Death to Your Orientation Videos. Death to your Benefits Open Enrollment Videos!

franmelmed Employee Communications, Engagement and Satisfaction, Fran Melmed

Others may wish death to PowerPoint. Me? I’ve put out a hit on corporate videos. Not the employee-generated videos like we’ve seen at companies like KPMG, Intuit, and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. I’m talking the creaky, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood-type put together to talk about the company values, your respective roles in the performance management process, or benefits open enrollment. The orientation videos. The recruiting videos.

Silly me.

I thought they were dead―until I saw a company’s employee engagement video last week. Tuning out the video (tough task), I imagined the “creative” phase of the video’s development:

“We need to make this video really ‘snappy.’”

“Cool! I know this company that has great voice talent. What are you thinking: “trusty professional,” “disarming and real with depth,” or “young with a taste of salsa”?

It must’ve gone downhill from there. This being serious stuff, they determined they needed to be serious. And not being totally out of the loop, they knew they needed to grab their employees’ attention.

“We’ll start with a splashy intro and a gritty image.”

“Yes! Employees have never seen anything like that before.”

As if.

Then the well really ran dry. It wasn’t two seconds before some senior leader, sitting casually atop his desk, was telling employees why people are so important. And how the company’s invested in each and every employee, even though they’re cutting back on bonuses, training and development, and job growth. (OK, I made that up. That was the subtext.)

These vignettes were interspersed with graphs and flying text explaining the good, the bad, and the ugly of their engagement survey scores, all accompanied by a disembodied female voice that sounded eerily familiar because she also shills for their competitor’s similarly crappy video.


How many minutes before employees, like me, tuned out and engagement scores plummeted even lower? Five minutes? Probably less… unless they were just being kind because their company spent oodles on something nobody watched. (Or they made it themselves.)

If you’re going to spend serious cash on serious subjects, make it worth the effort. Hire true talent: to write, to act, to produce. Otherwise, can it and turn the Flip cameras over to employees who know a thing or two about what’s fun and engaging to them and let them run wild.