HRD's pocket guide to... video production

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March's pocket guide gives a snapshot of video production and broadcasting

Why do I need to know about it?

In the workplace video has a number of uses: internal comms, learning and development, recruitment, and conveying employer brand to name a few. Short videos on the company intranet can keep employees informed in a much more engaging way than a lengthy email update.

Vodafone has created ‘Vodafone Tube’ (modelled on YouTube), which as well as providing video on demand allows staff to engage with senior leaders during live webcasts. “The way people engage with and use information is transforming from face-to-face to short, high-impact visuals that are digestible from multiple platforms,” explains Sharon Doherty, global organisation and people development director at Vodafone.

“Capturing staff attention long enough to learn something new – even something pivotal to their role – is an ever-increasing challenge,” agrees digital learning manager at Save the Children Róisín Cassidy. “Organisations can learn a lot from this ‘YouTube approach’ to self-diagnosing and fulfilling a learning need.”

What do I need to know?

You can create videos in-house or by engaging a production company. Which option you go for will depend on your budget, timeframe, and intended audience. Videos that will only be seen internally do not necessarily need to be polished; an update from the CEO can easily be done on a mobile phone. Videos that will be seen externally will probably benefit from being more put together. But there’s no hard and fast rule: context is everything.

“Most HR departments don’t have in-house capabilities so it is key they find an outside producer that they trust and can collaborate with to get the results they desire,” states Peter Bloom, head of the department of people and organisations at the Open University Business School.

Remember that once you have a video you’re happy with it can easily be tweaked for various platforms. “Use your library of material to make content that can be used on different social media.

A two-minute high-quality video can be cut in different ways to suit different needs – a 10-second video on Instagram, 30-second video on Facebook, still images, and so on,” points out Doherty.

If you decide to keep production in-house this doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing quality. “A quick internet search will provide a wealth of free toolkits and tutorials, so don’t let a lack of budget deter you,” says Cassidy. “Focus on top-line messages and calls to action that can be reinforced with accompanying resources if needed.”

Where can HR add value?

Use video to focus employee or customer attention on key strategic areas, such as upcoming transformation, or to educate employees about important issues.

“You can add value for employees and the organisation by creating engaging bite-sized videos that introduce the key topics/processes/policies they need to know to settle in, and to thrive in their roles,” says Cassidy. At Save the Children staff can access a library of short videos on personal development topics, as well as core humanitarian principles that help prepare new staff and volunteers for aid work.

Vodafone uses video both internally and externally. Externally it’s used for recruitment and promoting the employer brand. Employees are widely encouraged to share this content on social media, which has seen videos created by its employee brand ambassadors reach c.500,000 hits on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Internally video is used for personal development, training, and landing strategic messages.

The executive committee are even shown introduction videos of employees when reviewing talent for succession planning.

Anything else?

Make sure you have somewhere to host the videos you create; either publicly or by investing in a user-friendly internal portal. Try to make them as accessible as possible by including subtitles, audio description and translations where possible. Doherty advises creating “a community of digital natives” from among the workforce who can help with creating and disseminating content.

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