Closing the Employee Engagement Gap: A Video Is Worth 10,000 Words!

The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” should be updated: “A video is worth 10,000 words!” Employers today are closing the employee engagement gap with video, rapidly moving from bulletin boards to email to text messaging and private Facebook groups. Video for employees has eclipsed many other mediums, and for good reason.

Today, mobile technology has led to an explosion of video sharing. The 2020 pandemic created expectations from employees that not only would interactions with their team and their leaders be online, but that video communication might actually eclipse in-person interaction. The truth is, when other channels of reaching employees are exhausted, video for employees can be continually new and fresh.

Love at First Technology

Kevin Systrom was 28 years old when he co-founded Instagram, Zuckerberg was 19 years old when he launched Facebook. You Tube Co-founder Chad Hurley was just 28 years old when he launched the video site. LinkedIn was co-founded by Reid Hoffman when he was 34 years old. Millennials invented these tremendous communication technologies because they instinctively recognized the power of social media networking, accompanied by real-world pictures and videos.

Over the last decade, video has become an essential communication tool, not just for bloggers and influencers but for employers. Unfortunately, as much as employees embrace online video, employers have been slow to produce the content that keeps employees engaged.

Corporate America Tries to Catch Up with Social Video

Lemonly conducted a survey and found that the most frequently used methods to communicate with employees was email (48%). Yet, HR and communications professionals also reported that 71% of employees don’t read or engage with emails. On the other hand, a Ragan survey found that employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than reading text.

Today, sharing pictures and videos is taken for granted, meaning people expect to have the same type of communication in the workplace. Videos especially are rapidly becoming the preferred communication tool. What worked in the past is not going to engage people today. The implication is that failing to adjust communication processes to reach people where they already are is working against, rather than for, employee engagement. Yet, many employers continue to share information the way they always have. Closing the employee engagement gap has proven more difficult than many companies first thought.

Entertain Me!

Engaging employees and staying union-free gets more challenging all the time. It’s so much easier for outside forces to connect with your employees via the internet. Case in point, UnionWare, who offers to “accelerate union organizing efforts.” Employees today want their information delivered quickly, efficiently, and in an entertaining way.

Unions understand the power of communicating online. Union websites are posting plenty of videos because they know that form of communication appeals to the people they want as members. A quick glance at the national Teamster’s web page shows a link to “Hidden Heroes” video, women’s conference on-demand webinar videos, and a “Resources for Essential Workers” link leading to a variety of videos.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t understand that sharing information through “old” channels like email and on static websites can actually send employee engagement backward.

The CWA recently launched a new project aimed specifically at unionizing video game and tech companies: The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE for short), focuses on people who create video for a living. If these employers simply posted flyers on bulletin boards, where would they be?

Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube states, “Video is the most interesting and engaging way to share an idea with others.” Magician, best-selling novelist and filmmaker Andrew Mayne said, “Use video to train assistants; You’ll be surprised how quickly they learn.” Videos are engaging and can be reviewed repeatedly on a computer or mobile phone and customized to accommodate people with disabilities.

May I have and keep your attention, please…

Video can train employees, develop leaders, share employee highlights, explain the company benefits, onboard new hires, and so on. Following is a list of the many ways video can support your employee engagement efforts:

  • Video offers an interesting way to grab the attention of employees in a world where they’re inundated with technologies demanding their attention and overloading them with information
  • Video can solicit employee feedback, so managers know what their employees are thinking
  • Video can give you the ability to respond to employee feedback
  • Video connects the C-suite and senior leaders to the workforce, the people frontline workers have little interaction with on a routine basis
  • Video can help companies share information to improve transparency
  • Video is powerful for training employees and developing leaders
  • Video can reinforce your organization’s mission, values, and goals and the importance of employees to the effort
  • Video can help you create a positive organizational culture by sharing employee successes as a form of recognition
  •  Video that develops the organization’s unique “story” can promotes team cohesiveness
  • Video can enable employees to share their personal stories to promote diversity of thought, experiences, and perspectives
  • Video will easily and powerfully recognize the successes of employees
  • Video can help you invite workforce participation in engagement surveys, employer-sponsored projects/programs concerning environmental and social responsibility, and special teams
  • Video can be your primary way of seeking employee input on management decisions, policy changes, and process improvements, followed by videos explaining the results

Video can help your company stay union-free for the simple reason that retention rates increase by 65% when information is delivered through video. Employees are more likely to watch videos for information updates and training than to read emails and documents. Having a union-free website that explains the company’s perspective on unions is important. But even greater engagement happens when you reinforce that website with videos ranging from executive messages to videos of employees supporting their employer to videos of managers authentically educating employees.

Stuck in the Past?

Video should be integrated into other forms of communication. Generously use links to the videos on websites, social media, email, and even in text messages to employees. Expect employees to consume video content wherever they may be. If your communication strategy is stuck in the past, it will be increasingly difficult to engage a tech-savvy workforce. Lack of employee engagement is a key driver of unionization. Evaluate how you are communicating with employees and close the gaps communication gaps between what your team members want and expect – and what you are actually delivering.

Moving into consistent video communication to engage employees can be easy with the right resources in place. Projections can produce video content on a wide variety of topics and help you connect with team members. Consider using video to talk about all the great things your company offers: benefits, community involvement, open door policy and control over the future.

new hire orientation video

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and the founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.

follow me on: