According to figures from Zoom, total time spent using video conferencing solutions saw a five-fold increase as the pandemic deepened, with nearly 60% of businesses expected to see their employees to continue to use video conferences post-pandemic.
Like all business technologies, video must be implemented with care and attention. As a tool, video conferencing has been booming right across the business landscape. But when the focus is turned on specific business functions – most notably HR – even more care and attention is needed to ensure the technology is used appropriately.
For businesses in general, video will continue to be a key communications tool as they move into their post-pandemic futures. Video will continue as an essential tool for HRs, but also vital for internal communication as well. From instructional videos to video content that support a business’s culture, the tools to create high-quality video content have never been more affordable or accessible.
“The move towards video communication during the pandemic is evidence of people adapting and maintaining some semblance of human interaction when face to face meetings weren’t possible,” Paul Russell, a behavioural psychologist and the managing director of luxury training company, Luxury Academy told Maddyness. “Most people see video communication for what it is: an effective way to communicate with others when face to face communication isn’t possible or feasible. Of course, there are some that see only the technology and forget the human behind it or hide behind technology to deliver bad news.”
Steve Rafferty, RingCentral Country Manager for UK and Ireland also explained: “While in-person communication and in-office interactions will continue to have a place supporting workplace wellbeing and culture, our own recent survey found that 64% of Brits believe they can successfully build personal relationships with co-workers without ever physically meeting them and three quarters of these workers (77%) believe those that use voice communications will be more connected to each other.”
Rafferty concluded: “There is a wholesale cultural renaissance happening in terms of how we communicate and conduct meetings in this world of remote or hybrid work, and business leaders will need to address what roles in-person, video and voice play in securing wellbeing, fostering connections and maintaining a positive business culture.”
And an integrated approach to video content that mixes synchronous and asynchronous communication together is a powerful way to harness video content all post-pandemic businesses can embrace. Live person-to-person (synchronous) will continue to be a central component of communications across all businesses. However, mixing this with asynchronous (think on-demand video messages, one-to-many live streaming, and pre-recorded on-demand video content) offer potentially a massive positive shift in how video is used in many business contexts.
Research from Vimeo shows a massive up-take in video content right across the employee spectrum: 69% of Millennials, 57% of Gen X, and 50% of Boomers, are now engaging with video across their workplaces. Vimeo concludes: “For organizations, this makes a compelling case for video. Embracing executive video communication will give businesses an edge in attracting and retaining younger employees, while also catering to a shift among older employees who are increasing their consumption of video.”
Interestingly, RingCentral’s Steve Rafferty, points to a level of friction with face-to-face meeting for some workers: “For companies with a younger workforce, as Gen Z have reported greater levels of anxiety about meeting their colleagues face-to-face. More than half of Gen Z (52%) have colleagues they’ve never met with 47% expressing anxiety about meeting them face-to-face, so businesses must reconsider how they use remote video for employee communications effectively and which working model and technology will facilitate those human connections as our working environment changes.”
Also, from a practical standpoint, video communications can be highly useful as Red Evolution’s, MD, David Robinson described to Maddyness: “Just prior to writing this I was chatting with a colleague in Perth, Scotland from my location in Aboyne, Scotland. We realised we needed some input from our design colleague and 30 seconds later she’d joined us from her office in San Diego. That, is fantastic and it was a very human matter of fact interaction.”
Thinking about how different types of video can be used to achieve a goal will become more intuitive as workers and business leaders alike, begin to think that video is not just live conferencing. Embracing asynchronous communications that could include a video element, can vastly improve the clarity of the messages and remove the anxiety that can be connected with only using live video communications.
The pandemic forced all enterprises to re-think their internal and external communications. Vimeo said it best, as they concluded: “Professionals are 59% more likely to be confident that their companies will stay profitable through the global pandemic in companies where video comms are used by leadership vs not.”
Indeed, HR analyst and influencer Josh Bersin also states that the protocols for effective video communications are clear: “Don’t waste the team’s time with long meetings. Send video messages or emails when the message is not urgent or highly changeable. Let your people ask questions and provide feedback. Make sure everyone has access to the network and a phone, device, or media player that works, and make sure the company’s IT system is secure, so competitors can’t jump on.”
Luxury Academy’s Paul Russell also looks to the future: “People are already reaping the benefits of video communications for productivity, and I can only see the use of video as a communication tool growing. I envisage that VR meetings and interactions will be a future trend, in fact, we’re already delivering training in VR. It’s more immersive and creates the feeling of being in the same room.”
Josh Bersin concluded by making a critical point about how video content connects with other aspects of a healthy company: “Ultimately, the real culture story of the pandemic is psychological safety. You need to keep addressing that by making it very clearly okay and possible for people to say what’s on their mind, speak up about their personal challenges, question decisions, and make suggestions. Companies that let employees contribute and truly listen are out-performing their peers—our research proves this. It also gives employees a sense of belonging, so they feel more committed to the company and its mission.”
No one expects in person communications to disappear entirely. However, a hybrid approach looks certain to become the norm. As businesses used a mix of media to communicate internally and externally, these channels will expand to further embrace video when this is appropriate for the messages that need to be communicated. The context and audience must be clearly understood to choose the right kind of video content to use.