Many organisations have been toying with the idea of making greater use of live video as part of their internal communications mix but have lacked the urgency or impetus to change the status quo. Until now that is. With Coronavirus a global pandemic, we have the urgency and the opportunity to do things differently.
Virtually all business travel is curtailed; events cancelled and the majority of staff working at home wherever possible. Business is not as usual!
How can we help those in charge of internal communications accelerate their plans and make use of the technologies that (in many cases) are already under their noses?
Microsoft Teams is a no brainer
For those of you with O365 – and that’s an awful lot of you – using Microsoft Teams as a way of keeping a sense of togetherness across your teams and wider business is really pretty straightforward. It won’t cost you a penny and you can do it today!
Our most recent simplynetwork Coronavirus webinar focused on the rapid deployment of MS Teams and we will bring you a more detailed download on that shortly. But just as some food for thought, I asked Jonathan Philips, head of Consultancy for Simply, what his take on it was. “Wherever possible people have been asked to work at home and for years we have used the phrase ‘remote working’. Remote is the very last thing we want our employees to be at this time. They should not be remote from work, from colleagues, from communications, from support, from interaction. Using something like Microsoft Teams, that is right under our noses, makes perfect sense.”
While apps like Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom and Facetime might be enough for your immediate needs, a fully unified enterprise content delivery network may be a worthwhile investment. Simply’s reporter, Alison Boothby asked Patty Perkins, Senior Director, Enterprise Video Strategy for Kollective, to talk us through the thinking that will help internal communications teams find the right solution for their business.
AB: With face to face meetings and events not an option for the foreseeable future, are there solutions that companies can adopt to maintain their employee communications?
PP: Today, “face-to-face” doesn’t have to mean “in person.” There are a variety of video solutions businesses can adopt to maintain their employee communication. For smaller businesses, free tools like Skype or Facetime might be enough. But for larger firms, I recommend adopting a full unified-communications suite. Microsoft Teams, for example, is ideal for maintaining communication across the workforce and for collaborating on projects and documents, regardless of where employees are based.
AB: If live video is the answer, what sort of employee comms is live video suitable for?
PP: Video calls are great for facilitating collaboration between employees , but live video also plays a vital role during major events or times of crisis — like what’s happening now with COVID-19. During these events, C-level executives need to provide regular updates to let workers know what is happening across the company. This makes CEO live streams or “virtual Town Hall” meetings essential communication tools, which ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction — even if the majority of the workforce can’t come into the office.
AB: Why do you think the corporate world has been slow to adopt video as its core comms channel, when video consumption is the norm in our consumer world?
PP: Perceived bandwidth, performance and onboarding issues can dissuade companies from adopting live video. In the past, video has also been seen as an expensive investment in equipment and resources.
In reality, modern network and software solutions mean that you don’t need the most advanced infrastructure to successfully adopt video or run a livestream. Employees expect the same video experience at work that they experience at home with streaming and video chat.
AB: What are the key benefits of using live video in business?
PP: One major benefit, and it’s something we can all identify with today, is the culture of connectedness that live video promotes across enterprise organisations. As more employees are forced to work remotely or from home due to COVID-19, video provides a level of human connection that the written word cannot — think of it as a unifier in times of crisis.
A second benefit of live video is that it improves employee engagement. Forrester research has shown that employees are 75% more likely to engage with video content than with written communication, making it an essential component of any corporate communications strategy.
Finally, video boosts productivity, as both HR-driven and employee-led training are more widely accessible to all employees. The result is an empowered organisation that is more involved, engaged and ultimately, more productive.
AB: What specifically are the challenges for IT colleagues if we are considering enterprise video?
PP: The biggest challenge for IT teams is ensuring that video is delivered seamlessly and at the quality employees expect. This is easy to achieve on video calls, but when your CEO is giving a live video company-wide update to 10,000+ employees, maintaining a consistent standard can be a challenge.
A lot of IT teams assume that the only way to overcome this issue is to rip out and replace their network infrastructure, but that’s not the case. Today, software-defined video delivery solutions are available to dramatically speed up video distribution and improve the overall quality of the stream. By using an SD ECDN (software-defined enterprise content delivery network), IT teams can distribute HD livestreams without the need to install new hardware. Similarly, modern video analytics can help to manage the livestream and ensure it doesn’t drop unexpectedly.
AB: Is there evidence that messages are delivered more successfully via video?
PP: Absolutely. 65% of the world’s population describe themselves as ‘visual learners’ who best engage with content through sight and sound. As such, video is the ideal communication method for these visual workers.
Training materials also prove to be more successful when delivered via video. According to one study from the SAVO Group, just seven days after a training session, the average employee will only remember 35% of the material covered. However, when you pair relevant visuals with learning information, retention levels rise to an impressive 65%. Kollective’s own research has also found that 64% of office workers are more likely to trust a message when they can see the person speaking, maximising the impact of video.
Video makes content more engaging, more memorable and even more trustworthy.
AB: What are your top tips pre-event, during event and post event?
Pre-event, it’s vital to develop a clear plan with all the right stakeholders involved. The desired outcome needs to be clearly identified and key performance indicators for engagement, transparency and education outlined.
PP: The emergence of video meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams makes broadcasting your message technically easier and quicker to implement. Ask yourself these questions to determine which platform and video production approach to take:
- Who is the audience for this event and how many do you anticipate attending?
- Where is the audience located? How many can join live or in-person at the time of the event?
- What communication style is needed? Is it a formal presentation event with multiple speakers and assets, or is it a more casual team meeting?
- How confident am I with using a self-service platform like Microsoft Teams? Do I need additional video production support to achieve my goal for this event?
Post event, you should turn to data to analyse its success. In addition to showing how many people watched your video, a good analytics platform collects data on your network’s performance and potential bottlenecks. This provides you vital insights you can use to optimise future events by implementing a repeatable, scalable process.
AB: Is it costly compared with the alternative meetings/events it replaces?
Quite the opposite. We’ve found that many businesses actually save money as a result of live video adoption. Schneider Electric is a great example. They use Kollective’s technology to set up live video events as an alternative to flying executives between locations and events. The result was 10 times(!) cost reduction for the business.