A Recipe for Making Great Employee Videos (…and winning approval to use them)

A capable Employment Branding effort will deliver to the public impressions of what it’s like to work at your company. I always recommend the importance of telling an authentic story, and who better to tell it like it is than the ones living it, the employees. This can be tricky, particularly with executives who fear the story may not fit their image of the company. This is why polished CEO videos are so prevalent. Sadly, they’re also typically the most ignored element, since site visitors view them as propaganda.

Getting “front line” employee’s honest impressions onto the career page will greatly impact a prospect’s perception of your company. Accomplishing this using video will attract the greatest number of views and is far and away the best method to share your story.

If you find it difficult to get it approved, fear not, I have steps for you to help overcome this. It can be challenging, but there are methods that can be used to leap over these hurdles. Below you’ll find a “recipe” for creating authentic videos that are easier to gain approval. Once added to your career pages and shared on Social Media, these videos will greatly move the needle for converting Career Site Visitors as high-quality applicants.

The Ingredients

3            - Questions or topic any employee will have positive things to comment on

6-8         - Outgoing and enthusiastic employees not shy about sharing opinions

1            - Email requesting employees to share opinions/comments

1            - Smartphone Video camera

1            - A simple external microphone you can use with your Smartphone (optional)

1            - Spreadsheet column full of recurring Glassdoor comments

1            - Spreadsheet column listing the employee transcribed answers from your video

1            - Simple to use Video Editing Software (iMovie, WeVideo, Loopster, etc.)

1            - Executive or Sr. Management Decision Maker

1            - Company Career Page and Social Media platforms

 

The Recipe: Getting Started

The first thing I would do is to collect the most prominent Glassdoor comments and use these as a baseline to make your case for your employment branding videos. If you work at a company with few Glassdoor comments, you can still make the case for using “employee generated content.” Instead of Glassdoor content, you’ll need to determine how the talent marketplace views your company. Later in this post, I’ll give you the details of how to obtain this view, but for now, let’s focus on Glassdoor.

The objective is embracing the anonymous Glassdoor sentiments and comparing them to what actual employees think from real live comments captured on video. Take your collection of the most prominent Glassdoor comments and plot them separately in a column of a spreadsheet (4-6 should do it). These comments are ingredients that will be used later in our recipe.  

Positive Traits that Support the EVP

Whether you have established an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) or not, regardless of what’s said on Glassdoor, there should be several (4-6) positive attributes or traits that you feel make the company a good place to work. List 3 things that you’re confident are viewed positively by most employees. It could be the natural light everyone basks in, monthly celebrations of company accomplishments or the number of smiles that employees encounter each day. Take these cool things about your company and think of questions that will clearly drive positive comments when employees are asked.

Making it Real

Now it’s time to decide on which employees to have in your videos. One of the best and easiest ways to get employees involved is to make it fun. To set the stage, create a list of the front-line employees (non-management) who are known to have opinions and are not afraid to voice them (typically the extraverts). These are the outgoing people that ham it up and have something to say about everything (if you’re unsure and have HR Generalists or HRBP’s on staff, they will know who to approach). 

When crafting this employee list, don’t focus only on the most photogenic, also include people who are representative of average employees. Send them an email letting them know you’ll be stopping by their work area to ask them about your 2-3 positive topics.

Unpolished Video is the Key

A sure fire way to make it fun is to grab your mobile phone and answer your own questions in a video selfie. Try to make your answers fun (or get someone you know to be your guinea pig). When you get to your employee’s work area, warm up your subjects by showing them your video. Then turn the camera around and ask them the same questions and record their answers. To get a good audio level, use an external microphone, do a close-up, or do it in a closed in space where there isn’t a wide area for the sound to bounce around. Challenge them while you’re filming to outdo your example, but be sure to keep their response to 10 seconds or so (also be sure to keep the outtakes or do-overs as these can be better than the planned out answers). For later ease of editing, be sure to start and stop recording between each take. It’s real time consuming trying to find on a long video where the best take is. Having each question asked as a separate take will make your editing time go more smoothly later.

Here are a few ways you can frame your questions to get an interesting response:

“With all the natural light, how many days a week do you need to bring sun lotion to work for the best tan (wearing sunglasses while answering is optional)”

“I see you’re developing new laugh lines on your face, how many smiles do you return each day?

“I know Free Beer Fridays are important, but why did you really decide to join the company?”

The idea is to get as many employee video responses as possible (10+), the more the better.

Authenticity

No doubt, if you follow this recipe you’ll get several impromptu and mostly unvarnished employee views from employees that talent prospects will trust the most. With very simple video editing software (Loopster, WeVideo or iMovie are ridiculously easy to use), you can stitch your video clips together. With you asking the question off camera, with 10-15 ten second answers all edited one after the other, you’ll have a 60-120 second video for each set of positive comments you ask about. This is the sweet spot for video length, and you now have employee generated content ready to place on your career site or to share on any other social media platform (Instagram, Snap, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

Getting Approval to Use Your Videos

The trick is getting your videos approved for use. This is where your Glassdoor content comes in. Although executives are familiar with Glassdoor, they’re probably not deeply aware of the specific comments or the vibe that is found there about the company. Obviously, there are executives that are acutely aware, but by comparing the employee comments from your videos with those found on Glassdoor this can help with approval.

You Have Little to No Glassdoor Content

(Skip this next paragraph if you have plenty of Glassdoor comments to work with, if not read on…)

If your Glassdoor content is sparse or unusable, you can still use this process. What is needed is a list of the generally accepted views of the company by the external talent marketplace. If you aren’t sure, you can get this list by asking each of your recruiters to send you the 3-4 things most prospects think about the company. If they’ve been recruiting for more than 6 months, they’ll be able to easily answer that question. Put these recruiter answers all in a column on a spreadsheet (in place of the Glassdoor comments mentioned below) and follow the next steps.

External View Comparison with Employee View

Transcribe the positive comments made by the employees in your videos into text and place them on the spreadsheet you started above with the Glassdoor comments. Place them in a column next to the Glassdoor comments for easy comparison. Then get a meeting with your decision maker to review them.

Regardless of the negative or positive nature of the Glassdoor content, your new content will shine bright by comparison. The objective is to get your decision maker to realize the value of your newly canvassed commentary. In this way the decision bar is moved from whether the employee generated comments should be used, to “how” they will be used.

Use Your Videos to Close the Deal

Before being asked what you’re proposing to do, press play on your 2-3 edited videos and show them how transparent and authentic they are.

Mention that the lower resolution and less steady camera movements highlight that these videos are not company propaganda, but real employees telling it like it is. Let them know that 100M hours of this type of video quality is viewed on Facebook every day, and it’s what your talent prospect audience expects to see. Finally, mention that 90% of serious candidates will research your company by poring over the Career Page and that these videos should be a key part in cementing their interest. Only a very short-sighted decision maker will keep you from using this hard-won content.

Where to use your Employee Generated Content?

Your videos can be of interest to talent prospects trolling in your social channels, but by far the best place to use them is on your own company Career Page. Once a person begins to consider you as a potential next employer, the first thing they do will be to go to your website to check you out. A video from the CEO or executives is nice, but prospects trust their message the least. Unscripted videos from everyday employees will be trusted the most and generate a great amount of interest for prospects thinking about making an application.

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