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How to Use Video to Onboard Employees

Properly training new employees so that they are ready for their first day of work is crucial to ensure they feel welcomed and prepared to contribute from the start.
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Properly training new employees so that they are ready for their first day of work is crucial to ensure they feel welcomed and prepared to contribute from the start. But what many employers don't realize is that a lack of quality onboarding tactics can harm both new hires and companies themselves.

According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, high turnover rates are often the result of poor onboarding tactics, and companies can expect to pay around $10,731 to fill a vacant position. When companies spend more time and money on onboarding programs, they reap the benefits -- employees are less likely to quit and will often be more productive.

In addition, job seekers are often aware of companies that have high turnover rates and are therefore less apt to apply. This impacts the quality and quantity of candidates who apply for positions, generally making it more difficult for companies to hire top candidates. Even with unemployment remaining high, companies need to take it upon themselves to ensure they have excellent employee onboarding practices.

One way to improve new employee onboarding programs is to implement video as part of your onboarding program. This is a technique employers don't often consider, yet it can make the onboarding process more engaging and effective.

Why Video?

Many of us are visual learners and will remember what we see and hear over what we read. By utilizing video, companies can be sure that they are communicating the right message, one that employees will remember. Video can create an emotional connection that pamphlets and lectures simply cannot, while often serving as a more effective way to help employees get a feel for your company's mission, values, and culture.

Video also helps companies be more consistent when onboarding new employees. If you have several trainers in charge of new employee onboarding, you run the risk of each trainer explaining and delivering the same message in a different way. By implementing video, you can ensure that all employees have similar experiences and are receiving a consistent message regardless of who conducts the training. Additionally, if training videos are stored in a shared video library that employees can access throughout their career, employees can easily go back and review videos long after their initial onboarding sessions.

How To Get Started

Your company doesn't need to have a huge budget to implement video for onboarding purposes. Start simple. Consider using Microsoft PowerPoint to create a video, and record audio for a voiceover. You can also use platforms like Jing, Camtasia, or QuickTime to create screencasts or video recordings of what's happening on your computer screen or desktop. Both practices are useful for sharing housekeeping information such as descriptions of job expectations/duties, department overviews, policies and procedures, and details like vacation time and benefits.

Once you know what you are going to use to record your onboarding video, you need to determine what style of video you want to produce. You can create a documentary-style video, which includes mostly interviews, or you can draft a script first, and have a manager present the information. No matter which tactic you choose, ensure your video is straightforward and interesting -- feel free to inject a little humor so new hires don't feel intimidated, or search stock libraries to find free, unlicensed music to include. It's also important to remember that most of your employees will have short attention spans. Videos should be five to ten minutes long. If one topic needs more time dedicated to it, try breaking it up into shorter segments that can play consecutively. For example, when covering company policies you can record one video on your vacation policies, another on health benefits, and a third on company-wide social media policies.

For sharing your videos with your new employees, you have a few options. One option is to upload your videos to a platform like YouTube. Once you've finished your upload, you can email links to new employees prior to their first day as a welcoming tactic or gather new hires on their first day for a viewing. Videos you upload to YouTube can be set to private for up to 50 users; however, know that YouTube utilizes progressive download. This means that videos are delivered over HTTP and content is actually being downloaded locally to the computer that is playing the content. If you are concerned with privacy and security of your content, upload your video to your existing Learning Management System (LMS) or employee portal using a platform like the KZO Video Suite, where you are able to monitor and control who accesses your video.

What To Film

You can use your onboarding videos to deliver housekeeping information, or to give new employees a feel for the company culture. Consider filming videos where existing employees share personal stories like Plum St. Productions did for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's HYPE. Their documentary-style video details four people's experiences transitioning to a new city and company. Have employees share what their first days at your company were like, why they enjoy working there, and what opportunities they've found for professional growth.

You can also consider filming a welcoming video from the company CEO or upper-level management. Much like a video that highlights personal employee experiences, a greeting from higher-ups will show new employees that your company wants them to feel comfortable and welcome.

In an economy with high unemployment, thoroughly preparing new employees is a critical step to retention, and video is an excellent way to improve onboarding tactics. Not only does proper training help companies to attract quality hires, it also ensures you won't end up sending workers back into unemployment.

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