What the Workforce of the Future Expects from HR Videos

By Andrew Davies

Millennial and Gen Z workers have different expectations of HR communications and video plays a huge role. Here’s what they’re looking for.

Higher Quality

“…many employees are sophisticated viewers and will have high expectations of any benefits-related video.”

– Vern Oakley

Younger workers take the ubiquity of video for granted. They have been immersed in platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch for most of their lives. Even though their expectations for production value vary depending on the context. For example, viewers tend not to expect the lighting and camera work of a brand video on TikTok. But most people associate production value with credibility. They’re bringing this bias into the workplace. Expecting that their employer will put the same level of effort into speaking to them, as they do when speaking to their customers. It’s seen as a necessary part of consistent branding.

“Employee brand and reputation—the story that employees in the external world tell about your company’s employee experience—will be a critical competitive differentiator.”

Josh Bersin et al

To deal with this demand for brand-consistent, high-quality HR videos, some companies are consolidating all communications (to employees and customers) under one department. This might not always be possible. If so, make sure that the person or team in charge of employee-focused videos has access to similar professional resources as the marketing team.

“When we’re talking about advertising or branding or public relations, the employee message is considered and incorporated as well.”

-Dave Aker, senior vice president of worldwide human resources, Unisys Corp (quoted in SHRM)

Focus on Purpose

“ It used to be that people went to work for a paycheck, but now people are looking for a higher purpose, something to get them out of bed in the morning besides just money. They want to have meaning in their jobs.”

– Lisa Mcleod, Keynote Speaker, Best-Selling Author of Selling with Noble Purpose

If you want to attract and keep a millennial workforce you need to focus on the higher purposes of their job. Traditional incentives like pay and health benefits won’t cut it anymore. There’s a growing realization that work isn’t merely about where you spend most of your day. It’s a fundamental part of one’s identity. So millennials, and the coming Gen Z workforce, need to know that they’re investing their talent into a worthwhile mission and are having a tangible impact.

You need to produce videos that show employees how their work matters. This could be through client testimonials or video job descriptions that illustrate the value of their work to customers and the broader community. The advantages of purpose-filled videos extend beyond your employee’s sense of self-worth. This affects your business outcomes as well. As Deloitte reports in their 2019 Global Human Capital Trends:

“Wharton management professor Adam Grant found that call center employees were 171 percent more productive when they had the opportunity to spend time learning about the impact their services were having on the end customer.”

– Deloitte 2019 Global Human capital Trends

Personalized Education

“We know today’s learners have high expectations for learning experiences that are highly relevant, personalized, and engaging.”

Abbey LewisHarvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning

L&D departments and budgets are growing, proving a growing acceptance that offering employees opportunities to upskill is a vital part of business success. We’re also seeing a clear preference for video-based learning formats over paper-based or instructor-lead training. One reason for this is the inherent flexibility this offers since learners can choose when and how quickly they do the training. What makes online learning even more important is that this expectation for on-demand training is seen across the major generations currently in the workforce, not just Millennials and Gen Z.

For companies willing to commit to the customization that comes with video-based learning there are plenty of options available covering a wide spectrum of implementation levels. From AI-powered ‘learning coaches’ delivered through an internal LMS like Docebo, to internal YouTube-like experiences from Learn Your Benefits or Brandlive’s video-training platform. For those more apprehensive, even incorporating an element of video somewhere in a course can see a lift in engagement according to HR Technologist.

“Survey data shows that employees want self-directed learning opportunities accessible in the flow of work. One way to accomplish that is through online learning, which enables employees to learn in the moment of need.”

– Linkedin Learning 2019 Workplace Training Report

Freedom of Mobility

“Creating the best possible employee experience is about getting the right message in the right media to the right person at the right time”

– Jennifer Benz in Workforce magazine

As faster data speeds make streaming media on phones and tablets more prevalent, the demand for mobile access to HR videos will become harder to ignore. Tied to the expectation of personalized training paths is the desire to access these materials while on the go. Consider remote workers, those with long commutes or whose jobs don’t require them to be at a desk all day. Using a mobile-friendly platform distribution platform for videos means your entire workforce has access to the material they’re most likely going to learn from.

“For those who enable learners with mobile today, you can provide [an] incentive for employees to join your company, benefit from a modern onboarding experience, and better retain employees in the long run by empowering them to do their job every day.”

– Jeff Carr, CEO of Inkling in HR Technologist

So What does this mean?

The HR communications landscape is always shifting. In the past companies could afford for their employee communication efforts to lag behind their front-facing media. But now that there’s an increasing focus on the employee experience13, the bar is being set higher and only those companies incorporating video throughout their entire communications portfolio are meeting those demands. Creating high-quality HR videos that excite workers with a sense of purpose and give them the tools to better themselves whenever and wherever they want can no longer be a luxury.