In this blog, we look at how technology has made group communication simple, consistent, effective and inexpensive for HR teams and offer some suggestions on how to get the most out of today’s technology.
How to communicate effectively with the workforce can be a challenge for all organisations, particularly as they expand. With many tools available both on and offline now at the disposal of the HR team, the challenge is to choose the one principal channel that is going to deliver your message effectively and reliably.
Selecting Your Channel
The medium for communication is important but the channel choices are numerous. When you have a big company announcement, or need to conduct training to many employees at the same time, what’s the best vehicle to choose? Physical meetings with large numbers of employees, particularly if they are based in multiple locations, can be prohibitively expensive. Employers need to also consider the increasingly mobile and global workforce, where employees often work remotely in different locations ranging from coffee shops to their cars and in airports, and expect rich content to be available on their devices. In addition, millennials, or Generation Y, are used to running just about every aspect of their lives virtually. So, HR teams must then turn to the plethora of technology at their disposal such as videoconferencing, webinars, webcasts and so on. But which is the right medium to choose when they all seem to reach many people at the same time? Here are some considerations to help you define your approach.
One of the best options for HR managers to consider, particularly in larger corporations, is a webcast. This is a broadcast of video, audio or both over the internet and is often used for presentations and company announcements, such as executive town halls, financial results, indeed any occasion in fact, where you want to have a one-to-many conversation with several or even thousands of attendees without worrying about travel or logistics. With webcasts, the quality may be higher than with standard webinars, and they are also generally designed to reach a larger audience. A webinar may be more appropriate for more confidential discussions, for example, employee on-boarding discussions, as these normally entail more individual or group topics, such as individual employee packages. Webinars tend to be invite-only, whereas a webcast can be available to an unlimited audience online, often on the company website, on Facebook or YouTube.
Webcasts for businesses typically fall into two categories: managed and self-service. For a managed webcast, the service provider handles everything from logistics, filming, broadcasting and more. Self-service webcasting, on the other hand, can be a more cost-effective way to offer businesses access to enterprise-grade webcasting, publishing, editing and analytics tools so they can host their own webcasts using their existing technology infrastructure.
Until comparatively recently, webcasting has typically been both expensive and complex. Professionally managed webcasts can look like TV productions, with satellite trucks, camera crews and a full production staff. Today, however there is an alternative. High-quality self-service webcasting is now a reality and can be interactive. It’s now much easier for people to both host and join webcasts from anywhere and on any device. And, once finished, the webcast can be available immediately for on-demand viewing. Built-in editing tools are available to crop video, audio or presentations, and additional slides and video clips can be uploaded after your webcast has ended.
The right webcasting approach can turn existing video and audio infrastructure into broadcasting equipment quickly and easily, and can help not just as an information tool but also with employee engagement. With time, money and convenience at a premium in today’s business world, webcasting has become a strategic way for HR and other business functions to connect with a range of external and internal stakeholders simultaneously, whilst also ensuring message consistency. By following some simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a first-class webcast.
Basic Rules to Follow Include: -
- Check the quality of your Internet upload speed
- Plan your lighting and backdrop
- Check your sound quality and microphones and how they will sound in the venue
- Build metrics into the system so that the HR team can check views, clicks and comments
- Practise the technology. Webcasts these days are relatively simple, but it is still best to ensure you are fully in command of how it works
- Be inspiring - follow the rules for public speaking to ensure that the pitch and tone of the presentation is interesting and engaging
- Choose interesting images to illustrate the presentation
- Promote your web event in advance
- Make it simple to connect to your webcast with an intuitive platform and easy-to-registration page
- Consider using a professional operator to assist with your webcast
For those who are new to webcasting, they may not have realised how much the technology has progressed and how easy it is to host a virtual event. The first hurdle to hosting a successful webcast is to get over the fear of using technology. With millions of HR teams across the globe now using webcasting to successfully host town halls or benefits enrollment webinars, it is a very valuable tool for a global organisation.
About Lyndsay Cook
Lyndsay Cook is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Demand Generation at PGi, the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services. Accessible anywhere, anytime and on any device, PGi’s award-winning collaboration solutions drive productivity and teamwork for HR and other mangers for approximately 50,000 customers worldwide.
PGi is the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services. For more than 25 years, our broad portfolio of products has served the end-to-end collaboration needs of enterprises. Accessible anywhere, anytime and on any device, PGi's award-winning collaboration solutions drive productivity and teamwork for approximately 50,000 customers around the world. To learn more, visit us at pgi.com
About Lyndsay Cook
Lyndsay Cook is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Demand Generation at PGi, the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services. He has been with the company since 2006 and is based at PGi's European Headquarters in Clonakilty, in the West of Ireland. He manages a pan-International marketing and product team and is responsible for the marketing of PGi’s leading UC&C technology and services across EMEA and Asia.