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This should have been a video.

HOW VIDEO IS CHANGING WORKPLACE COMMUNICATIONS FOR GOOD.

Workplace communications need work.

Poor workplace communication is associated with daily challenges in collaboration and productivity, to more serious threats like noncompliance and even safety hazards. 


These implications are even more profound as a global pandemic jolts us into a future of work that most companies aren’t prepared to meet. Through the course of our research with GlobalWebIndex, one unsettling truth emerged: lots of businesses need to change how they share critical company-wide messages, and fast.


Solving this system will mean embracing a more frequent, more humanized, and better form of corporate communication: video.*

1 out of 8 business professionals say their companies never communicate strategy updates.

*Duh, right? Read on for the report that proves how most of us already feel. 

Chapter 1

Information is getting lost

No time? Watch this chapter's summary below.

Between corporate leadership and their employees lies a huge chasm. Where important information gets lost in the constant calls, online meetings, emails, and messages. 


The consequences of ineffective communications are severe: Those who rate their companies poorly on communication are 4x as likely to rate them poorly on compliance, and 5x as likely to rate them poorly on both collaboration and productivity.

Bad communication, 
big impact.

Thirty-two percent of employees in the U.S. say their companies communicate strategy updates once a year at most. Sparse communication robs your workforce of the strategic context so useful for their success and the company’s growth. 


Meanwhile, companies that often communicate their strategy frequently, via video, show stronger expected revenue and workforce growth. Their employees also report fewer problems with engagement, alignment, and morale. 

[In the current situation] Meetings are easier to follow, more efficient, and are more open to people who might benefit…. I even find that face-to-face discussions work just as well if not better than before. So there is more communication across the office than before face-to-face.

For many industries, strategic communication lags behind

% of U.S. professionals across industries who receive strategic communication yearly or less

What executives think vs. what employees see.

If corporate communication is so impactful, why aren’t more companies better at it? Many think that they are. 


According to our survey on workforce communication conducted before and during COVID19, high-level executives think their company communications are both more frequent and more effective than their employees do


These executives also feel their company’s transition to remote working, in response to the crisis, was very successful. Employees disagree.

Pre-covid 19, execs and employees had very different perspectives on communication

% who rank their company as excellent in terms of the following attributes (pre-COVID-19)

Post-covid 19, the gap between employees and execs widens

% who are completely confident that their companies can weather the challenges of COVID-19 across the following metrics

This disconnect between executives and employees affects employee engagement and morale. 44% of high level execs are fully confident they can keep up employee engagement during COVID 19...while only 25% of employees feel the same.


Meanwhile, 54% of high-level execs say that they stream major company updates at least weekly…but only 20% of employees agree.

Our higher level managers did not always communicate important information to the staff…. The most frustrating thing is not knowing what the future brings.

Get the full report

Get our full findings on the state of workplace communications, plus best practices, in a handy PDF. Just fill out this teensy form.

Chapter 2

Business as unusual

No time? Watch this chapter's summary below.

With COVID-19, the digital transition that seemed years away arrived at our doorstep. So, what does the workplace of tomorrow look like, and how do we adapt our communications to match?

The future is hybrid.

For parts of my job, it is easier to work from home because I work in an open office that can get noisy. However, I'd still like to go in at least a day or two a week to check in with coworkers and have some in-person meetings and conversations.

When does going remote go well?

For 85% of professionals, remote work was an option pre-crisis; for 37%, it was broadly accepted.

Even before the global pandemic, remote working was set to be the future of work. And, increasingly, professionals work from many environments besides the office. Their home being the most common, with 40% working from there at least sometimes. 

Most professionals are working in a variety of environments

% of professionals who would work from the following locations during a typical week (pre-COVID-19)

With a global pandemic, the shift to remote has been near-universal for the office-based, professional workforce. So, for what kinds of people did going remote...go great? 


According to our research, when companies used video for corporate comms before the pandemic, employees were over 70% more likely to feel they were well-equipped to adapt. Now, during the pandemic, employees in video-savvy organizations still rate their companies as better adapted. 

An engagement with video means a more successful transition to the future of distributed work

% of professionals who felt their company was well equipped vs. not to transition to remote working, pre-COVID-19:

How successfully have they managed to adapt to remote working?

% of professionals who felt their company was well equipped vs. not to transition to remote working, post-COVID-19:

Leadership using video (pre-COVID-19)

Leadership using video (pre-COVID-19)

Leadership not using video (pre-COVID-19)

Leadership not using video (pre-COVID-19)

Corporate communications have made me feel more secure about our company making it through this and that my job will be secure. It's been great to know where the company stands throughout these times.

Older professionals do learn new tricks.

While Millennials are leading a communication makeover, older groups are making their own moves—to video.

18%

28%

31%

37%

Among Gen X, only 18% reported regular video communication from their leadership pre-pandemic. As the pandemic hit, that grew to 28%. For Baby Boomers, the rise was more dramatic, nearly double their pre-pandemic number. 

Millennials only reported a rise from 31% pre-pandemic to 37% afterwards. 

So, how can three different groups report receiving such different amounts of video communication from their leadership when, most likely, many work for the same companies? 


The insight here lies in perception. For older generations now forced to use video communication, their adoption and engagement has skyrocketed. They have opened up to video and, consequently, are seeing more of it than before. 


This makes a compelling case for the advantages of video broadcasting. Embracing executive video communications helps attract and retain younger employees, while also supporting a shift among older employees.

Personally I should have looked into how to record lectures and make videos years ago…. I almost wish [it] had been a requirement.

Video is embraced by the future of the workforce

% of professionals engaging with streamed video in their workplace

Engaging with video

pre-COVID-19

Engaging with video

post-COVID-19

Receiving video comms from leadership weekly pre-COVID-19

Receiving video comms from leadership weekly post-COVID-19

Get the full report

Get our full findings on the state of workplace communications, plus best practices, in a handy PDF. Just fill out this teensy form.

Chapter 3

How video moves your metrics.

No time? Watch this chapter's summary below.

Boosting collaboration, productivity, and other KPIs.

Our findings suggest that employees at video-savvy companies are:

2X

75%

72%

65%

more likely to rate their company’s collaboration highly

more likely to rate their employee engagement highly

more likely to rate productivity highly

more likely to rate overall company performance / health highly

Compared to their counterparts at video-poor companies that rarely or never communicate via video.

Video usage tied to better KPI scores (post-covid-19)

% of professionals who are highly confident that their companies can weather the challenges of COVID-19 across the following metrics:

Especially powerful in  a pandemic.

How much impact does streaming strategy updates over video make in the grand scheme of a crisis? Turns out, a lot. 

Corporate communications have made me feel more secure about our company making it through this and that my job will be secure. 

At organizations embracing video, professionals are:

67%

50%

59%

39%

more likely to feel confident about maintaining good employee engagement

more likely to say the same about a collaborative environment.

more likely to be confident that their companies can remain profitable

more likely to feel that large-scale layoffs will be avoided

The same can’t be said for organizations who didn’t adopt video during this crisis.

Video usage tied to better KPI scores (post-covid-19)

% of professionals who are highly confident that their companies can weather the challenges of COVID-19 across the following metrics:

Keeping the workforce trained, and safe.

According to our study, 35% of HR professionals report that the global pandemic has made training and onboarding a significant problem for their companies.

Even more striking:

Over 1 in 3 HR professionals say their companies have had to stop certain trainings during the global pandemic. 

An under-trained workforce can be incredibly damaging to businesses. For industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and government, there’s an inherent public safety risk. In others, such as financial and legal services, the risks of noncompliance are obvious—and costly. 


For employees, the long-term effects are harmful in a different way. If an entire generation of professionals miss out on the education crucial to management roles, are we dooming their career potential? 

Video for training, onboarding, and knowledge sharing

% of HR professinals who report their companies have replaced in-person trainings with the following alternatives during the global pandemic:

But some HR professionals have found an alternative to live training during the crisis: Live video. It wins for scale of adoption and also more effectively replaces in-person training than any other format, even traditional LMS (learning management systems).


As we shift into the future of remote work, it seems clear businesses that use video will have an edge over competitors relying on older, less effective methods of training.

I have been pushing us to move to more and more online training for the past few years, and we were pretty much all online by last year. 

HR professionals find live video training to be the most effective alternative to live training

% of HR Professionals who find these alternatives to live training effective

Get the full report

Get our full findings on the state of workplace communications, plus best practices, in a handy PDF. Just fill out this teensy form.

Chapter 4

Rethinking executive presence

No time? Watch this chapter's summary below.

While the message is critical, communication is more than relaying information. Good communication tools can help us feel connected, too. This is where video makes its greatest impact, especially for younger generations.

Weekly updates and communications contributed to confidence in my organization. Transparent information disseminated to employees helped to alleviate anxiety and gave at least me a sense of confidence.

For young folks, in-person isn’t as important.

Only 41% of Millenials and Gen Z professionals say that in-person meetings or communication make them feel like their leadership cares about its employees. Compared to 52% of Gen X and 54% of Boomers. 


Similarly, Boomers are 68% more likely than Millennial and Gen Z professionals to say that in-person communication makes their leadership feel more approachable. 

For the younger workforce, interpersonal ways of connecting are becomming less meaningful

% growth in regular engagement among professions pre vs. post-COVID 19

From our findings, young professionals demand transparency and authenticity from leaders. Yet don’t see in-person interactions as providing those things, at least not like their older colleagues. How to connect with a generation that wants to see leadership, but not, literally, see them? Video is the key. 

We have been getting weekly updates from the CEO via video. [It] seems more personal than a memo and more details can be relayed in a quick 5 minute video over a long memo.

Humanized leaders, aligned employees.

Employees need to be able to relate to and trust their executives, in the best of times. In a crisis, it’s essential. That’s where the humanizing ability of live video helps, even compared to in-person. Think of seeing your CEO in their home over video, to watching them on stage in a suit at the office. 

The benefit of using video during lockdown was overwhelmingly related to connectedness.

No wonder employees are 33% more likely to feel engaged when their leaders embrace video vs. in companies where leadership does not. And more likely to feel connected to their coworkers, and feel more taken care of. 


As most executives know, employee engagement is one of the hardest measures to improve, even with significant effort, time, and resources. But our research shows that simply changing communication mode to video could move the needle by ten percentage points.

Video can cement feelings of alignment and security

% of professionals who agree with the following statements regarding the state of their company during COVID-19

Video-engagers felt more connected to their colleagues than non-engagers, even before covid-19

% who rank their company as good or excellent in terms of the following attributes

The CEO weekly updates made me feel confident in the future due to the more personal nature compared to a memo and they seemed pretty positive throughout all things considered.

Executives, embrace your authenticity.

Live video strips people of polish, filters, and scripting. It creates that sense of “anything could happen” that is reminiscent of real life. It also explains some of the anxieties of doing live video. 


Most business professionals’ biggest issues on video are technical. For high-level executives, it’s more personal.

22%

At least 22% of high-level executives get distracted by their own image at the corner of a video call

9%

Only 9% of professionals at a general level feel distracted this way.

5X

High-level executives are also 5x as likely as average professionals to be worried about their tone on video.

While executives are often quite comfortable speaking to large in-person audiences, video is different. There’s no immediate, obvious feedback via microexpressions and body language. There are no office props and no physical space to take up.


Then there is the vulnerability of giving people a window into your life, perhaps seeing your children, spouse, or pets walk into view. Yet the very thing that gives most executives pause is the same thing that deepens their employees’ relationship with them, and the company.

Real time shows staff that senior leaders are engaged, and on the other hand real time video shows senior leaders that staff is online, available and engaged in meetings.

Video-engagers felt more connected to their colleagues than non-engagers, even before covid-19

% who rank their company as good or excellent in terms of the following attributes

There is something about seeing folks dressed a little more casual on camera. It gives a more informal, we're-all-in-this-together sort of vibe.

Get the full report

Get our full findings on the state of workplace communications, plus best practices, in a handy PDF. Just fill out this teensy form.

Chapter 5

Adapt, or get left behind.

No time? Watch this chapter's summary below.

Sounds harsh, but it’s just the facts.

If there’s one thing our research reveals, it’s that today’s struggles in business culture and alignment will likely become insurmountable if companies don’t learn better strategic video communication.

Nearly 40% of management worry about employees reading, listening to, or watching critical communication in a timely fashion. 


1 in 3 managers say that it’s harder now to keep employees informed about company goals and strategy.

Top challenges for corporate comms

% of professionals who agree with the following statements regarding the state of their company during COVID-19

The global pandemic has given us a glimpse into what being “left behind” looks like and emphasized the need for modern, video-first corporate communication. 


In organizations using video before the crisis, only 26% of executives reported that it had become harder to inform their employees about key strategic updates, post-crisis. Compared with 42% of execs in companies where video was not adopted. 


By adopting video successfully, from the top, companies don’t have to risk either mis-alignment or eroding culture.  

Adopting video early on makes the difference

% of management who think it is easier / harder to keep employees informed on company goals/strategy during COVID-19

Best practices for video success.

So how do you successfully integrate video communications into your business, overcoming technical bumps and gracing the etiquette? 


We’ve compiled the best practices for improving internal communications, according to the voices of employees, into a useful list for you.

Maintain regularly scheduled programming:

  • Regularly scheduled video comms let employees build them into their schedule, and avoids selective or scattershot messaging that leaves part of the workforce in the know and others in the dark. 
  • Consider setting a regularly scheduled time every month, bi-weekly, weekly, or even daily depending on your business needs.
  • At the height of the pandemic, Edelman’s survey showed that a majority of employees wanted to hear from their employers every day.

Keep it short, sweet, and digestible:

  • Make a tight plan and stick to it. You may also find that video condenses the time you might typically invest in an all-company communication. An audio conference or in-person meeting may have been an hour previously. Now a 15 minute video may accomplish the same thing.

Invest in tech that makes everybody’s job easier:

  • Tech issues have the potential to erode confidence and connection.
  • Keep it effective: If no one can hear you, or your video is blurry, or you bury your video address on the corporate intranet behind five layers of passwords, you won’t see all the merits of video communication in the workplace. 

Streamline your experience:

  • Simplify and consumer-ize the employee video experience.
  • Avoid video communication tools that do just one thing well, or prioritize administration over ease of use.
  • Remove friction to video consumption at work to boost its efficacy.

It is all kind of frustrating because we no longer have any uniformity. Any given meeting can be executed on one of 5 platforms! I would just honestly prefer to be all aligned on one.

Go live, but always record too:

  • Live provides immediacy, and it’s critical when a message has to be shared with many people at once.
  • But make recordings available for employees who lack flexibility in their working hours, or want to revisit important messages to further their alignment and understanding.

Your vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness

  • Work-life in the global pandemic has made us rethink “executive presence."
  • Employees want to see their leaders as real people who they can trust during a crisis, not as TV newscasters.
  • Executives should embrace vulnerability and imperfections as a means to build authentic connections with employees. 

Think beyond the town hall

  • Company comms were prioritized by many businesses during the pandemic.
  • Consider filling gaps in training, onboarding, and employee development with video versions. Stopping these altogether may have long-lasting effects. 
  • Shifting from in-person to video communication can help new employees ramp faster, and facilitate the transfer of knowledge, even when the majority of employees work remotely.

Get the full report

Get our full findings on the state of workplace communications, plus best practices, in a handy PDF. Just fill out this teensy form.

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