Video editing by Shaan Chadha and Colin Hohman
Information in this explainer video was gathered from Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group’s report, “The Role of CLO: What’s Next?”
Video editing by Shaan Chadha and Colin Hohman
Information in this explainer video was gathered from Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group’s report, “The Role of CLO: What’s Next?”
Video dominates social media feeds; soon, it may also dominate recruiting.
“The war for talent has not been this bad in many, many years,” said Jeff Hyman, adjunct lecturer of management and organizations Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and chief talent officer at Chicago-based executive recruiting firm Strong Suit Executive Search. “Using every possible, conceivable angle and tool has become a necessity for recruiting.”
Video is especially effective at storytelling, which is why it’s so valuable in advertising. The same goes for recruitment, Hyman said, as video brings elements to life better than a written job description.
Specifics of video creation, content and promotion can be daunting, though. Here are 13 pieces of advice for using videos in recruiting:
1. Share the basic information. Viewers will want to see the physical environment and the company’s people in action, but they will also want to hear why the company is unique and a great place to work, Hyman said. It’s also important to have a person’s job title appear on screen with them. Providing context of what the person does will help viewers.
2. Include the right people. “Candidates do not want to see a video of just the CEO,” said Will Staney, founder and principal consultant of Proactive Talent Strategies, a recruitment consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. “That is not going to give them an idea of the actual experience for them.” Instead, have a mix of various levels at the organization. Include the same people with whom the candidate would interview. Briefly feature the company’s leadership, having them talk about values and mission of the company, but also show a direct peer and someone in a cross-functional role.
3. Highlight questions candidates tend to have. “The more you can answer their questions pre phone screen or pre interview, the more you can get down to just assessing the mutual fit rather than the typical FAQs [during the interview],” Staney said. People tend to want to know what it’s like to work at the company and what kind of people do well at the organization.
4. Keep the videos short. “It doesn’t have to be an epic movie,” Hyman said. Keep videos between two and five minutes long.
5. Make multiple videos. Because different people can have dramatically different experiences in their day-to-day work, it would be beneficial to have videos targeting different audiences, Hyman said. For example, software developers could talk about products built and tools used, and sales could talk about customers and travel. Hyman suggested producing videos all at once to save money, and then releasing them in stages to keep content flowing.
6. Keep it genuine and fun. “I want to see the video and say, ‘This is a place that sounds interesting, and these people sound interesting, and I’d have an interest in learning more,’ ” Hyman said. And although people should consider what they’ll say in advance, scripts should not be part of the video. “It’s got to demonstrate authenticity,” he said.
7. Include a call to action. It would be a missed opportunity to have a viewer sit through a video, be interested in the company and then have nowhere directing them to learn more or apply for a job, Hyman said. Make sure there’s a next step that sends the viewer to a landing page on the company’s career site. The video should also appear there with a description of the company and potentially with bios and images of individuals featured in the video, he said.
8. Promote extensively. “You want to share it far and wide, high and low,” Hyman said. Videos should appear on various social media channels, particularly Facebook, which has targeted ads he has found to be very effective.
Hyman also advised leaders to include a link to videos in every job description, which will help the posting come to life. Additionally, sharing videos to Glassdoor and LinkedIn pages for the company can help to address any negative reviews.
Before promoting, however, it’s important to first think about the target audience of the video, said Robin Dagostino, director of employer branding and creative media at SAP, an enterprise resource planning software company headquartered in Germany. Based on where the intended viewer spends their time online, that’s where SAP places the video, including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, Wayvo, university websites, WeChat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. SAP also encourages employees to share videos to their personal social media channels.
9. Include the right people in production of videos. If wanting to get employees involved, the company can make it a contest, Hyman said. Employees can shoot their videos and then email them to human resources. “You can actually make it a unifying event for your company,” he said.
While internal talent can be valuable in creating video content, companies typically use their marketing department or hire specialized firms externally, Staney said.
10. Watch out for copyright issues. People in the video shouldn’t wear clothes with branding on them. This is a commercial video, so be careful of potential copyright infringement, Staney said.
Additionally, don’t use copyrighted music without owning the license or without paying a royalty for it, Staney advised. Algorithms will catch that on YouTube or mute them. Get royalty-free music, purchase licensing rights or record your own.
11. Match music to the tone. If it’s more of a serious, documentary-style video, use softer music. If it’s a fun, goofy video of an office party, choose an upbeat tune. “Just try to match the music to the true feel and tone of the video,” Staney said. In the end, music shouldn’t be a distraction from the content and things that people are saying.
12. Update videos every couple of years. Even if an employee leaves, it’s typically not necessary to redo the video, Staney said. As long as the main elements and cultural items shared are still true, it’s just fine. “You’re capturing a moment in time,” he said. It doesn’t make what’s in that video any less true a few months later, unless the company has dramatically transformed. However, if the company name changes, moves location or is acquired, then an update is in order.
13. Explore live video with caution. The recruiting world will see more live video, Staney said, which is typically unfiltered and unedited. There will be employers doing live question-and-answer sessions with hiring managers and leaders, in which candidates can join and ask questions to have it be more interactive.
SAP has found success in its live video content, which includes Q&As between department heads and outside audiences, Dagostino said. The company also takes live video of speeches its managers make at conferences. Employees in videos should be prepped on content to discuss, without it feeling too staged or scripted. One of the biggest challenges is with audio, so it’s important to be sure connections are good.
“There’s always challenges that you face,” Dagostino said, but if one does their due diligence, they should see success.
Not everyone thinks live video is a good idea, so leaders should be cautious. “Live video makes me really nervous,” Strong Suit’s Hyman said. “A lot of things can go wrong.”
Lauren Dixon is an associate editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For most organizations, sales is a high-stakes, make-or-break business initiative.
At Cox Automotive, a business unit formed from the consolidation of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises’ automotive businesses in 2014, it was complicated by the merger of what had previously been distinct sales teams spread across the country into one unified brand.
Between 2010 and 2015, Cox Automotive acquired Autotrader Inc., Kelley Blue Book and Dealer.com. Integrating each brand’s sales force into one team posed a challenge. After the merger, some salespeople had extensive knowledge in some areas and products and little knowledge in others.
“We wanted a solution that would help bridge the gaps so they could learn from one another after going through some regular product and sales-type training,” said Michael Whatley, Cox Automotive senior manager of learning design and operations in the media solutions group and sales operations. “We wanted to give them a platform that they could communicate and learn best practices from one another.”
The company settled on an approach that used the interactive video platform from Practice, a Philadelphia-based learning technology company, to enable peer-to-peer coaching and assessment and give the separate teams the ability to learn from one another.
Whatley said the biggest reason Cox Automotive chose to use Practice was the platform’s ability to allow salespeople to assess each other’s verbal and nonverbal cues using a consistent rubric. Another benefit is that if there is a superstar performance, Cox could use that video as a best practice for the rest of the team, he added.
Driving Peer-to-Peer Success
Cox leaders upload a video prompt to the cloud-based platform and sales representatives record and upload a video of their response. Examples include asking sales representatives what products they would present in a sales scenario with an auto dealer or presenting a specific objection to a product.
Some sales representatives were submitting responses after trying four or five times to get it just right. “It gives them a chance to practice, tweak and refine their response before they submit,” Whatley said.
Emily Chonko, senior manager for business development at Cox Automotive, said the platform is effective at appealing to different learning styles. “It’s a well-rounded approach to learning,” said Chonko, who manages seven salespeople. Visual learners benefit from watching and learning from others, and those who like to learn through doing are able to practice by recording themselves, she added.
As the Cox Automotive salespeople submit their response to the prompts, the videos are reviewed by peers who provide time-stamped feedback and comments with a score based on a set of pre-established criteria.
“Their whole selling point is making sure that peer-to-peer interaction is really important — and it’s definitely something we saw proved through the feedback we got from the team,” Whatley said. “Having that extra layer of peer interaction as opposed to straight manager or trainer coaching was really beneficial.”
Whatley said peer feedback allowed people well versed in Autotrader.com and Kelley Blue Book to get feedback from others who knew the products of Dealer.com and vice versa. “It allowed them to play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses so they all are lifted up together,” he said.
Diana Thomas, an independent executive coach and former vice president of training, learning and development for McDonald’s Corp., said the Cox approach is an innovative way to use employees to train other employees. “Companies will win and thrive in any economic environment if they can tap into that base of knowledge of their employees,” she said.
Aside from saving the cost of having an expert coach employees across the country, Thomas said it also helps establish a culture of collaboration and nurturing others. The only downside is that a peer platform depends on people who may not be skilled in giving feedback. Sometimes they could come across as too harsh or condescending, she said.
“How people give the feedback can sometimes be challenging because not everybody gives feedback the way an individual wants it. They tend to give feedback how they would want to get it,” Thomas said.
She said it’s important to train people on how to give feedback to ensure that it comes across as intended and aligns with the company’s culture. Chonko said she hasn’t seen negative effects in her team.
In the Practice platform, managers can also submit their own videos and Whatley said manager submissions were viewed and graded by trainers and subject matter experts.
How It Works
Cox Automotive has a desired proficiency rate of 80 percent. If sales representatives don’t hit that mark, they take feedback given by peers and instructors and are asked to retake it, but Whatley said most people pass on the first try. They can also view a model response developed by the training team to refine their presentation going forward.
“The business development team are our Type A hunter salespeople,” Whatley said. “They are the ones that really want to learn, they want to go out and be successful — so they really took to learning from one another.”
The platform was originally rolled out in January 2017 at the annual sales meeting where Cox expanded the business development team. Whatley said salespeople were asked to stay an extra couple of days so they could receive product training. From there, they were assigned the video role-based project and introduced to the platform.
After giving the team three prompts with a three-week turnaround for completed videos, they received primarily positive responses. Whatley said sales representatives liked that they received quality comments from peers as opposed to thoughtless comments to simply get through the exercise.
While most salespeople were on board from the beginning, Whatley said the main pushback was due to nervousness about being on camera. “Even though these are Type A people that stand up in front of people delivering presentations all day every day … once you turn that red light on the camera it’s a different ball game,” he said.
But once they saw their peers do it and put themselves in a vulnerable place, salespeople were more willing to accept the reasoning behind it. “They understand the benefit of role-play [through video] far outweighs the cost of having to bring everyone together to do a traditional role-play,” Whatley said.
Speeding Up Sales
Whatley said the video role-play gives the sales representatives the same kind of coaching and in-the-moment feedback that in-person role-play does but also allows them to get feedback from people around the country they might not normally hear from and with particular brand expertise.
Thomas, whose own coaching is done primarily virtually, said the pros of virtual training far outweigh the cons. It is significantly cheaper and can scale. “If you can use technology but make it personable, it really can fill the gaps and create this cohesiveness when people aren’t in the same location,” she said.
Beyond cost savings and cultural integration, Whatley said Cox can’t point to an increase in dollar amount of product sold yet but said business development teams are more comfortable with the full suite of solutions than they were before the program rolled out.
“The way we measure comfort with solutions is based on increased sales in those product areas … and using this team as sales subject matter experts for training other teams,” Whatley said. “During our initial pilot, we had 150 people in the platform and have expanded that to upward of 400.”
Dealer success consultants, another part of the Cox Automotive business development team who consult with auto dealers about their digital marketing strategy, are also running into a similar challenge with understanding the intricacies and nuances of the newly merged platforms: Autotrader.com, Kelley Blue Book and Dealer.com.
In coming months, Cox will use the platform to assess their ability to have client business conversations including discussing metrics and recommended optimization strategies. The platform will also be incorporated into Cox’s new hire program to facilitate role-play and feedback.
Chonko said Cox has been moving more toward a virtual learning environment over the past two years and has found it to be a more robust way of learning.
“What was compelling about this experience was being tasked with a video as opposed to a simple Q&A or a simple multiple-choice quiz at the end to test knowledge,” she said. “Video tasked us with framing up the conversation and being able to articulate it.”
Ave Rio is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below or email editor@CLOmedia.com.
Two years ago, Lincoln Financial Group faced a training challenge that will be familiar to learning leaders in many big companies: Employees needed additional training on more topics but they had little time to spend in a classroom. And, resources were stretched thin.
“We saw a lot of change taking place in our industry, but we had a very limited budget for training and development across the company,” said Jen Warne, senior vice president of talent and human resources.
The Fortune 250 insurance and investment management company has more than 9,000 employees in six U.S. locations. Many of them work in siloed business units with little access to leaders in the Radnor, Pennsylvania, headquarters or even with colleagues in other business units, Warne said.
Along with providing easy-to-access training on new technologies and industry trends, the learning and development team wanted to topple the barriers and offer employees more insights into the company and their career opportunities within it.
It was a tall order, but by harnessing the knowledge of experts and using the existing company technology, the team designed a model for learning that highlights the company, the financial industry, and employees’ own skills development needs.
In 2016, the learning and development team rolled out Learning in Action, which features a series of webinars, videos, articles and other online content that employees can access on demand. “It’s all about bringing learning to employees at the right time without a huge financial investment,” Warne said.
The program is segmented into three categories with defined goals for each:
Cheap and Authentic
The Learning in Action program brings many benefits to the company and its employees, says Pearl Sumathi, vice president and head of talent development. “To begin with, it’s very cost effective,” she said. The content is stored on the company’s existing learning management system and the videos are produced and edited in-house through a collaboration between the learning department and the marketing and communication staff. The live webinars are streamed via the company’s existing intranet to all 9,000 employees, then converted to video and stored on the LMS. As a result, the program required no major capital expenditure on technology, Sumathi said.
And because the content is largely based on interviews and presentations, it also takes relatively little time on the part of experts and the production team to create. The interview subjects are briefed on the theme and goals for the interview, but everything they say on camera is from their own experience. “Because it’s not scripted it feels more authentic,” Sumathi said.
The biggest challenge the production team faced was making sure the experts felt comfortable sharing their stories in a consistent, digestible way that would translate well to an eight-to-10-minute video, said Jeffrey Giacoponello, assistant vice president and talent partner. “In order to overcome this, we created a framework of questions for leaders to answer, which provides a consistent methodology to share business-related content.”
The result is engaging content that captures employees’ attention to make them feel more connected to the leadership team. “Seeing senior managers acknowledge the struggles they’ve had in their careers and how they overcome them is powerful,” Warne said. Employees also like the access to senior leaders who they otherwise may never encounter.
In the live webinars, much of the content is built around a Q&A format, which again requires experts to respond to questions in real time rather than having a formal script. Being able to submit questions during the event causes viewers to be more invested in the presentation and pushes the conversation in a more meaningful direction. “It makes it more engaging,” Warne said.
Warne’s hope is that the interactive exchanges and authentic stories will provide employees with new insights into their own career paths and where learning can help them get to the next level.
That was the response Robert Fisk had when he viewed his first Careers in Action video featuring the company’s chief accounting officer, Christine Janofsky. While Fisk’s job as director of operational initiatives doesn’t directly involve accounting, he is responsible for his team’s budget and he was intrigued by the opportunity to hear her speak about her position. “Having unfiltered access to a senior leader is very enticing,” he said. Hearing Janofsky talk about the financial side of the business and how the company generates returns and positions itself in the industry helped him think about the company differently. “It gave me a better understanding of how things work, and where my team fits into the bigger picture,” he said. Months later he still draws on what he learned from that video when making corporate financial decisions.
He has since watched three more videos from the program, including one on agile project management presented by an expert from the IT group in the shared services division, which has helped him to think about his next career move. Fisk has long been interested in IT and is now considering project management training as a way to move toward an IT role.
“These videos are helping me gain acumen in other areas of the company,” he said. “That makes me a stronger employee, and it makes the organization stronger as a whole.”
Splash, Then Drip
Fisk isn’t the only one impacted by the program. In the first year, the content had more than 6,000 views thanks to heavy promotion by the marketing department and human resources. “It’s so important to involve marketing in promoting these programs,” Sumathi said.
In the week leading up to the launch, the marketing department rolled out a “splash campaign” promoting the program every day via company newsletters, announcements on the intranet, emails and fliers distributed to employees, Giacoponello said. They followed up with “drip campaigns” sending reminder notes and occasional promotions when there is new content to keep the program top of mind. They also created a calendar of new content so there is always something new to see. “We want to keep it fresh so they keep coming back,” he said.
Giacoponello plans content out four months in advance to ensure he can get on leaders’ calendars and still have time for editing and content promotion. To be sure the content is relevant, he meets with business unit leaders and HR to identify the important topics and experts to highlight. “If we want learning to continue to have an impact, we have to stay aligned with the needs of the organization,” Giacoponello said. Talking with business unit leaders and HR ensures the learning team isn’t making decisions in a bubble.
Every 60 days they add new videos and supporting content, and they are confident this program will become a long-term component of Lincoln Financial’s core learning strategy.
“The real power of this platform is that it is generic but impactful,” Warne said. No matter how the industry changes or what new experts come to the company, they can use Learning in Action to share those stories. “It’s a plug-and-play solution that can be molded for any learning need.”
Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in Chicago. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com.
Instructure announced on Nov. 28 that the company acquired Practice, a Philadelphia-based company that specializes in peer-to-peer video coaching and assessment. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
“This acquisition reflects our ongoing commitment to provide our customers with experiences that make it easy to learn and improve,” said Mitch Benson, Instructure senior vice president of product in a press release. “When people are engaged and have a way to receive actionable, open feedback and coaching, their competency and confidence levels increase.”
Salt Lake City-based Instructure’s products include Bridge, a software-as-a-service learning management system for corporate learning, as well as Canvas in the K-12 and higher education market and Arc, a video learning product.
The company was founded in 2008 by two graduate students from Brigham Young University and began trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange in 2015. Instructure reported revenue of $42.9 million in the third quarter 0f 2017, an increase of 43 percent from the prior year.
Founded in 2011, Practice employs 22 people with offices in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Clients include Comcast, Cox Automotive, Domino’s Pizza and UCSF Medical School.
“Six years ago, when we started Practice (then known as ApprenNet), there was one company in the education technology space that we looked at to model ourselves after,” said Emily Foote, Practice co-founder and chief client officer, in a blog post on the company’s website.
“That company was Instructure, the makers of Canvas, Bridge, Arc, and Gauge. Today, we are beyond excited to announce that we are now part of the company that we always strived to model ourselves after.”
With the explosion of online education, business leaders have a new tool to develop their organization’s talent. Still, there are some distinctions leaders should consider when using online platforms vs. face-to-face learning.
One of the biggest draws of online education — the ability to learn anytime, anywhere — can also be its biggest drawback. The distance between peers means online courses need to get creative to promote learner collaboration.
To accomplish social collaboration online, Larry Bouthillier, an instructor of computer science at Harvard Extension School and director of online education at New England Institute of Technology, instructs his students to do weekly practice problems and exercises, followed by their peers assessing the work and providing feedback. This helps his students get to know each other in an online environment, which in turn helps them learn the course material.
Another way to reach students is through online video. More than 80 percent of smartphone users stream video, according to The NPD Group Inc., a market research firm, making the medium an effective way to engage users online.
Bouthillier said his courses feature canned videos as well as informal ones, which he said promotes student engagement and success. His informal videos last between seven and 14 minutes, and he keeps his tone conversational, avoiding a lecturing style. “More importantly, I do fresh video every week, in which I talk about interactions with students the prior week. It shows I’m listening and reacting and that I care about what students are doing,” Bouthillier said.
In some cases, online education is a great tool for in-person learning. Gautam Kaul, a special counsel on academic innovation to the provost at University of Michigan and a professor of finance and business administration who also teaches on Coursera, said his students learn course material online outside of class time, which is then used to reinforce concepts through peer discussion and application. This helps students learn more in the same amount of time, Kaul said.
Lauren Dixon is an associate editor at Talent Economy. Comment below or email editor@CLOmedia.com.
This article was originally published in Chief Learning Officer‘s sister publication Talent Economy.