Instructional Videos Get Employees on the Same Page

To create a video resource library, get help—from both your employees and outside sources.

I’ve always believed that people are the greatest asset of any company, but at what point do we need to find alternate, and ultimately more cost-effective, training models to ensure the value of our people keeps growing as time passes? With companies in the U.S. spending more than $60 billion per year on corporate training, and employees leaving for greener pastures, retirement, or the like, can businesses really afford the continued drain on resources?

Not the ones that want to thrive. So what’s the way forward? The business community increasingly is turning to video as a way to transfer knowledge between employees. According to research firm Gartner, large organizations will be streaming 16 hours of video per worker, per year by 2016. With so much investment in training and unprecedented amounts of video consumed, it seems like there might be an opportunity to connect the two. Adding fuel to the fire, video now can be watched just about anywhere, anytime, by anyone with a mobile device. So the limits for reaching people are far less than they were even a year ago.

Education is one industry that HR can look to for inspiration regarding training videos. Video has been used to “flip” classrooms for years, allowing students to view lectures at home and do homework in class—with the support of a teacher to help with any trouble spots. In a corporate setting, the benefits of having video on file to provide initial instruction or to refresh one’s memory are important to ensure consistency and save a lot of time and resources. (Watch a video on a flipped classroom here.)

Motivating Staff Participation

One person or even a small staff would be hard-pressed to create enough training videos to make an impact across most companies. However, some successful firms took to asking staff for contributions, and that has worked quite well. In one global software company, more than 200 videos were developed in the first year, almost one per working day. But, you may say, getting employees to participate in video capture may seem like a difficult road to take. My experience with companies that have done it well says that it’s all about the right incentives. Whether you present the opportunity as a purely creative endeavor, an opportunity for recognition, or let a gift card do the talking, asking employees to showcase their expertise on a training video complements the work they already do. It elevates their role as leaders within the company and likely can provide growth opportunities. Immortality, career growth, and free Starbucks for a few weeks? Why not?

If your company doesn’t have the resources to make its own videos, there are Web-based training firms that offer vast libraries of training video—, Udemy and Treehouse are just a few. These sites and those like them are good for skill building, but to create culturally appropriate instruction and offer more differentiated value, creating your own content is essential —even if it’s not polished.

The bottom line: To create a video resource library, get help—from both your employees and outside sources. This will ensure your team is given the instruction they need to be successful within your culture, in a way that ensures quality and consistency at every level.

Matt Pierce is the Training manager at TechSmith. In addition to his day job, he hosts a monthly Webshow, TechSmith’s The Forge, interviewing video makers, visual communicators, educators, and more. His secret talent is interpreting board game instructions. Teach him something at @piercemr.