Published: May 17, 2019
Time to read: 7mins
Category: Insights

The Role of Video in Future HCM Products [Q&A with Stephen Bruce]

In a recent roundtable discussion with HCM Technology Report, PeopleFluent’s Managing Director, Stephen Bruce, discussed video's role in current and future HCM products and learning management systems (LMSes), and how organizations are making the most of video technology. Here’s a deeper insight from the conversation.

Q: Do you see video becoming a bigger part of HR technology—not only in recruiting and/or learning, but in other areas such as self-service, performance management or something else?

SB: There’s no question that synchronous video tools like Adobe Connect, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Skype, and Google Hangouts have become commodities for facilitating face-to-face conversations or live video for distributed teams. These platforms get people together and serve as essential productivity tools, and I don't see these synchronous video tools being any different for HR technology.

However, there are quite a few examples of how on-demand video can be a significant communication, delivery and platform for many HR processes. As an example, from a recruiting perspective, the novel application of video is on-demand interviewing—recruiters can capture specific questions and candidates can answer at their convenience, 24/7. Recruiters can then compare responses and narrow down their finalist candidates.

However, we don't see the use of video as a first touchpoint in the recruiting process, but rather a secondary tool to evaluate after determining that a candidate has potential based on initial requirements, background, and skills.

While there is certainly value in live and synchronous video for HR, what’s different—and more valuable—is this flexibility. With on-demand video within the recruiting solution, video interviews are centralized and can be shared with other employees whose schedules make it hard to coordinate in-person meetings. That’s another important distinction when compared with synchronous, one-on-one video and from Webex, GoToMeeting, Skype, etc.

Going back to the question: do we see video becoming a bigger part of HR technology?


We see video as critical for all aspects of HR. Video as a medium has the power to engage people and explain the why, how, and what needs to be done within a talent process.

That’s the key to better talent outcomes: Capturing a clear, concise, and consistent message, which often presents a challenge for HR departments because these messages often come from line management. And unfortunately, even with all the coaching, development and training HR provides, often the messaging simply doesn’t cascade down into the final communication from managers to employees.

Q: What video features do you offer?

SB: PeopleFluent was actually the first talent management software to embed video throughout different workflows within talent management processes. Our customers are already leveraging video beyond recruiting and learning—whether it’s a manager providing a performance evaluation or a 90-day assessment, an employee describing their personal goals, or HR providing guidance on compensation distribution.

By wrapping those processes with videos, HR can provide specific, and contextual communications across the organization to accelerate and improve adoption and engagement. This embedded video approach is more effective than webinars, which are commonly used by HR departments, because you can preserve the context that’s often lost in broadcasting to a large group.

For instance, people who aren’t comfortable speaking in a group setting can ask a question within a video tool. That question is then routed to the HR department or the instructor, who can provide an answer within the tool. That Q&A can actually be preserved within the training for future employees, both saving time and enriching the training experience. All of this activity can be centralized within the talent management platform, which captures analytics and delivers insights for the HR team.

Q: Do video tools pose a risk of dampening engagement? For instance, how will employees feel if video becomes a part of performance management?

SB: I don't believe there’s any dampening effect. In fact, the strength of video is its ability to convey that human element.

I think people are hesitant to record video because they fear they’re not “camera ready” or need high production values. But even with modest production value, video empowers companies to genuinely reflect their brand and culture, which is important to today’s job seekers.

Younger generations have grown up on video and trust a simpler, more organic feel. If production overtakes the human element, you risk actually degrading the video’s usefulness and engagement level.

Of course, video won’t replace face-to-face interaction. But it is an essential tool for employee communication and HR processes, boosting efficiency so HR can focus on employee development.

Q: Where in particular do you see incorporating video tools into HR technology?

SB: Organizations have been a bit slow to embrace what I consider to be the “next generation of video,” but the capabilities are available now. From a pure quality of hire perspective, any hiring methodology will be improved with greater time in the interview actually assessing the candidate’s experience and abilities.

Consider that every interview requires a recruiter, manager, or peer to spend 10-15 minutes covering the same basic information about the company, the team and the role. By delivering this information via video, you can ensure an additional 20-30 percent of the interview time focused on the candidate evaluation.

And, when you consider that often the message can be disjointed and cumbersome to deliver, with frequent inconsistencies, the value of video becomes even more compelling.

Compared to your typical job description, a “day in the life” visual experience is vastly more interesting. Done right, the candidate can essentially meet—via video—their potential future manager and other aspects of the position that might convince them to apply. This includes compelling work, career growth, and input from other employees who have been in the role. The key to video job descriptions is to connect on an individual basis with hiring manager and potential candidates; not some generic product video by role that is used over and over for different managers, locations, and businesses.

Another application of video is for guiding managers through performance and compensation decisions. With prior methods, such as recorded webinars, it’s difficult to find specific information—for example, finding the moment during a webinar on compensation during which the instructor explained the pay philosophy, the merit pool, or some other specific aspect of the compensation process.

By embedding video within the performance management or compensation system, managers can view specific clips right when they’re evaluating an employee or considering a merit increase. They can also search for specific topics and cut directly to an answer within a video, watch that 30-second selection, and then get on with their day. This is an incredible time saver.

And then there’s learning programs. Let’s say you're working for a manufacturing company and you're building an engine. Imagine being able to isolate a moment on the video and highlight the exact part you don’t understand or need better guidance on, whether that’s a close-up or better explanation of what the instructor is doing with their hands. It’s incredibly efficient.

For eLearning, training videos can be chapterized and searchable, as well as auto-translated into over 100 languages for a global workforce, with the ability to search the spoken word and go directly to the part of the video of interest.

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