Roundtable: Video in HR Tech Will Improve Both Engagement and Efficiency

Video in HR Tech

When it comes to new technology AI gets most of the attention, which is too bad because a number of new video applications are working their way into the market. Companies like HireVue and VidCruiter offer on-demand interviews while newcomers like Chooch provide tools to identify people and objects. Meanwhile, telecommunications companies like Mitel push their video collaboration products.

None of this is surprising given the growth of business videoconferencing in general. Whether its’s through Webex, Zoom or lowly Skype, meeting virtually face to face has become common.

We asked several leaders who work with video tools to join us in a discussion on HR video tools are now—and, more importantly, where they’re going. They are:

Their discussion was moderated by HCM Technology Report Editor Mark Feffer.

Mark Feffer: Is video becoming a bigger part of HR technology—not only in recruiting or learning, but in areas such as self-service and performance management?

Pat Pickren: Yes. We see the use of video as a natural extension of how we’re using technology in our digital, consumer experiences, such as quick, consumable, mobile content that makes it easy to share a concept. For example, we’ve more customers asking us to provide content on how managers can better use our solution. The ability to increase the ROI of HR technology can be accelerated and increased through higher usage and adoption of the solution, and video can help with that.

Used right, HR video tools can improve both engagement & efficiency. So say our panelists. #HR #HRTech @UltimateHCM @PeopleFluent @CovalenceInc Share on X

Stephen Bruce: There’s no question that synchronous video tools like Adobe Connect, Webex, GoToMeeting, Skype and Google Hangouts have become commodities. These platforms get people together and serve as essential productivity tools, and I don’t see these synchronous video tools being any different for HR technology.

However, there are quite a few examples of how on-demand video can be a significant communication and delivery platform for many HR processes. As an example, from a recruiting perspective the novel application of video is on-demand interviewing. So within an ATS like PeopleFluent recruiters can capture specific questions and candidates can answer them at their convenience, 24/7. Then recruiters can compare responses and narrow down their finalist candidates.

We don’t see the use of video as a first touchpoint in the recruiting process, but rather as a secondary tool to evaluate candidates after determining they have potential based on initial requirements, background and skills.

What’s different, and more valuable, about this is flexibility. With on-demand video, video interviews are centralized and can be shared with other employees whose schedules make it hard to coordinate in-person meetings.  

Covalence Consulting’s
Raymond Nunn

Raymond Nunn: I believe that video has the potential to greatly impact how employees interact with their HCM software and HR practices. As an HCM consulting executive, I’ve watched as traditional technologies, such as time clocks with biometrics, have been replaced by time-capture devices with embedded video capabilities for employee verification.  

Such capabilities have significant implications for HR policies and processes, and for the employee experience. In the case I just mentioned, would a two-way video call empower the tardy employee to explain their reason for running late? Would it impact tardiness and productivity as a whole? And how would HR deal with the organization-wide analytics that would become available on their workforce’s attendance record?

These types of questions are bound to arise with the greater adoption of video technology in HR and HCM. HR policies have to be adjusted to reflect the company’s position on the use of video on-premises, along with the obvious need to balance employee concerns about surveillance and supervisor micromanagement. Video holds exciting promise, but it must also be used to enhance—not impede—employee experience.

Mark Feffer: Where in particular do you see incorporating video tools into HR technology?

Pat Pickren: Recruiting is already an area where many organizations have deployed video. For example, our partnership with HireRight is an area where we leverage professional video capabilities. Onboarding and benefits are areas where we provide standard content and allow organizations specific content such as welcome videos or explanations of benefits policies.

Stephen Bruce: We see video as critical for all aspects of HR. Video as a medium has the power to engage people and explain what needs to be done, why and how within a talent process. 

PeopleFluent’s Stephen Bruce

That’s the key to better talent outcomes: capturing a clear, concise and consistent message. That often presents a challenge for HR departments because these messages often come from line management. Unfortunately, even with all the coaching, development and training HR provides, the messaging often doesn’t cascade down into the final communication from managers to employees.

Our customers are already leveraging video beyond recruiting and learning—whether it’s a manager providing a performance evaluation or 90-day assessment, an employee describing their personal goals or HR providing guidance on compensation distribution. By wrapping those processes with videos, HR can provide specific and contextual communications across the organization. That accelerates and improves adoption and engagement.

This embedded video approach is more effective than webinars, which are commonly used by HR organizations, because you can preserve the context that’s often lost in broadcasting to a large group.

Raymond Nunn: The areas in which organizations will incorporate video tools will depend on the specific needs of their workforce. Smart companies already recognize that their human capital is as unique as their corporate culture and that new HR tools must have the right fit. A more Millennial employee base may actively advocate for the faster adoption of video tools while a more mature workforce may want training on such new tools.  

We’ve seen the traditional doctor’s visit change with video and mobile apps. I fully expect the same thing will happen across organizations where specific job functions have the potential to be significantly more productive operationally. For example, maintenance technicians working on an unexpected pump failure could  benefit from video applications that connect them with manufacturer service reps.

The evolving needs of the workforce in question will determine the timeline for incorporating video tools into organizational HR practices. HR pros will know that if employees are on the lookout for more input and communications from senior management, they can leverage video to make this happen right away. On the other hand, if the HR team recognizes its workforce likes processes the way they’ve always been, they’ll likely introduce video tools more incrementally.

Mark Feffer: Do video tools pose a risk of dampening engagement? For instance, how will employees feel if video becomes a part of performance management?  

Ultimate Software’s
Pat Pickren

Pat Pickren: We see technology as amplifying people, not replacing them. For example, video in recruiting can reduce the time and cost of travel, but still provide the opportunity for both candidate and recruiter to engage.

Stephen Bruce: I don’t believe there’s any dampening effect. In fact, the strength of video is its ability to convey that human element.

I think people are hesitant to record video because they fear they’re not “camera ready” or that they need high production values. But even with modest production value, video empowers companies to genuinely reflect their brand and culture, which is important to today’s job seekers.

In fact, younger generations have grown up on video and trust a simpler, more organic feel. If production overtakes the human element, you risk actually degrading the video’s usefulness and engagement level.

Of course, video won’t replace face-to-face interaction. But it’s an essential tool for employee communication and HR processes, boosting efficiency so HR can focus on employee development. Our customers tell us that video is critical to communication and collaboration, and it offers significant efficiency and potential cost savings by eliminating some of their need for telecom services.

Raymond Nunn: I foresee employee engagement being positively enhanced by video—if it’s used in the right way. I don’t believe that human interaction should be replaced by video. Instead, I believe video itself can significantly enhance the personalization of any interaction when an in-person interaction just isn’t possible.

An organization with a large and remote workforce may choose to send out biweekly video messages from HR or senior management. Or specialized resources such as employee training materials and employee handbooks can be “translated” to instructive and engaging videos placed on the company Intranet. Using video for employee onboarding—through an app, for example—will also foster a greater sense of interaction between employee and employer. Ongoing learning and development can be delivered through interactive webinars or instruction through video. The possibilities really are endless.

However, I’ll reiterate that video isn’t a replacement for the human touch. It’s a tool which can be used to enhance it. When it comes to performance management, I firmly believe employees want to be seen as unique, individual contributors, not as a number or faceless team member. Organizations must ask themselves this: “Will using video for performance management enhance the experience for my employee and make them feel valued?” If the answer is “yes,” then video can be incorporated. If not, perhaps it’s best to forgo it.

Mark Feffer: Finally, do you have any plans to introduce video features to your suite, or to expand them?  

Pat Pickren: Yes, we offer video today, through a partner, in our Recruiting module. Onboarding, Benefits, Learning and HR Service Delivery also allow content delivery via video. We’re exploring other use cases to improve the employee experience.

Stephen Bruce: Organizations have been a bit slow to embrace what I consider to be the next generation of video even though the capabilities are available now.

From a pure quality of hire perspective, any hiring methodology will be improved with greater time in the interview actually assessing the candidate’s experience and abilities. Think of it this way: Every interview requires a recruiter, manager or peer to spend 10 or 15 minutes covering the same basic information about the company, the team and the role. Delivering this information via video can allow 20 to 30 percent more interview time to be focused on the candidate evaluation. And when you consider that often the message can be disjointed and cumbersome to deliver, with frequent inconsistencies, the value of video becomes even more compelling.

Another application of video is for guiding managers through performance and compensation decisions. With prior methods, such as recorded webinars, it was difficult to find specific information—for example, finding the moment in a webinar on compensation when the instructor explained pay philosophy, the merit pool or some other specific aspect of the compensation process.

By embedding video within the performance management or compensation system, we allow managers to view specific clips when they’re evaluating an employee or considering a merit increase. They can also search for specific topics and cut directly to an answer within a video, watch that 30-second selection and then get on with their day. This is an incredible time-saver for our customers.

Then there’s learning. Let’s say you’re working for a manufacturing company and you’re building an engine. Imagine being able to highlight on the video the exact part you don’t understand or need better guidance on. Whether it’s a close-up or a better explanation of what the instructor is doing with their hands, it’s incredibly efficient.

Raymond Nunn: We’re an HCM consulting firm with a partially remote workforce, so video’s a tool we use foster greater engagement and enhance team collaboration. As a CEO, I’ve always believed in fostering open-communications among my team, and I do feel video enables that.

Given the industry in which we operate, the learning curve for new employees is steep and lengthy. The products we work with are very technical. So, collaboration across the team is important, and even more so for new employees. We therefore encourage collaboration across video technologies like Google hangouts. This allows our teams to work together and build personal relationships. It ensures that everyone has the needed access and personal support to make customer success happen. For me, video further connects remote employees to the company, to each other and to me.

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