How to make your employee onboarding video more engaging

Business leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve employee engagement in order to raise productivity and keep turnover low. While many of these leaders focus on retaining veteran employees, HR professionals say long-term retention begins with the onboarding process.

This should come as no surprise. Onboarding is an employee’s first opportunity to get a real feel for the company. That first impression sets the tone for their workplace experience. If the onboarding process doesn’t engage them, it establishes a less-than-desirable precedent going forward.

Video is an engaging medium that can mitigate this issue. People retain a staggering 95 percent of information from video, compared to just 10 percent with text. Video onboarding and training can help employees start their jobs with a clearer understanding of what you have shared. To ensure your onboarding video is a success, review the tips below.

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1. Organize your onboarding video based on your priorities

“Why are you creating this onboarding video? Let that guide your video’s flow,” says Guy Bauer, CEO and creative director at Umault. For example, if you’re a mission-driven company, then lead with a high-level overview of your business vision and values.

Is your company culture a defining characteristic? Showcase that up front in the video, especially if it’s a primary way you attract talent. After covering your most pressing “why,” move on to other important information, such as how your company works or the importance of customer service.

“Administrative concerns will likely come last — employee ID cards, email policies, and so on,” Bauer explains.

2. Be genuine

Laura Handrick, HR professional at Choosing Therapy, says it’s important to make your onboarding video as genuine as possible. Avoid using stick figures or similarly illustrated visuals. Instead, include veteran employees, and encourage them to have real dialogue. Consider having two current employees sit down and follow a talk show-like structure.

“The employees could converse about workplace topics you want new hires to grasp,” Handrick says. “Support their dialogue with captions and graphics that reinforce key points — but keep the captions brief so new hires can focus on the dialogue.”

3. Strike a balance between off-the-cuff and scripted videos

An engaging onboarding video flows in an organized fashion without feeling rigid, says Morgan Taylor, CMO at LetMeBank. He recommends making a list of topics you want to cover before filming.

“You can record each section individually, then edit those clips together,” Taylor says. “Otherwise, if your employees start waffling in the middle of the video, new hires will tune out and not retain what’s being shared.”

Bauer, of Umault, adds that employees should speak freely instead of memorizing scripts word for word. “Memorization comes off as stiff,” he says. “You want them to stay on message, of course, but let them communicate the information how they would naturally.”

4. Add relevant visuals

Bolster and reinforce what your employees say in your onboarding video by adding visuals to enhance the experience. These may be scenic shots of your office, shots of employees collaborating together on a project, or footage of past company events. You can use anything that helps new hires visualize what it’s like to work for your company.

Shubham, digital adoption manager at Apty, advises showing what your employees are discussing to reinforce what they are saying. “If you’re talking about how to use your software, show what it looks like,” he says. “If you’re talking about a business process, consider using an animation showing the flow.”

5. Separate long onboarding videos into individual segments

“No one wants to sit and watch a 60-minute onboarding video,” says Shubham. Given the short attention span many people have, new hires may start to lose interest with even the most engaging videos. To avoid this, consider separating a long video into logical pieces.

For example, do a five-minute video about your office campus, followed by a live, guided tour that shows new hires their new workplace. Then, return to your training room and have new hires watch the next video segment. This will add variety to the onboarding sequence and hold the attention of your new hires.

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