use of the videos (intranet, social media) and how long it will take.
Convincing others of the importance of employee videos
Producing videos in business also requires laying the groundwork with management as well as with the financial, legal, technical and branding departments.
Producing videos in a business requires laying the groundwork with management as well as with the financial, legal, technical and branding departments.
Video, and employee video in particular, can be a real headache with taking into account budget, process, efficiency, final output… Many businesses continue to avoid the topic or focus on making a few corporate videos instead. But in this decade, not taking on the subject of employee video would be a mistake..
Indeed, strong benefits are found across all functions: sales, communications, training, employer branding; and on a number of subjects from welcoming new employees to internal tutorials for example.
To convince your boss, point out the benefits of employee video, mainly its flexibility and shorter production times (for example, with Kannelle, making a video only
takes 15 minutes), better control over the content produced, the ability to produce regularly, in quantity, and in a sustainable way. And reassure them about the potential hidden costs like low time commitment on the employees involved and minimal equipment requirement thanks to smartphones…
In this era of digital transformation, we hope you will find arguments in this article to convince your management.
If you don’t use an external service provider, your video production budgets should be reduced. However, you may need to convince your financial department because you will still incur some costs: software and hardware, lighting equipment, visuals and music bank, etc.). You might also have to push for a dedicated resource.
Financially, using classic and time-consuming tools is almost always accompanied by the need for a dedicated resource. In this case, this often means recruiting a profile that is an expert in these tools. This is not the case with Kannelle.
Producing quality videos often requires reputation, video and sound design.
Set clear rules for your teams:
- Do not use the latest Beyoncé hit or YouTube videos;
- Use only royalty-free pieces of content from an approved source.
- To simplify your work and above all to avoid mistakes, provide your teams with a library of royalty-free music.
As far as image rights are concerned, remember to take the necessary steps. In practice, all you need to do is have your legal team draw up a document assigning image rights. This document must be signed by each person involved in your business’s video projects. Keep these documents well!
Managers working in large groups mention the recurring problems that self-produced videos can cause:
- Installing an application
- Using employees’ smartphones? Or one provided by the company?
- Sharing video projects (they are large files and will not be sent by email)
We recommend that you contact your IT department to establish the framework for the use of appropriate tools and materials and, if necessary, to create exceptions that will let your employees operate (e.g. access to Youtube Studio, access to WeTransfer).
Brand & communications
For the vast majority of our customers, the videos produced must adhere to brand guidelines. It is therefore essential to involve the brand manager from the start of this type of project.
More and more businesses have in-house creative studios. However, they cannot absorb all production requests. For the success of your project, it is worth working with your studio if you have one to benefit from their support, avoid friction and ensure that you have their approval of your work.
Other functional teams
You are certainly not the only team that needs video to communicate better. Spreading the word that you’re going into in-house video will help you rally other potential video makers and share approaches and tools. And certainly create some savings.
Our corporate customers often need to be able to produce pieces of content with international teams or regional offices, far from the head office and with very limited resources.
This is an additional challenge for the communications team and will require collaboration, training and gear. It also requires a good amount of diplomacy and tenacity.
Here again, setting a collaborative video programme in the right way makes it possible to create videos that wouldn’t exist otherwise because of costs or deadlines.
When delegating content production to colleagues, you have to accept that the quality of the videos will be somewhat lower than if they were produced by professionals. However, these videos will reflect on your business, internally and externally. It is why the task of “quality control”, both in terms of content and form, falls onto you.
Content-wise, one method that works well is to create standardised and scripted formats using recurring questions for interviews, for example, or common steps in the case of tutorials.
To create your own employee video format
- Take inspiration from formats you like on social networks or from your favourite TV programmes.
- Make several pilots, share them around and ask for feedback.
- Clearly script your format with instructions.
To make a successful employee video, pay attention to:
As for the form, watch these areas:
Brightness, sound and the position of the subject are key factors for a successful video. Give adequate instructions to your amateur directors. When possible, we advise you to invest in a minimum of gear like softboxes, a microphone, and a tripod.
Unless you have a dedicated editing resource, using traditional pieces of software can be complex, both on a computer or a mobile device, especially if you want all videos to follow the same standards. Be clear about your expectations in this respect (e.g. choice of transitions) otherwise you may have to finalise ongoing projects yourself.
In the same way, you will want to standardise the various boxes and inserts (font, colour, effect), if possible in accordance with your visual identity, which is not easy with consumer pieces of software.
Sound and music
A good microphone and a bank of royalty-free music are the minimum to shoot for a professional result. It is up to you to prepare these elements.
Logo, Intro and Outro
On this subject, we advise you to create a library of elements and to provide instructions to your video creators to ensure good results.
Motivate your colleagues. Trust them! If you manage the constraints for them, you will certainly be surprised by their creativity and talent.
For companies that use video successfully, the ability to share their videos effectively is a key success factor.
For external communications, the social and media strategy is obviously defined well in advance, combining social networks, YouTube channel or the company website.
These channels must have been approved and this information is formalised in the editorial planning (see the “In Practice” section).
When the objective is internal (training, communications…), the implementation of the right tools is essential, because of video’s bandwidth and storage requirements. Your intranet, internal social network or messaging solution must therefore support this video files – and administrators must have authorised its use.
Upstream of distribution, production-related processes require the exchange of files of a certain size, often well beyond the limits of email attachments. It will therefore be necessary to access a sharing system like a common disk, a cloud, or a file transfer platform. In most cases, for our corporate customers, it was necessary to go through a validation phase, or even a negotiation with their admin/tech teams, as most “Wetransfer” type sites were blocked, and the quotas for shared folders were very limited.
Finally, if the audience to be reached is field staff or a type of customer who is very mobile and not necessarily well equipped (in terms of devices or bandwidth), the question of the video format itself must be addressed. To be able to broadcast effectively in very constrained situations, some teams use low-definition formats (e.g. 640×480).
To sum up, asking yourself from the outset the question of broadcasting to your audience and sharing your files will prevent you from getting stuck during the course of the project and from experiencing disappointment when it comes to sharing your teams’ achievements.