7 questions to ensure new employee orientation videos aren’t scary bad
In the Disney show Monsters At Work, a new employee named Tylor Tuskman arrives at Monsters, Inc. The company recently rebranded and now depends on laughter instead of scaring to produce energy and power the city.
Tylor watches a new employee orientation video. Due to the rebranding, the company’s visuals and voiceover are out-of-date. Another employee stands in front of the video, repeatedly interrupting to correct the inaccuracies as the video plays.
“Sorry about that,” the employee tells Tylor, who watches bewildered.
A comical sequence of events for a Disney show is closer to reality than many companies would prefer. The pandemic changed company cultures. And in a world with fewer in-person opportunities to tour facilities and visit various campuses and locations, we’re seeing an increase in organizations turning toward video to share information with new employees or students who might be sitting elsewhere in the world.
Succinctly capturing so much information on video and ensuring it looks and sounds wonderful is complicated. Here are seven questions to consider before sketching out a storyboard and pressing record.
1. How will you eventually share the video or videos for viewing? Will you create a series of shorter videos that new employees can access via a library format? Will you produce one longer video that encompasses, for example, a virtual tour and all pertinent information?
2. Who will oversee scheduling the production of the videos and what is the timeline? Scheduling and assembling a vast array of employees are often the most complex and underestimated challenges of shooting a company video. Employees are on vacation. New office furniture hasn’t arrived. The weather won’t permit shooting footage on a particular day. With all these hurdles, how do you capture video of several locations sprawling across the city without tearing up your timeline?
3. How will you ensure your script won’t generate a stereotypical cheesy and boring new employee orientation video that will lull otherwise enthusiastic newbies to sleep on day one? Don’t choose just anyone for on-camera interviews simply because they’re available. Select passionate leaders and employees (No, don’t only include executives!) who will clearly advocate for the company and reassure new team members that they chose wisely for their careers. Find visuals that stretch beyond cookie-cutter offices and blank walls by showing people in action and scenes with employees actually on the job. Include professionally-produced maps, transitions and graphics to creatively share and simplify otherwise complex information. Work in previously shot video and still photography. Launch a drone to provide different perspectives. Cool background music, anyone? Ask partner organizations to provide any elements that might enhance the video. What about creating a snazzy introduction that starts off each video with a bang, providing branding consistency and immediately drawing in the attention of new employees?
4. Will someone provide a voiceover for the video or will on-camera interviews simply share your company’s story? If you include a voiceover, will you hire an outsider or record someone currently on staff?
5. Who will ensure you don’t forget the little things? Did everyone appearing in the video sign a video release form? Does the video include all necessary logos? Will the video include social media channels and links where new employees can learn additional information?
6. Which people and departments need to provide input and approval for revisions of the video? How will you prevent too many cooks in the kitchen from slowing down the entire process? Who makes sure someone isn’t wearing a shirt with an old logo or driving a company vehicle with the dated paint wrap?
7. Who will remind everyone a year later to revisit the video and update it to ensure you don’t end up where you started … with something out of date?
As an employee, I disdained orientation-type videos to such an extent, I waited until someone in HR insisted I view the content of robotic actors attempting to deliver poorly-written jokes. With careful planning, creativity and an open mind to try new approaches, you can ensure your first impression for new employees is not monstrous.
Keith Yaskin is president of The Flip Side Communications, a Scottsdale media company providing video production, motion graphics and drone services.