• Individual Contributor/SME

Cultural Onboarding: 7 Tips For Using Video to Engage New Employees

Sam Crumley is the VP of Employee Experience at Panopto. This post was originally published on LinkedIn.


The first few weeks are essential for onboarding a new employee not only to get productive in his role, but also to reinforce the company culture and employee value proposition that convinced them to join. It can often be a challenge to fit all of the information, meetings, training and basic transactions together while still maintaining an authentic experience. The manager side of the process is also tough to ensure consistency and thoroughness in their responsibilities. The last thing you want is to squelch all the excitement of a new hire by overwhelming them with a disjointed process.

Making process improvements and increasing automation are fundamental, especially if you’re still doing a lot of manual tasks and using multiple systems. Using our HR platform has helped us streamline the administrative and transactional tasks so we can hit the ground running day one with deeper cultural onboarding. I’ve even had feedback that signing up for benefits, providing background information and signing documents is the easiest new hires have ever experienced.

In addition to having a great workflow and automating all the forms, we have found that tapping into the power of video significantly improves the employee onboarding process in a few ways. These include improving adoption of processes, providing consistent instructional content and acclimating individuals to the way things get done. So how do you build a genuine, repeatable experience?

  1. Carry forward the “feel” from the recruitment process.  If you have certain messages and value propositions you use to attract talent, bring those through to onboarding. This may mean restating the company mission, values and giving a little history on why those things are important to employees.
  2. Provide deeper visibility into the company. Nothing beats seeing for themselves, so if you operate multiple sites in many locations video can effectively show what’s going on in other parts of the company. It also gives people the chance to put more faces to names and help cut down on that awkward “have we met?”.
  3. Reinforce key messages on how “how we do things.”  You can read policies, handbooks and memorize the company values. When you see how someone acts through video and what they choose as important, it gives a better experience on how things show up, not just how they’re written on paper.
  4. Show step-by-steps of important processes.  Video is an on-demand resource that employees can revisit when it comes to completing expense reports, booking meetings and other internal best practices.
  5. Allow for self-pace and revisiting content. A full day of live orientation can leave new employees overwhelmed. Giving them access to recorded content gives the freedom to pause, fast-forward and tag content.
  6. Create custom playlists.  You will find that some groups need a little more of one topic and a little less of another. Use your VCMS (we use Panopto, of course) or LMS to create reusable onboarding paths.
  7. Engage the new employee in creating video.  At the end of week one, have the employee give feedback on what they’ve learned and what they’re looking forward to after joining the team.

So that covers the employee, what about the manager? In cases where a manager may not hire very often, if this is their first hire, or when you want to roll out changes to the onboarding process, video can also be a great solution to SHOW managers what to do.

Related Reading: Welcome Aboard: 8 Ideas for Better Employee Onboarding Videos


With the tools you already have available and a little coordination on access and storage, you’re halfway there to enhance onboarding with video. It’s a pretty simple business case to make too. Onboarding improvements can help with knowledge retention, decrease costs, ensure greater consistency and help new hires feel more engaged and connected. It’s already been proven by many successful organizations.

If you want to chat about his more, connect with me at the upcoming SHIFT: The Culture Conference. I’m looking forward to hearing more and exchanging ideas from other HR leaders.