Employers: Get Used to the Camera

by Shawna R. Reed

So you made it through eight weeks without filming one TikTok, and manage to keep your computer camera off during most meetings. Now that you’re back in the office, you may be realizing the inevitability of ending up on camera. In 2018, Arizona had more than 50 employers with 5,000-plus employees. The State of Arizona alone had more than 80,000 employees (source: azcentral.com). As an employer competing for undivided attention daily, there are just too many other resources for information where employees stay tuned in. Bottom line: The company’s stream of activity and expectations should be infused with the same media that they absorb best: personalized video on multi-media channels.

“As we navigate through COVID-19, we committed to daily communication from our CEO, always an email and usually a video as well,” says Tracie Sponenberg, chief people officer at The Granite Group. Sponenberg and CEO William Condron shared their personal cell phone numbers and welcomed all 600 employees to call anytime, for any reason. “Making sure our teams feel safe and comfortable, and that they continue to trust us, requires those of us in leadership roles to step up and be present and available, all the time, in many ways.”

Even if you’re an executive who doesn’t see yourself handing out this kind of personal information any time soon, you should still get behind the camera and communicate with your employees through the remainder of 2020. That’s right — our prediction is that the need for internal reassurance in a multi-media format will persist through the end of the year, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. If you stay camera-shy for too long and delay effective communication when teams (especially remote) are eager for reassurance and empathy, growth may also by delayed. If being a “communications hero” isn’t you, that is actually okay. However, employers should look to implement talent optimization efforts that effectively link to strategic planning and identify the right person for this job within your organization. You may have that enthusiastic communications pro on your team already, who would begin leading with efficiency and excitement as soon as they’re given the green light to thrive in a new role. When was the last time you empowered someone to completely modify how they approached their job? Since it is safe to assume that our workplaces and work lives have been “completely modified,” this may be a worthy consideration.

Before You Focus the Camera, Focus on Strategy

When faced with any major shift in focus, employers of all sizes should work to update their strategic plans before blasting out messaging on any multi-media channel. Following your goal setting activities and necessary organizational realignment, there are usually budget revisions that follow — which is when strategies like talent optimization are crucial to identify the right people and any gaps internally, prior to undergoing any hiring initiatives. It’s like asking your neighbors to collaborate with you on a mutually beneficial project for your community instead of standing at a busy street asking strangers to join the effort blindly.

We have found that science-backed data has been the differentiator for our clients,” says Robin S. Reed, principal with Phoenix-based talent optimization firm EmFluent and president and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona. “When it comes to communications planning, it’s 2020, so most companies should have implemented the basics and a CRM by now. Now, to focus on each employee with the same dedication that you would a client or prospect shows a deeper intelligence regarding investment and risk.

When you have your camera-ready champion aligned with a clear internal communications strategy, here are eight ways (that aren’t social media) to utilize your video content and enhance communications with your workforce through the remainder of 2020 and beyond:

  1. Designate a new Slack channel for updates.
  2. Record and share video updates through links in your email signature to a private YouTube or Vimeo account.
  3. Send a weekly newsletter via email.
  4. Host virtual town halls.
  5. Share an internal FAQ’s explainer video.
  6. Live stream important meetings and share recordings.
  7. Upload video to an intranet or internal database.
  8. Implement employee challenges and contests.

Shawna R. Reed is principal partner with Phoenix-based talent optimization firm EmFluent. If you’re ready to craft effective internal messaging and achieve your business goals faster, see how EmFluent could assist in making your strategic plan come to life. EmFluent addresses the growing need for strategy development & alignment, talent optimization, corporate culture development and client engagement. As Workplace Behavior Experts and Certified Talent Optimization Consultants, we use a combination of scientifically validated management solutions including groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) that integrates workforce analytics and human capital development for talent optimization, client engagement and internal communication.


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