March 28, 2016

Article

How video compares to other communication channels

Three months into the new year, companies are both looking forward and turning back. They have optimism for strategies in the year ahead, but they’re also assessing what didn’t work like it should have in 2015. For communications professionals, questions over what could have been better or what might still be improved often come down to the effectiveness of employee engagement tactics.

How important is it for businesses to enhance their engagement channels? Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric and a renowned leadership strategist, once said that employee engagement was the most critical measurement for a CEO’s worth, according to the Holmes Report. A workplace with engaged professionals is one where every member of the organization gives their best day in and day out, where a company’s values and objectives are an enduring source of motivation. In other words, it’s absolutely essential for a successful business.

As your company takes new and familiar strategies for engagement under consideration, you’re going to have to determine which communication channels are best suited to you. Which is most likely to boost internal communication and ease the decision making process? Each channel offers different strengths and weaknesses, according to Melcrum. Here are a few to evaluate:

Video
There’s a reason people associate video with personal discourse. Seeing real people – coworkers, managers and clients – talk about their experiences is an immediately recognizable human interaction. The camera doesn’t lie. You see another person’s honesty and emotion play out on screen. Video puts a personal face on your company’s message. It makes you approachable without the awkward formality that can color other communication channels like introductory emails.

It is perhaps the most creative of communication options open to you. It’s certainly the most entertaining, with a wide range of possibilities for delivery. Your tone could be humorous, educational, trustworthy – whatever it is you’re going for, video accommodates it. You can leave your team with a lasting impression retained far longer than any press release.

Some companies might be concerned over video’s potential expense, but an enterprise content delivery network is actually far less pricey than you might think. Rather than replace your old legacy network, you simply utilize it in a new, cost-effective way.

Other companies worry that video will make their communications impersonal. But that just isn’t the case. While talking heads aren’t necessarily engaging, that’s hardly the only use for video. You can make your communications both fun and effective by getting creative with how you deliver your message. Think outside the box and you’ll find that employee engagement soars.

Team meetings
They might not always be popular at your company, but team meetings are crucial to effective communications. Gathering in person to talk about business objectives is even more personal than video and makes information immediately relevant to those in attendance. Best of all though is how team meetings encourage discussion. Employees can offer up questions, give feedback and contribute to a sense that each person’s individual efforts strengthen the company as a whole.

There are certain downsides to communicating through meetings, however. The time commitment is an obvious burden on both the manager and the audience, essentially putting off all other work that needs to be done. Overall success of the meeting is also heavily reliant upon the skill of the orator. Depending on who is speaking, the meeting might either be a boon to engagement or push employees away. Unlike video which has a consistent message, team meetings can sometimes be scattershot affairs.

Email
Practically every company uses email as a primary method for communication. Its advantages are numerous, from its ability to reach a mass audience quickly to its cost effectiveness to its usefulness for delivering information and instruction clearly. As long as emails are kept short and simple, there’s no reason to curb their usage.

At the same time, however, emails have a habit of making your company’s communications vulnerable to misinterpretation or corporate frostiness. That’s if they haven’t already been lost in an email overload or otherwise ignored because there was no sense of priority attached. On top of that, it’s hard to get a substantive dialogue going through email. Rather than the face-to-face interactions of team meetings or the warm quality of videos, emails are impersonal.

If your business relies heavily on emails for communication, balance them out with videos every so often. You’ll remind employees of who they’re working with and bolster engagement by putting a face to the name that comes in the signature line of messages in their inbox.