The workforce is changing. Generation Z, those born 1996 and later, have begun to graduate college and enter the job market. If you haven’t already felt the influence of this generation at your company, you will soon.
It can be tricky to communicate across the now four generations that make up your employee base. Remember different groups have their own preferences to receive and process information. You’re probably most unfamiliar with the youngest cohort. Are you ready to create communications for Gen Z employees?
The Value of Face-to-Face Communications
First, some rather unexpected news. Even with their constant immersion in technology, Generation Z employees value in-person communications. Thirty-nine percent rated that method as the most effective way to reach them. In another survey, this generation ranked their at-work communication preferences as
- Face-to Face
Short, regular, one-on-one check-ins are vital to these employees. They want regular feedback from their managers. Yet, to be ready to communicate with Gen Z, you must be ready for two-way conversations. Fifty-one percent said leaders who listen to them help them do their best work.
They value face-to-face communications, but Gen Z has a shorter attention span than previous generations. It’s no wonder that the greatest share of Snapchat users are between ages 18-24. Bite-sized chunks of information are the way to reach this group. Meetings should be brief and more importantly, interactive, to hold the interest of these employees. Instead of a weekly, hour-long sit-down, try a daily ten-minute standing huddle. If your meetings are leaders talking at workers, you will lose their attention.
Smartphones All Day
Yes, Gen Z thrives on in-person conversations more than their Millennial predecessors. But, there is another way their communications preferences differ. These employees grew up as digital natives. They expect fast, effective technology. Each day, a member of Gen Z multi-tasks across five screens. Will your communications grab their attention on at least one of those devices? To create communications for Gen Z employees, you must develop a strong mobile strategy.
Smartphones are the device of choice for these employees. Previous generations may have viewed texts from the company as intrusive. Gen Z ranked them ahead of email as their preferred way to receive corporate information. Invest in a platform that lets you send texts to a large number of recipients. Ask yourself, what real-time information can we share via text? Gen Z estimates they only need five to ten minutes a day to understand relevant information from their company. Texts are a great medium to provide that instant knowledge.
This generation also values apps for employee communications. They don’t want to log onto an employee intranet, they want one-touch access on their phones. Managers can approve vacation requests, provide performance feedback, and share information on benefits through an app. Gen Z relies on technology. How can you use it to create communications for them and make sure key messages are heard?
Video Bridges the Gap
In the spirit of technology, it comes as no surprise that Gen Z thrives on video. Consider that YouTube is their most-used app. You don’t have to create the next viral sensation. You should use video to provide the real-time information this generation craves. Why not try video meetings instead of in-office meetings? It will keep remote workers engaged with the team.
Short videos are also a great way to educate Gen Z on benefits and other company policies. This cohort ranks videos as their preferred learning method. Apply that technology to onboard new hires, introduce new benefits and conduct other HR functions. But, remember to keep it snappy. The WIFFM or What’s in it for me of communications to should be brief and bold. Give them the essence of what they need, then let them be on their way.
Remember to be Inclusive
Keep in mind that effective workplace communications consider the needs of all employees. These suggestions to create communications for Gen Z employees should not be taken at the expense of other generations’ preferences. Well-rounded communications efforts insure the entire workforce receives and process information. Think of these as additional tools for your toolbox. With planning, your company can be ready to communicate across generations.
Employee communications videos are an increasingly viable and popular way to connect and engage with your staff. While you still may choose other methods for your internal communications (multiple channels are important to make sure your message is heard), adding video to your toolkit is a beneficial way to bring your communications to life. Video grabs employees’ attention faster than email, long presentations, large documents, or lengthy team meetings.
One major reason for the popularity of videos is that they are fast, interactive and entertaining ways to digest information. Data shared by YouTube shows that people watch one billion hours of video on the platform every day. Another benefit of video is analytics. Statistics give you the ability to see how many people viewed your employee communications videos, assess your video strategy, and adjust that strategy if needed.
Employee Communications Videos Connect With Younger Employees
Employee communications videos help you stay relevant in the changing workplace. Gen Z, people born after 1994, has started to graduate college and find jobs. This wave of new employees shows preference for video. A study by Awesomeness shows this generation watches an average of 68 videos each day.
It’s vital to make sure employee communications videos are mobile friendly, since Gen Z can’t remember a time before cell phones. Their preferred way to consume videos is on their phones. Make sure all your employees hear, understand and remember important internal messages by adding video your communications mix.
Short and Sweet Employee Communications Videos Win Attention
Being mindful of your video’s length is a proven way to ensure your message reaches the most viewers possible—and keep their attention. Wistia, a video hosting platform, looked at 564,710 videos and more than 1.3 billion plays to determine the relationship between video length and viewer engagement. What they discovered is viewer engagement is steady up to 2 minutes.
After that two minute mark, there is a significant drop off in viewers. This suggests short and sweet is the best policy. If your employee communications video needs to be longer, put the most important information within the first two minutes.
Adding video to your toolkit is another useful way to bring your employee communications to life. It’s a necessary tool for communications teams who want to ensure all employees receive and pay attention to important messages.
There are many ways to communicate information to employees. Some are more successful than others, when you know your employees’ communications preferences and what works in your organization. If you haven’t tried it already, research tells us the value of video and audio. Content distributed through video and audio (like podcasts) is one of the most powerful ways to ensure your message sticks with your audience.
In fact, research says people process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. The value of video and audio for employee communications is endless; some ways include interaction, repetitiveness, and savings.
Value of Interactivity
Have you ever noticed people can become distracted while you’re giving a regular PowerPoint presentation? They check their phones, stare out the window or worse yet, nod off a bit. That’s a sign there may be better ways to get your message across. It starts with a robust mix of communications tactics, like print, presentations, and especially, audio and video. In the digital world we live in, more and more people recognize the value of audio and video to get their information.
At Trion, we use the cloud-based technology, Brainshark, to create narrated and often animated video presentations in PowerPoint. These engage our clients’ employees around benefits and allow Human Resources teams to create compelling and interesting presentations. This approach has been extremely successful because of the robust functionality and interactivity of the platform.
Interactive videos keep employees engaged and alert, which helps to effectively communicate important information.
Value of Repetition
When you communicate important information to employees, you can do more than just hope that they’ll remember and comprehend it. You can repeat it – over and over again. Research shows repetition is one of the keys of effective communications.
Stats also show people comprehend illustrated text (or text with design) 83% more effectively than text alone. Sharing content through audio and video supports not only retention, but increases the likelihood information will be shared. Digital content can be passed along easily and quickly, again proving the value of video and audio for employee communications.
Value of Savings
By sending audio and video content to our clients, we help them save time and money. They don’t have to travel to different parts of the company to hold face-to-face meetings with employees. Instead, they can send that information through the computer, using cloud-based technology that doesn’t require any back-end technology on their part. Spouses and dependents outside of the company’s firewalls can access this information. Clients get analytics and other information about how employees consume the information.
Video and audio shows its value in employee communications because it gets straight to the point. This content helps you communicate clear, concise, and valuable information to your employees. Employees can re-watch digital presentations, like Brainshark, which eliminate confusion over core information.
Video and audio is a great add to your marketing/communications mix. It’s a necessary tool that can help your company engage and inform employees, while being mindful of the bottom line.
It’s time you give your employees a show. Dim the lights, make some popcorn, let them sit back and get ready to be dazzled by your next big blockbuster. That’s right, your blockbuster video. Presenting your internal communications as short, narrated videos is a great way to reach your employee population.
Why choose video for your next benefit communication campaign? Not only are employees expecting it, but video aids comprehension, ensures compliance and it allows for a speedy consistent delivery of your message.
65% of the population prefers a visual approach to learning and 30% prefer an auditory approach. With video communications, theoretically, you can reach 95% of your audience! That’s great, right?
Video content delivery platforms make compliance easier too! Many content delivery platforms allow administrators to track and see just who is watching — and how long they watch — the video presentations. Now you can ensure compliance and be certain EVERYONE has seen your message.
But, just because you can force employees to watch the video, doesn’t mean you can skimp on creating an entertaining production. A best practice is to create a video that entertains and informs the audience. Keep things light and impersonal. Professional, but with some personality!
The length of the video is also an important consideration. For optimal engagement, try to stay between 3-6 minutes. If your video is too long, you may need to consider an alternate form of communication.
Of course, cost is an important consideration! But, due to improving technology, the cost to produce video communication has become extremely reasonable. With costs coming down, it’s fast becoming an important facet of employee benefits communication.
At Trion we specialize in creating video solutions. We have created dozens of successful video campaigns for many of our clients that generate excellent response rates with their employee population. Check out some of our sample videos at: http://www.trioncommunications.com/video-presentations/. If you need more information, reach out and contact us. We would love to help you kick off a new video-driven campaign!