When you hear someone bring up “internal communications,” what do you think about? Occasional newsletters? Company-wide emails? The quarterly get-together? Unfortunately, even in the year 2016, these are exactly what most people would classify as internal communications. They might also include the increasingly rare memo for good measure.
Internal communications have long been defined as a narrow, interior edifice within the wider company structure. Communications teams are often thought of as little more than writers and editors for a press release or CEO address or even those periodic newsletters. But their real role is far more important and far-reaching than that.
At the heart of internal communications is a sense of corporate identity; a union with both leadership and employees. It is about honest and accurate dialogue. Beyond that, internal communications is about improving employee engagement and ushering companies through difficult periods of change. It is essential to building, growing and expanding a company.
Managers know that internal communications are one of their most priceless methods for reaching every nook and cranny of their business. An entire workforce can be called to action with the right team and the right tools providing clarity, inspiration and a meaningful path to connection.
Given the obvious value and tangible benefits of great internal communications, how then can employers make their teams more effective? Live workplace video is the answer.
Treating employees like customers
It”s no secret that marketing teams have long known about the ability of video to captivate and capture leads. In fact, there may be no better way of doing so. Nearly 52 percent of global marketing professionals surveyed in a 2014 Invodo survey said that video, more than any other type of content, provided the best return on investment.
Considering video’s worth, it’s unsurprising that human resource departments would turn to it to improve internal communications. What is surprising, however, is how long it’s taken for the change to develop. Perhaps the delay can be attributed to a lack of understanding about how collaborative workplace video really functions.
Many employers have looked at video chat as primarily a method for interviewing job candidates, or for facilitating work from home options. But video is much more dexterous than that. A recent eLearning study showed that 77 percent of U.S. businesses provide their employees with online corporate training. This online market is projected to grow 13 percent annually up to 2017.
Interestingly, 74 percent of companies currently use some form of learning management system, virtual classroom or video broadcasting platform. Expect these figures to climb in the coming years, what with HR departments burdened by growing workloads that cut into potential training sessions.
Video can function as a kind of pressure release valve in these situations. With some creativity on the part of internal communications and HR teams, video can bear some the weight for new employee training as well as the sort of professional development programs that are often discarded due to resource or time constraints.
Putting video to work in internal communications
According to HR Zone, using video to train new employees on policies and procedures is liable to save HR teams hours of precious time. Rather than dedicate human talent to spend a day or more educating new members of the team, they can instead focus on other work until it comes time to discuss subjects addressed by the videos.
As for professional development opportunities, part of what makes workplace video so useful is its nimbleness. Videos can be slotted in between meetings, client visits and all the other responsibilities that fill a workday’s schedule. Instead of hoping to find a block when everyone is available, professional development via video allows employees to cater to their own needs.
Beyond a welcome relief to HR departments everywhere, the implementation of video allows internal communications teams to focus more effectively on employee engagement, especially at larger organizations where it can be difficult to establish a single, coherent message that reaches every dispersed branch.
HR Zone recommended that internal communications implement projects like a weekly employee video spotlight. These would allow individual workers or even teams to create videos highlighting their recent efforts. They could also be a platform for introducing new employees or managers, bringing everyone in the company to the same level of connection and understanding.