Two years ago, Francine Annese Apy was looking for a way to let potential recruits know how great the corporate culture is at Annese & Associates, an information technology services provider in New York. As the vice president of human resources, she felt the company’s fun and collaborative corporate culture was one of the biggest selling points for new hires.
Rather than tell them it’s a great place to work, she showed them. Using her iPhone and a free video-editing app, Apy produced a 42-second video, called “Annese in One Word”, featuring employees describing the company culture in one word.
She posted it on LinkedIn, Facebook and the company’s home page, and she still includes it with every new job posting. “If you are going to apply to the company, you can click on that link and in less than a minute get a feel for what it’s like to work here,” she said.
Apy also uses live videoconferencing to conduct training and onboarding, and sometimes just to bring far-flung teams together. “We host virtual lunches in the conference rooms, where we turn on the videoconference system and invite everyone to stop by,” she said. “It’s a neat way to stay connected.”
Annese & Associates is hardly alone. Thanks to YouTube, Skype and the fact that most employees have a video camera on their smartphone, live and recorded video have become popular tools for HR practitioners to capture the attention of current and future staff.
A 2013 report from The Aberdeen Group found 32 percent of organizations were investing in video interviewing, up from 21 percent in 2012. And a 2014 survey conducted by Redshift Research on behalf of Polycom Inc., a video services provider in San Jose, California, found HR respondents ranked videoconferencing as a top-three tool for communications, along with voice and email.
“Companies are using video in every phase of the employee lifecycle, from selling the benefits of working at the company to educating employees and bringing remote workers together,” said Phil Karcher, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “And HR is the chief driver of investment in this technology.”
The ease-of-use of current video tools, easy access to bandwidth and low-cost technology makes video especially appealing today, said Daniel Sonsino, vice president of talent management for Polycom. “You can make a video on your phone, edit it on your tablet and upload it to your network without an AV department or any special skills.”
And in a world where potential employees are accustomed to using video to engage socially and share ideas, it has become an important recruiting and training tool, said Liz Caras, North America recruiting manager for Lexmark International Inc. “Video resonates with the kind of people we are trying to attract.”
Lexmark has 12,000 employees worldwide, and one of the most popular videos in Caras’ repertoire is a welcome message from the company’s leader. “All new employees get to learn directly from the CEO on their first day where the company is headed and how they are a part of that success,” she said. “It is one of our most impactful onboarding tools.”
HR in Control
Regardless of the types of videos companies make or the technology they use to make them, it is HR’s job to keep track of it all, Karcher said. Some companies encourage employees to take video and run with it, while others create policies and workflows around how videos are made, vetted and published. “It depends on your company and what you are trying to accomplish.”
If, for example, you want to build a training program that includes videos of employees demonstrating best practices, you probably want an approval process to be sure the content is accurate and on-message. But if your goal is to drive cultural information out via social media, you may want to give employees more leeway, Karcher said.
Either way, HR should make sure all videos are stored in a central location — ideally the company intranet — where employees can easily access them.
“All of this falls under the purview of HR,” Karcher said. “To get the most out of video, HR should provide the policies, guidance and the channel to publish and organize content.”