Using Video for Year-Round (and Crisis) Employee Communication

Ben Renner | | Change Management

year-round communications help preparedness for crisis communicationsRobust employee communication beyond open enrollment craziness is the key to improving employee engagement and ensuring workers stay informed. But outside of annual enrollment, it can be more difficult to capture and hold workers' attention on benefits issues. That is, with the exception of major world events like the current health crisis keeping benefits top of mind. Companies who use a year-round communication strategy are perhaps the best equipped to handle current employee communication needs. The supporting structures are in place even if HR and company leadership are probably scrapping or revising scheduled topics. Some of those structures and systems already utilize video as part of their messaging. Their impact on workers may be that much greater.

Utilizing video communications technology can bolster employee knowledge in key areas of their benefits at the best of times. But in stressful times like this, using video can help reinforce the human connection many are craving. It also goes a long way to humanize HR and company leadership. Answering questions with empathy and understanding will help boost morale.

Engage with Video

Video has always been engaging. A simple animated explainer video better illustrates how to effectively use an HSA, for example, than relying solely on an email chain or a downloadable PDF packet. As current events impact complicated aspects of employee benefits, explainer videos can clarify what that means at a personal level while minimizing additional stress. If workers had trouble following the jargon of a packet before, the added personal and emotional stress of stay-at-home orders and homeschooling kids isn't likely to make it easier. But video can.

remote employee communication is keyThere are a lot more environmental cues (soothing music, a calm voice) that can influence the viewer's state of mind. If you can't use an animated video, there are other quick and easy ways to make and share a video. Since most computers and smartphones can record video these days, you could have your HR team record themselves working from home. Edit it together and your workers will have familiar faces offering reassurance and answering questions. (If the idea of editing makes you hesitate, Flimp can help to create videos that convey your brand and corporate culture as they deliver your message.)

Video Is Just the First Step

How you deliver those videos matters, too. By allowing multiple points of access, such as mobile devices, you’re giving employees more opportunities to reach and engage with the information and video content they need. Explainer videos can be added to intranets and employee benefits portals. With so many employees working from home or under less-than-ideal conditions, flexible accessibility is vital. Our digital postcard campaigns allow you to reinforce your video messaging by surrounding it with additional resources including who to contact, reference sheets and guides.

There are other elements of video communications that can increase employee engagement while distributing critical information. One thing to aim for is brevity. Videos have the power to convey information in a way that sticks with the viewer. But if the video runs beyond about three minutes, audiences start to get distracted. Yes, that still applies in times like these when people are hungry for information. It may be difficult, but limiting yourself to three minutes means cutting to the heart of what workers need to know.

Year-Round Communications: Before, During and After COVID-19

Another way to ensure employees engage with your video content is making it part of coordinated, year-round communications. Prior to the COVID-19 health crisis, companies were beginning to see the value of such year-round communications strategies and adopting them. Many companies roll out videos and coordinated communication plans when open enrollment approaches. But communicating other aspects of your benefits structure to employees year round also made them more prepared for open enrollment.

video in employee communication crucial during COVID-19 crisisThose already using year-round communications have supporting structures in place to quickly and easily reach out with updates about COVID-19. Workers already receiving regular messages about benefits have a better foundation to know how the crisis might impact those benefits. With so much unfolding so fast, even that little bit of preparedness goes a long way toward keeping panic at bay. Companies already prepared to share messaging with employees about tax season only needed to tweak the message.

Prepared or not, the COVID-19 crisis is bringing healthcare and other employee benefits to the foreground. On a lot of people's minds are the kinds of benefits that tend to come up during onboarding before falling by the wayside. Family and medical leave policies are topics that can easily make their way into a year-round employee communication plan. We'll all be better prepared for any future crises if we keep workers familiar with such topics.

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