Use Video Storytelling to Get New Hires Up to Speed
Studies have shown that the average time for new hires to achieve maximum productivity is 20 to 26 weeks. In other words, companies invest about six months waiting for employees to get up to speed.
Is there a more efficient method of onboarding new employees that also makes them emotionally invested? A technique that significantly reduces their learning curve? A strategy that cuts down on your work but provides more bang for your HR buck?
More companies are using a powerful new tool based on something we already know and love: movies. By tapping into the storytelling principles filmmakers use to keep their audiences engaged, we can give employees a way to hit the ground running more quickly – more informed, engaged, empowered, and united around the company’s mission and strategy. Here are some tips.
Understand your audience.
One reason new hires feel lost is that the inside view of a company is taken for granted by management, while new employees can’t really understand the ins and outs until they’ve been there about six months. This includes the jargon and acronyms that make new hires feel like they’ve entered a foreign country.
The area that most dramatically causes employees to miss the mark and undermines their confidence are the nuances of a company’s business model, target customers and strategy. You’ll see the fallout when they speak up in meetings or offer their first recommendations. It’s a vulnerable time. They want to be acknowledged as the smart people they are, but they’re often faced with blank stares and comments like, “Actually, it doesn’t work that way.” For new employees, these moments can be devastating. They’re also preventable, and by understanding these setbacks, you’re already on the right track to give them the information they need.
Tell them the company story.
Typically, the first significant training materials are a stack of PowerPoint decks. These are usually filled with the very jargon and acronyms that create a confidence tailspin. Instead of weighing down new hires with cumbersome decks, show them a five-minute movie that gives an inside view of the company. It could include the opportunities the company sees in the market, the logic behind its value proposition and business model, and the nuances of its key customer segments and brand positioning. This method is less daunting for the employee, and it’s also helpful because it’s self-explanatory, requiring less follow-up time and questions for busy managers.
Show them real customers and solutions in action.
Strategic concepts become much more understandable, relatable and powerful when told through stories of real customers. In the same way that heroes help us understand a movie’s theme, a customer story can take new hires right to the experiences where the company provides value. New hires will see and feel the customers’ needs, priorities and choices, making them far easier to understand. When you make these stories emotional, they’ll integrate new employees into the company culture – helping them truly understand and engage in the company’s purpose.
Let’s say you joined a pharmaceutical company and saw an onboarding movie about a man whose life was saved by one of the company’s medications. You’d see the emotional experience of the diagnosis, the patient confronted with choices and the people who weighed in – the hope, the pain, the experience of the treatment and the full spectrum of benefits that come with his recovery, all with the dramatic tools that movies use. That’s so much more inspiring than a stack of PowerPoint decks.
Video storytelling gives new hires the ability to provide value in far less time. If your company can’t create movies, you can still bring cinematic elements to onboarding presentations by utilizing three movie-style storytelling principles: Be simple, be real and be powerful. This simple strategy helps professionals quickly find fresh, dynamic ways to transform messages and insights into resonant stories that move their employees—which is a great way to move the business!
Ted Frank is the principal story strategist at Backstories Studio. His book, “Get to the Heart,” shows professionals how movie-style storytelling can make their presentations clear, compelling and C-suite ready.