At many companies, there is a disconnect between workers on the ground and the C-suite. To workers at the bottom of the corporate ladder, executives often come across as distant leaders who don't understand the problems and needs of those who keep the operation running. To executives, criticism from the lower rungs can seem like little more than vague complaints from workers who can't see the big picture.
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In order to build a more cohesive corporate culture, executives must find ways to connect with their existing workforces and their prospective hires. While meeting regularly with each employee face to face for this purpose isn't practical, there is another way: video.
"[Video] is the most powerful communication tool there is, the most popular communication tool there is, and the most emotionally effective tool there is," says Vern Oakley, veteran filmmaker; author of Leadership in Focus: Bringing Out Your Best on Camera; and founder, CEO and creative director of Tribe Pictures. "So when people talk about building a culture using video, it's the way a CEO can communicate their vision in an almost one-on-one virtual way. It's the way that the HR department can talk about the brand of the company in a way that brings potential employees an experience of what it's like to work there. It's the way you can help to onboard and drive the values that the company wants its new employees to have, and it is the most popular way to have stories told and communicated."
Your Brand Has a Story, So Tell It
Video communication can be a valuable tool for selling a company's brand not only to customers, but also to existing and future employees.
"What's intriguing to me, if you look at the 100 best places to work, most of them are very successful at using video. It's a business strategy," Oakley says. "If you look at the results of the stock prices of the 100 best places to work and you compare them to the stock prices of the Fortune 500, they have statistically done better."
Companies who don't use video may find themselves at a disadvantage in the corporate recruiting game.
"There is a war for talent as everyone in HR knows, and if you look at the demographics and the workforce that is needed, there aren't enough of the kind of workers companies want to have," Oakley says. "What's going to attract this limited pool to your company is to really tell your story well."
Video can up the impact of a company's employer branding message significantly. It's the difference between simply writing about perks and benefits on a careers page and letting real, live employees show prospects firsthand what it's like.
"To create the kind of content that allows potential employees to have a peek behind the curtain – to engage in an honest, authentic, real conversation as opposed to being sold something – is a very valuable way to use video in the recruiting process," Oakley says. "People want to work for companies they believe in. Video is a tool to help people understand your company's values and what you believe in."
Growth of Video Communication in the Digital Age
While video has been a useful tool for training and communication for decades, today's technology makes it more useful than ever before.
"The biggest trend that I've seen in the over 30 years our company's been in business is that, traditionally, video was often seen in big meetings and large gatherings, so it was not unlike a mini-movie where you have a captive audience," Oakley explains. "Now what's happened is people can watch video anytime, anyplace, and the quality of video wirelessly and on your phone is just incredible. It was almost unimaginable 10 years ago. I mean, the iPhone is only about 10 years old. So it has to do with the ubiquity of screens."
Moving forward, Oakley expects video to grow even more as a way to reach specific audiences.
"The biggest trend is the video tsunami," he says. "Video is overwhelming the way people want to receive information. Reading statistics are down. People are inundated with emails. There is so much digital noise out there. It's hard to cut through the clutter. We've always seen that a really well-made video that has the audience clearly defined and the message told in an entertaining way cuts through that clutter."
That's the key point, and it cannot be emphasized enough: a clearly defined audience and a message told in an entertaining way. We've all sat through a training video at some point or another featuring nothing more than a CEO reading a boring speech off of some cue cards. Videos like these won't cut it.
"My grandfather always used to say, 'People do business with people,'" Oakley says. "So when the CEO chooses to do the monotonous teleprompter speech, you're saying a lot about your company and your brand. You want to have your CEO up there as a human being. You want to have them sharing their vision and communicating in a way that feels empowering so that you want to be part of that culture, that company, and where it's going. Capturing that leader in an honest, human, authentic way is an incredible recruiting tool."