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Employee-Generated Videos: Not Just for Recruiting Anymore

A man in a hard hat driving a forklift in a warehouse.

​Recruiters have long understood the value of using employee-generated videos to drive greater interest in job openings. These "behind-the-scenes" videos add a level of authenticity to recruiting appeals that sounds more credible than scripted corporate messaging.

New video-creation platforms and apps have made producing and distributing employee-generated videos easier and more affordable than ever, leading some HR and recruiting functions to use video in areas like career development, internal communications, learning and culture building.

Power of the Employee Voice

At Danaher, a global science and technology company based in Washington, D.C., success in using employee-generated videos in the early stages of the recruiting process convinced the company to deploy such videos throughout the candidate journey, to support the company's diversity and inclusion initiatives, and to animate internal communication.

Amanda Manconi, digital project manager in employer branding for Danaher, said the company uses a platform from vendor iCIMS called Video Studio to create and distribute employee-generated videos. These day-in-the-life videos were originally posted to the company's careers site and social media channels to boost candidate traffic and applicant conversion rates.

Manconi said her team can distribute compelling video content at scale without the higher cost of using a production studio. Employees are nominated to create their own videos and then asked a series of questions. Workers use their own phones or laptops to shoot the video, relying on training tips and guidelines to help produce the highest-quality content. 

HR leaders then use the platform to review and approve the videos with the option of adding branding elements like colors, logos and more. The Video Studio platform offers integrated social media publishing, custom templates, embedded language translation services and an analytics dashboard to track how videos perform.

Manconi said success in using employee-created videos for recruiting sold her organization on the persuasive power of the employee voice and led them to begin using a similar video concept for other purposes. One new usage is in the company's diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, Manconi said, where the company has consulted with its employee resource groups to find associates willing to shoot their own videos describing what it's like to work for their team and company.

"You can talk all you want about your company's diversity and inclusion policies, but until job candidates or others hear from real employees about what it looks like in practice, it doesn't have the same impact," Manconi said.

She added that producing employee-generated videos that make a lasting impact on viewers requires walking a fine line between content that feels real and unvarnished but that also stays true to brand messages.

"We try to provide a certain level of guidance to employees on creating videos but not so much that they feel restricted," Manconi said. "When they feel restricted, viewers can often sense that. That's why we sometimes suggest employees use an outline of key points they want to communicate rather than a full script."

New Uses for Career Development, Internal Communication

Kimberly Taylor, senior director of customer success at iCIMS, oversees the Video Studio platform. She said she's seen more of her company's customers expand their use of employee-generated videos to areas beyond recruiting.

Two of those new uses are for promoting internal mobility and career development and having recruiters or hiring managers create a library of short videos to respond to candidates' most frequently asked questions to better personalize those interactions.

"Having employees who've moved to different jobs within the company or who've been promoted tell stories about their journeys through video helps others see what's possible in terms of career development and internal mobility," Taylor said.

Employee-generated videos tend to be most effective when workers talk not just about their successes but also how they've overcome challenges, she noted.

"People want to learn not just about 'day-in-the-life' but things like the most difficult project someone worked on and how their teammates or organization helped them overcome challenges during that project," Taylor said. "Those things really get to the heart of company culture, team spirit or how inclusive a company is in practice."

Mike Murphy, a general manager for VideoMyJob, another platform that helps organizations create and distribute employee-generated video, said he's seen more companies use such videos not only for recruiting but also internal communications during the pandemic to explain new policies or boost morale of remote workers.

"Companies replaced some of the text-based internal communication they once used like staff e-mails or shout-outs on Slack with video," Murphy said. "They found text can sometimes be misinterpreted and video has more of an emotional or personal appeal, especially when someone's manager or co-workers are featured in a video."

Cost and Time Savings

Video-creation apps appeal to HR leaders because they can quickly produce and distribute video affordably. No longer is there a need to hire production crews to travel to various offices to shoot video, for example.

"It's improved our ease and speed of creating videos and by reducing production costs allowed us to tell stories we otherwise might not have had a chance to tell," Manconi said.

Video Editing Platforms

Those seeking a more professional look for employee-generated videos also have some affordable video editing services to choose from. One such provider is EditMate, a company in Boston that assists human resources and recruiting functions in editing employee-generated and other videos.

The platform works by having users upload video shot by employees on their phones along with a creative brief written by HR or recruiting, detailing objectives for the video. EditMate then assigns one of its video editors to review and edit the video, performing things like color correction, audio editing and adding graphics, captions and more features if desired by clients.

"From there drafts of the video edit are reviewed on our dashboard, where HR can provide feedback and suggestions and upload any other brand assets," said Rachel King, CEO of EditMate. Edits are typically completed in 48 hours or less.

Use of such video editing services can accommodate limited HR budgets. EditMate, for example, charges about $1,000 for a single project that includes its full range of editing services and three rounds of client review, King said.

She noted that during the pandemic many HR leaders sought editing for videos designed to communicate policy changes, provide company updates or to help create a sense of connection with employees working from home. Some used employee-generated videos to celebrate holidays, co-worker birthdays or company successes.

King said one client in the construction industry used employee-generated videos to help celebrate International Women's Day.

"The construction industry is still male-dominated, but this company used the videos to highlight all of the women working in the organization and to promote career opportunities for women there," she said.

Dave Zielinski is principal of Skiwood Communications, a business writing and editing company in Minneapolis.


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