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Clear Eyes, Full Screens, Can’t Lose: Keeping Employees Engaged with Video

Why you should consider an internal video strategy to keep employees feeling successful, respected, and inspired by their teammates. 1/03/2017 5:00 PM Eastern

According to research from Gallup, employee engagement in the workplace has been stagnant since 2000. That means that for the last 16 years, only 30% of employees are truly engaged at work. If you’re in a managerial position this should make you nervous -- this lack of engagement costs an estimated $500 billion a year in lost productivity. Beyond the financial losses, why should you care that employees are engaged? I think best-selling author Kevin Kruse said it best: because engaged employees “don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.”

If you’re investing your time and energy in hiring the best people, you certainly want to get the most productivity out of those you hire. The cost of attrition outweighs the cost of keeping quality people engaged and excited about the work they do. If you suspect that you may be in the common denominator and 70% of your workforce are feeling disengaged, you should consider an internal video strategy to keep employees feeling successful, respected, and inspired by their teammates. Not only will this lead to their own empowerment and fulfillment at work, but it will also naturally result in gains for your company.

Keeping Employees Successful: Video as a Tool for Training

One of the most powerful tools for employee engagement is video. Video has become such an ubiquitous presence in employees lives outside of work, that bringing this into the workplace from the employee's perspective will feel seamless and natural. The growth of the cloud is also making it easier than ever to collect and distribute video content to employees at any site through whatever channel works best for them – internal displays, personal computers, tablets and mobile phones.

If a disengaged employee is one that is not invested in the larger goals and mission of the company, video is a tool that can help inspire them to join the mission as it engenders a level of intimacy and knowledge transfer that plain text just cannot. And though it may not be quite the same as meeting face to face, a video of a large corporation's CEO feels more sincere and meaningful than an email or memo, especially when there are thousands of employees to update.

Video is often utilized at the beginning of an individual's employment for training purposes, but the technology has become much more robust over the years, so it can and should continue to play a role in ongoing employee professional development. For example, if an ever-evolving tech company launches a new product, a demonstration video is an excellent way to ensure all employees and vendors have the relevant info they need. An engaged employee is one that feels successful. Few things are worse than feeling out-of-the-loop or as though you have not been given the resources you need to meet the expectations laid out for you. Video can bridge the gaps that occasionally occur in employee education and training so that all employees are empowered to do their best work.

Recognizing Employees as People: Video Offers Flexibility

One major factor that Gallup measured into the overall engagement of an employee was whether or not they felt like “their opinions mattered” or having “someone at work who encourages their development.” Video has the ability to check off both of these boxes if utilized strategically.

Both corporations and associations see a need for continual education. In fact, most large and medium sized trade associations offer continual education credits that are required for individuals to keep their licenses up to date. By offering these trainings over video, employees have the freedom and flexibility to watch at times that work for their schedules. And although these trainings are often offered in person, the live sessions tend to be recorded, and it is not unusual for attendees to purchase the recording to rewatch for later edification. Offering video that can be watched online will likely result in employees who feel respected and trusted to maintain their professional development on their own schedule, rather than being forced to attend sessions that could interrupt their typical work day. It also creates a library of resources that can be accessed at any time -- creating a go-to place for information and education.

Building Positive Company Culture: Video Is Fun

Finally, while there are differing opinions on whether or not happiness and favorability should be factored into employee engagement, it doesn’t hurt to build a company culture that makes room for fun and collaboration in creative ways. Video is an excellent tool to build the kind of positive company culture that leads to more personal investment in larger company goals. Using video for town hall meetings, announcements, or internal promotional materials is inherently more engaging than emails, memos, flyers, or manuals. Additionally, video can offer a place for employees to put their energy towards something new and inspirational -- leading to a refreshed sense of purpose on the job. Some examples of fun, creative ways of bringing video into company culture include interdepartmental video competitions where departments create videos highlighting what they are doing for the rest of the company; videos that announce promotions, awards, and general praise of the good work people are doing; or annual holiday videos filled with funny sketches to celebrate another successful year or working together.

The concept of employee engagement is to keep employees informed and motivated to feel they are part of a team. Giving the proper tools, education and motivation is vital for employee retention. Employee engagement is a key tool to employee morale and performance so why not use creative ways to help achieve this? You try to hire the best people and get the most out of your employees. Why not keep the communication lines open and find new ways to communicate? Video is cost effective and relatively easy to implement so that every employee can watch, no matter where they are in the world.  And new cloud-based video solutions make it possible for almost anyone to create and distribute content without specialized skills. As long as employees have internet, they can be an engaged, inspired, and productive member of your team. 

Scott Grizzle is Manager of Sales Engineering at Ustream, an IBM Company.

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