Why Your Organization Needs Onboarding Training Videos

Rebecca Rozakis
Updated October 1 2019
Why use onboarding training videos?
Rebecca Rozakis
Updated October 1 2019

Remember your first day at your current job? Maybe your organization had a formal onboarding training program. You may have met with a slew of HR reps, gotten introduced to a bunch of people whose names immediately blurred together, filled out a lot of paperwork, and sat through a bunch of simultaneously boring-yet-overwhelming presentations. If you were lucky, someone bought you lunch. Or maybe their approach to employee onboarding training was to hand you a stack of papers and throw you into the deep end. Either way, it was most likely a memorable experience but not a particularly easy-to-remember set of information.

How about the first week? A lot of meetings? A lot of being expected to absorb huge amounts of information without quite enough context? The employee onboarding process can be considered to extend until that employee is all the way up to speed. How long did it really take for you to start truly understanding what your company was about or who everyone was?

If onboarding training feels mostly like a confusing blur, it might be time to rethink your organization’s onboarding training process.

Why Is Onboarding Training Important to an Organization?

When is it time to switch to onboarding training videos?First impressions matter. How well employees engage with onboarding helps determine how they feel about a company for quite some time, and how they’re going to engage with the company as a whole.

But it’s not just about warm and fuzzy feelings. How well employees can understand and retain their onboarding information will impact performance. Getting them up to speed determines how soon they can make a meaningful contribution to their team. It also determines how much of their team’s time they waste with questions. If a new employee spends weeks being lost, it’s not just their own work that’s going undone. It’s also slowing down everyone who needs to help them. Worse, if the new employee learns things incorrectly or has gaps that no one notices, it might take months or even years to straighten them out.

HR will feel the impact as well. A major part of onboarding includes getting all the HR paperwork squared away. Employees don’t just have to pick a health plan. They also have to understand company procedures for everything from travel claims to vacation requests to 401k accounts. It’s a huge amount of information to absorb very quickly. When they inevitably fail, it’s HR who will have to answer questions. Again. And again.

Solving Employee Onboarding Training Challenges through Video

So how can you solve your onboarding employee engagement woes? One answer is video.

Giving people information in-person has its advantages. It’s personal. It lets them ask questions. It’s easy to see if the new employee falls asleep. But it’s also incredibly repetitive and time-consuming for the person giving the information. It requires coordinating lots of people’s schedules every time a new employee shows up. And it dumps a lot of information on the employee all at once, without any easy way for them to get the info again later without having to bug whoever trained them.

You can give them handouts, of course. Written manuals are cheap and can be referred to later. But they’re also really dry. Let’s be honest – the chances of someone actually reading the employee handbook cover to cover are pretty slim. It’s also basically impossible to prove whether or not someone actually read the material.

Video can be easy to create. This doesn’t have to be a fancy studio production. It can be as simple as the trainer or HR person sitting down with their laptop and running through everything once. It’s easy to share the screen – no need for people to peer at tiny numbers on a faraway TV.

Video also offers engaging onboarding. If you don’t have time to run through everything in person, a video is going to catch new employees’ attention much more effectively than text.

But perhaps the biggest advantage is that onboarding training videos can be asynchronous. The new employee can watch them at any time. No more tying up everyone’s schedules every couple weeks to onboard one person at a time, or trying to coordinate multiple departments so you can get together a “class” of new employees. Just let them watch the videos you’ve already recorded. That also means that they can go back to them at any time. Can’t remember how to fill out a reimbursement form? Instead of calling HR and wasting their time, just rewatch the step-by-step video instructions.

Tips for Successful Onboarding Training Videos

Taking advantage of onboarding training videosHere are some key tips for taking advantage of today’s employee onboarding technology.

  • Send videos ahead. In education, a major trend has been the flipped classroom, where teachers assign a video of a lecture to be watched ahead of time. Students then come to class to discuss the videos. That way, instead of giving the same lecture over and over, teachers use in-person time to focus on answering questions, walking through examples, and creating conversations. It’s a more efficient use of everyone’s time. Consider doing the same for onboarding. Send your explanation videos ahead of time. Then when the employee comes in, you can focus on answering their questions and addressing their individual needs.
  • Keep videos short. Instead of an hour-long intro to all the HR functions, break videos up into individual topics, each a few minutes long. It’s easier for the speaker – recording a short video is less exhausting and doesn’t require doing an hour long perfect take. It’s also easier for the viewer. It lets them keep track of the topic more easily. Short videos are easier to engage with.
  • Make recordings available on the intranet. Remember, one of the biggest advantages of video is the ability to watch them again down the road.  Make sure all the latest videos are easily available to your employees, and easily searched. It will seriously cut down on the amount of time you spend answering the same questions over and over.
  • Don’t limit yourself to general information. Encourage individual departments to record their own onboarding videos for topics specific to them. How should the finance team process an invoice? What’s the best way to maintain a piece of equipment? What are the key selling points you want salespeople to bring up in an intro call? All the stuff people will have to take the time to teach to a newbie can be done by video. It frees up the veterans to focus on their jobs instead of constantly having to hold someone’s hand. Save that time for the individual lessons.

Advances in Employee Onboarding Training Video Technology

Already using video and ready to take advantage of some of the latest developments?

  • Interactive videos offer a great way to engage new hires. Create videos that offer viewers choices, and then branch off in different directions based on that choice. Let them see the consequences of their actions. It’s a great way to convey your corporate culture.
  • Add a quiz. See if employees are retaining information by embedding a quiz in your video.
  • Take advantage of video analytics. Analytics can give you insights into how viewers are using videos. Even better, predictive analytics can let you refine your training to be more effective. It can even help you predict what additional training individual employees might need.
  • Try VR to train people on specific environments. You can show people exactly what they’re supposed to do on the factory floor or in the field.
  • Make sure your videos are mobile-friendly. You want people to be able to review onboarding training videos anywhere they are, whenever they have a question.

Take your onboarding program to the next level…with video.