Show, Don’t Tell: How Innovative Video Best Conveys Your Company’s Stories

Devin Foster

Video is at the forefront of recruitment marketing as the pandemic makes it the go-to tool for seeing and meeting with people. While this is no newsflash, the growth in video use poses a major challenge for TA and HR leaders: ensuring their organization’s video stands out enough to capture the attention of busy job candidates. 
 

What are the most innovative ways to capture today’s employee experience outside of the physical office environment? And how can you produce video that will sustain its value in a constantly changing world of work? 
 

Jessica McFadden, Head of Marketing, Stories Incorporated, joined us for Talent Experience Live on Feb. 23 to share the secrets she’s learned on the job of creating compelling, effective video. Watch it here, and check out highlights from the show below!
 


The Story Behind Stories Incorporated
 

Stories Incorporated is an employer branding and content market studio. “We capture stories that reveal what’s great about an organization’s culture,” McFadden said. 
 

They also help identify employees who will make strong video subjects, and provide a tech-based toolkit to enable pro-quality video and audio and guidance for employees to share their stories. Stories Inc. then use those stories to create content libraries that employers can draw on to help communicate their culture and highlight important points.
 

Before the pandemic hit, the Stories Inc. team went on-site to film employee stories, but then pivoted to a virtual story service during quarantine. 
 

“We still facilitate interviews and bring the strategy into capturing the story,” McFadden explained, although now, the setting may be outdoors or even inside an employee’s home. The silver lining? “It’s expanded our ways to get stories,” McFadden said.

 

Employer Video Today: Conveying Culture through Authentic Stories
 


While yesterday’s company culture video may have showcased a snack wall and coffee bar, today it’s about demonstrating compassion, strong leadership, and inclusivity.
 

“Getting employees to share how they felt cared for is going to communicate to candidates the real culture of the organization,” McFadden said.
 

Today, companies that nail video focus on:
 

  • Stories of organizational support for employees through a pandemic and social upheaval
     
  • Demonstrations of flexibility and a dedication to work-life balance
     
  • Examples of empathy in leadership 
     
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion


“These elements are relevant now, and will be for a long time to come,” McFadden said. Giving employees the spotlight builds trust among job candidates by creating a true view of what it’s like to live out the company’s core values. 
 

“When you hear an employee talk about what belonging has meant to them at the organization, it’s so much more powerful than reading a line off a website,” she said.
 

It’s important to note that behind every dynamic, minutes-long video lies hours of preparation — and much longer interviews than what ends up making the final cut. 


RELATED WEBINAR: Bringing Authentic Stories to Life


Stories Inc. ensures a smooth process and powerful results by:
 

Selecting Employees Who Will Light Up the Screen
 

Finding employees who are willing to participate can be hard especially in a remote setting. McFadden recommends three tips to ease the hunt: 
 

  • Work closely with marketing. Mine their expertise in identifying good video subjects and in developing a rapport with selected employees. 
     
  • Don’t push someone who’s camera shy. Even if you happen to know they have a particularly compelling story, it won’t come across well if they're too uncomfortable being filmed.
     
  • Seek out involved employees. ERGs are a great resource. If you’re creating video for a specific role, find an exceptionally performing employee in that position. 
     


Evoking Authenticity
 

The Stories Inc. team’s go-to method is the facilitated interview, which is how program managers elicit the most effective footage, McFadden said.
 

This approach involves thoroughly preparing selected employees to tell their stories, ensuring that they’re confident, excited, and empowered to share their experience in their own words. Here are a few pro tips:
 

  • Let employees speak naturally. 
     
  • Ensure employees can use the technology and that they know what to expect to eliminate on-air jitters.
     
  • Communicate what an honor it is – for both the company and the employee – to represent the organization on video.
     

Also, no need for a company boilerplate. “This is someone who through their personal, specific, relatable story is sharing what’s real about the culture, and we find that that’s very powerful,” McFadden said.
 


Create Video that Resonates Today, and Tomorrow 
 

Stories Inc.'s clients say that they’re unsure how to produce video that will resonate during the pandemic and for years to come. 
 

“Of course, the world has changed, so you want to show those changes," McFadden said. "On the one hand, we probably won’t be capturing a lot of team member hugs on camera. But we are weaving stories together to show both in-home experience, and the workplace experience.” 
 

She noted that essential workers never left the workplace, and some workers are starting to return to the office.
 


Seamlessly weave stories of “now” and of “tomorrow” by:
 

  • Using b-roll to supplement the video’s primary story with things that occur naturally, and try adding graphics, animation, or still shots. For example, b-roll that shows how someone works from home conveys flexibility.
     
  • Communicating diversity by featuring a variety of voices, rather than just one employee to tell your company’s story. Drawing on multiple people with diverse stories also provides a strong foundation of content, allowing for future adjustments.
     
  • Demonstrating commitment to safety according to new protocols made in response to Covid-19. New safety measures can be part of employee stories, through graphics and animation, or shown in b-roll (think footage of employees wearing PPE). 
     

“This will serve to show your true culture – the way the organization cared for employees during a crisis. That won’t ever go out of style,” McFadden said.

 

Leveraging Stories from Employees Across the Globe
 

Employers should include team members who are based far from headquarters, despite perceived logistical hurdles. Preparing subjects virtually makes it possible to capture footage of global employees without getting on a plane. 
 

Stories Inc. handles this challenge the same way they’ve filmed local employees during quarantine, by sending global employees a guided "tech pack" and talking them through setup, and best sound and lighting practices. 
 

“The global barriers have gone away. We don’t have to limit story gathering to just the people who would come into the main office,” McFadden said.


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