Caught on Video — The Employee Lifecycle: #TChat Preview

Breaking news: Video is being used in the workplace for recruiting and talent management. It’s a technology that supports social collaboration and interaction, but do company leaders see it that way, too, or mostly as an aid to surveillance? Put differently, have attitudes progressed to view video as a two-way tool? And which leaders are using video to train employees who work from remote locations? After all, we are a global workforce.

The answer: Yes, all of the above, and a lot more. Video is bigger than Lolcats on YouTube; it’s a legitimate business tool. Companies that are using tele-presence technologies to support global team interaction and collaboration are also increasingly turning to video for HR support, and uses now range from interviews to managing remote teams and providing learning content for a decentralized workforce. Safety training is a big application, and other workplace learning opportunities have been in place for a while.

And what can we make of amateur user-generated video? The barrier to entry couldn’t be lower. Web cams are embedded in most mobile phones, tablets and laptops; it’s a technology that appeals far beyond Gen Y. Tell the truth: How many video Skype conversations have you had with your parents in the past year? Did you know Skype supported 32 million concurrent conversations recently?

Some of the most practical applications of video are for job seekers — e.g., video resumes. Check out ResumeTube and BrightTab, for instance. More applicants are putting these together, but it’s unclear to what extent video resumes will supplant, rather than supplement, the traditional resume. Actually, plenty of technology threatens resumes’ turf, but that is a conversation encompassing more than video. Suffice it to say that video resumes may edge out first-level phone screening over the short term. Furthermore, more companies are using video interviews; again, however, it’s unclear, when, if, and how quickly these will replace traditional interviews, or if video interviews will become the new first-level applicant screening tool.

Because video is a form of in-real-life (IRL) interaction, we believe the technology has potential to make the workplace more productive (as long as your Internet connection speeds are up to snuff). Nevertheless, the use of video may sometimes be inappropriate in the workplace — e.g., to convey employee sanctions, to negotiate get-well plans and short-term objectives, and to terminate employment.

And look at it this way: There’s nothing like a real, signed letter to make a job offer sing. Video can’t do that.

Because “video in the workplace” is a large topic, and because there are still many open questions about workplace privacy rights and the application of this technology to the benefit of HR, it’s a perfect topic for this week’s TalentCulture #TChat.

Here are a few of the questions we’ll be discussing:

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Please join us Wednesday night for #TChat. That’s Febraury 29 — don’t forget: Leap Year has given us an extra bit of February. Fire up Twitter at 7-8 pm ET (6-7 CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are) to join me and moderator Maren Hogan, as well as Sean Charles, Kyle Lagunas and the newest addition to our team, Brent Skinner. Usual #TChat mainstay Kevin Grossman is in Austin, Texas, this week to attend TLNT Transform, but even he might swoop in for a tweet or two. We won’t be using webcams, but we’ll be visualizing all of you. Talk to you (see you) Wednesday.

Change HR with Your Own "silly walk"

HR is such an open, unique field that finds itself bound by the past. Organizations continue to churn and churn on HR programs and ideas that haven’t been current in years (or even decades). The difficulty facing folks is how to break away from the past.

We tout “change management” as a profession, but change is tough. People aren’t as open or adept to change as people may profess. Also, HR has a reputation of telling others what to do and/or what policies to step in line with. Not too appealing, honestly.

However, fear not! There is a great way to truly turn things around for HR practitioners which is well within our reach. To get our inspiration, you need to look no further than Monty Python.  You probably haven’t seen the Pythons listed as a business or HR resource in a post before have you?

Being a giant Python fan, I’ve found them to be the best “model” of comedy ever. Creative, scathing, brilliant and something that truly redefined boundaries of what was expected. One of my favorite sketches is the “Ministry of Silly Walks.” A person comes into the Ministry to try out his silly walk and it doesn’t turn out to be very silly at all. The cast then shows a myriad of fantastic silly walks which still gives me deep belly laughs.

The point of this analogy is this . . .

In order for HR to succeed in today’s business environment, we need to model the behavior we expect from others. We can’t continue to just tell folks what to do and expect change. So, going forward, try this approach:

  • Be consistent – Consistency in HR is huge! If you are consistent across your programs, policies and procedures, you’ll bring more equality in your organization than you’ve ever witnessed before.
  • Be visible – You can’t expect supervisors and managers to tend to their employees if your desk is more important than people. Get out amongst the masses.  After their initial shock, they’ll love (and expect) seeing you.
  • Be different – If you want true diversity, celebrate the vast differences everyone brings to work each day vs. trying to force conformity. It’s so cool that everyone has their own “silly walk.” Let them bring that out at work.
  • Be the example – HR that set the standard through modeling can’t be touched. People will literally clamor for what is going on because they’re seeing what you’re looking for in your own behavior.  It works.

Now, I need to saunter down the hall with a skip, two-toe pirouette, left heel drag and two leaps . . .