[This is a reprint of a guest post we contributed to Simply Communicate and distributed to 15K subscribers of their web site]
Based on recent research by IDC, the top three drivers for internal video adoption in organizations are training, video messaging and executive communications. However, while the research reveals the business reasoning behind this trend, each company implements their video programs in different ways.
In this article I’ll share some of the results of my own research I personally conducted by interviewing several organizations across various industries on the kind of business processes and adoption strategies that fuel their internal video programs.
The rise of social and mobile video
There used to be a time when video distribution was as simple as posting a link on the intranet. But the digital workplace has been evolving towards a social and mobile experience, and media content has followed suit, too.
Let’s take for example the Mayo Clinic which invested early on considerable resources in creating a solid infrastructure for internal training. Ernie Hain, Video Production Unit Head, leads a staff of 14 people (8 producers / directors, 4 editors, 2 Motion Graphic artists) tasked to feed their internal cable system with fresh videos serving their 60,000 employees. Nurses and physicians increasingly need this content to be sharable and portable, pushing the company to augment the current distribution model with an internal system enabled for mobile access.
Verizon Wireless launched its VZTube platform in 2005 mostly for training and internal communications. Being a mobile company, they have been strategizing training videos to be easily consumable on small screens in order to support B2B and indirect retail engagements. “Videos are always considered supplemental and never a replacement to official updates,” explained Gary Minor, Midwest Area Employee Communications Manager at Verizon Wireless. “’Employees can quickly familiarize with a topic using media, but we always want them to pay attention to the details.”
Crowdsourcing knowledge from your workforce
Knowledge is one of those assets that is distributed all across an organization. However, establishing the flow of information from those who have it to those who need it has always been a challenge. Using video is a smart way to tackle this problem, although it needs to be contextualized as part of a larger strategy that includes easy ways to capture, categorize and distribute it.
Steven Rath Morgan, Manager Global Learning Process at Xerox, explains how high performing organizations have a strong learning culture. Xerox believes that employees should be encouraged to share knowledge that drives performance, and the company should provide the means to make it happen. That’s why they launched an internal user-generated video platform that encourages everybody to ‘Show, Share, and Lead’ through the power of video on their PCs, tablets or smartphones.
If done correctly, the economics of crowdsourcing content are there. Nina Kelley-Rumpff, Program Manager, Enterprise Collaboration at SAP, told me that the company has been open in letting employees publish their own videos straight to their ‘internal YouTube’ platform. The results? A sounding success with 5000 submissions and half a million views in the first two years of running the program.
Both Xerox and SAP believe that the policing of the content shouldn’t be a task solely assigned to a specific individual or team for pre-approval. Governance can be driven, in part, through social dynamics, which means that employees should be trusted to do the right thing when they create and publish their videos. User-generated content providers cannot upload anonymously. Viewers have the ability to rate, comment and report any content that is inappropriate, and so far neither company has experienced any problem by embracing this open approach.
Correlating motivation to social video
In his book Drive, best-selling author Daniel Pink explores the triggers of human motivation. He argues that employees can be organically motivated by the challenge of self-improvement and achieving common and higher goals, provided they are given some autonomy to make that happen.
How do those findings relate to video in the enterprise? Very well, indeed. Let’s think about what could persuade people to spend time recording themselves to the benefits of others. After all, everybody is already busy with their day jobs, and they might not be interested in spending time learning how to shoot or edit videos.
There are a couple of approaches here: the first one is to include these deliverables as part of the employee commitments. This might work to a certain extent, but anecdotal evidence shows that people will create videos out of the necessity of being compliant with their goals more than anything else. The second approach is to demonstrate value in sharing knowledge by correlating this effort to an opportunity of showcasing expertise in a particular field.
The latter will likely yield the best results, and the company should consider ways to leverage internal communications to praise those efforts which will ultimately translate in a positive boost of the contributors’ reputation.
Adding game mechanics to the mix
Gamification is a fashionable word these days. By gamifying a process, you reward people for accomplishing certain tasks and reaching various goals. The rewards could be tangible or intangible.
To accelerate user generated contributions, Microsoft had a program called Academy Rewards, named after their enterprise YouTube platform. Employees accrued points for each video they uploaded and they also received points when people watched them. This stimulated employees not only to create content but also to advertise it among their colleagues. Points were then redeemable for tech gadgets via an online store.
Another popular way to get employees involved is to run internal contests. Laura Shanley, Staff Employee Communications Specialist at Qualcomm, explained to me how the company recently asked employees to record a video on why they loved to work there. The campaign was named ‘I ♥ Q’ and produced more than 200 short user generated clips involving more than one thousand employees. The outcome was so successful that Qualcomm decided to remix those videos into a single montage and use it to kick off their company meeting. It was also submitted to the ‘Great Place To Work’ contest. This initiative accomplished multiple goals, including fostering team building by incentivizing employees to meet new colleagues to create a video.
If there is a single lesson to draw from my research it is that employees can be a great source of stories and learning content if you know how to engage and motivate them properly. The companies who let go some of the control on user generated content are the ones that are benefiting the most from this approach