Although live video has increasingly been put to good use externally by brands over the last few years, corporations are beginning to see what the medium could enable internally. Many companies are already experimenting with video to improve or enhance internal communications, and live video in particular could prove highly effective. So why should your organisation invest in the medium and how do you make the most of the opportunities it presents?
In a report from Kaltura, almost three-quarters of respondents from large organisations said they use webcasting for communications involving their senior executives, and almost half use it for employee training. So why should organisations invest in live video for internal comms, and how can they make the most of the opportunities it presents?
Why Go Live?
Live video is undoubtedly a pretty vast communication tool. For one, it’s a much quicker medium with which to distribute information than text and it is also a lot more engaging than static images. Of course, pre-recorded video is also easier to consume than text or an image, but uniquely, live video enables two-way communication and this is key when it comes to building healthy company cultures. Research from Sodexo Engage revealed that only 20 percent of respondents feel they completely understand their employers’ bigger business goals and LinkedIn’s ‘Inside the Mind of Today’s Candidate’ report found that:
- 50% of survey respondents said they feel a greater sense of belonging at work when their contributions in meetings are valued.
- Feeling free to express one’s opinions at work is another major component of belonging at an organisation, called out by 51% of respondents.
Louisa Baczor, research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), believes that when employees feel their opinions count, they are more likely to be happier, and therefore more productive, than those who don’t. The key to many of these aspects, whether that’s ensuring that employees feel their opinions matter, their input in meetings is valued, or that they understand the goals of the company, is transparent communication, and lots of it! And here’s where live video presents the answer.
Mark Blair, VP of EMEA at Brightcove, has dubbed live video for internal comms a ‘productivity enabler’ and this sounds like a pretty accurate description to me. In simple terms, the passing on of information is imperative so that employees can carry out basic, daily tasks, but live video enables this and so much more. Although pre-recorded video has become an aspect of some companies’ internal communications strategies, a big disadvantage to this is the lack of interactivity.
Video is simply ‘watched’, and like I mentioned above, it has no capacity for two-way communication. Live video on the other hand, does. And this is what should really make it indispensable, especially for global organisations.
When a company is operating from several global offices (sometimes even mid-size companies may have 15 offices across the world spanning multiple time zones), it can often be very difficult to foster relationships between teams of colleagues and especially between those teams and senior management. With a live video infrastructure in place, international teams can broadcast meetings openly, with the ability to see and ‘meet’ their colleagues. This a lot healthier than communicating via email which seems pretty convoluted in comparison and does nothing to foster positive relationships between employees.
In a similar way, live video is an effective tool for broadcasting company news to a large audience all at once in a timely fashion, or perhaps keeping shareholders in the loop. This tackles the problem of some employees receiving information ahead of others, and is a great way of keeping people updated on the goals of the company and any important developments. Especially in the case of franchises, being able to broadcast the same exact messaging to every relevant employee (with the ability for employees to ask questions for clarification) is highly valuable. Imagine if the CEO of the company could directly speak to every employee and present a live talk on the aims of the company for the year ahead, for example.
Live streaming meetings and other company messaging gives an air of transparency and collaboration to operations, building trust between employees and a sense that everyone matters and is working towards one common goal.
Training and Education
A holistic and effective internal communications strategy does, however, need a lot more than an efficient communication tool. Employee education is an important aspect of internal operations and one which costs organisations a considerable amount. According to Mark Blair, “Expecting your workforce to gain expert knowledge on your products and services through written communication is old school.” So why not use live streaming instead?
Live streaming tutorials and updates on product information means that employees don’t have to travel for training days, they can interact and take part remotely thanks to the interactivity of live streaming. Better still, live broadcasts can be saved and archived to be watched or referred back to later. This means the content can be used for training future employees too. Demonstrations are always more effective than written text when it comes to learning about complex or new information, and surveys conducted by Forrester have found that 75% of people are more likely to watch video lessons than read documents or web articles.
In cases where the company has an expert on a subject or a valuable employee, it makes sense for them to present information once to multiple people or offices, rather than having to take time out of the office travelling to various locations or presenting multiple times. Live video can enable organisations to more easily build a knowledgeable team, and keep them up-to-date. Web video-chatting is an option, but this medium simply isn’t as inclusive as openly broadcast live streaming and usually is not recorded for archive or further use.
In fact, Microsoft estimates that they are now able to avoid a cost of $13.9 million annually, by investing in a video training platform. According to DaCast, this equates to a ROI of 569% on Microsoft’s initial investment in the system.
Doing it Right
If an organisation is to invest in live streaming, the infrastructure or chosen platform must be secure and resilient to outages, especially if it is to become as integral to internal communications as we believe.
Groovy Gecko has live streamed several AGMs for varying organisations. In some cases, we implemented as many as three backup streams to ensure continuation of the stream in any disturbances. Ensuring you have backup contingencies is highly important in the case of internal webcasts, especially if the stream is of a high important to the business or involves a large audience.
Although we are highly supportive of using live communications in almost every internal scenario, there are risks to going live, including the consequences of not implementing a backup stream or the content of a presentation going ‘wrong’. So it is still important to ensure there is a reason for ‘going live’, such as a need to reach multiple employees quickly. You must also consider different time zones for global corporations.
Finally, live streaming platforms offer organisations the ability to cost-effectively and easily go live whenever and however they want. We believe that live streaming will be extremely valuable when it comes to the future of internal communications and will be used a lot more frequently. In this case, it makes sense for organisations to invest in live streaming platforms if they plan to regularly make use of the medium. If, however, the use of live video is more ad-hoc, or perhaps your organisation is only just starting out in the world of live video, an external provider may prove more cost-effective.
However an organisation chooses to implement live streaming functionality into their internal communications strategies, the effectiveness of the medium will prove huge, that much is clear.