Strategy. That’s what you want to do, right? HR employees spend way too much time answering mundane questions, training new employees, and reminding people of compliance rules. But, all of these tasks can be automated -using video- so that you can focus your time on what HR was meant to do.

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I have a terrible memory, and so you can be sure that every human resources team that has ever had to deal with me has had to remind me, repeatedly, how to log into the benefits portal; which investment companies provide my 401(k); or how to record my paid vacation in the clunky, new system.

For a long time I thought that was what the HR team was there for, and so I felt no guilt in the constant stream of questions I sent them – asking them to hold my hand while I forgot my way through how my own benefits worked.

But the reality is something much more maddening: There is a Kilimanjaro-sized pile of work that every human resources professional wishes they could get around to, if they could only make it through all the emails. The truth is that no one got into this game to answer the same mundane questions, over and over into eternity.

A truly capable human resources team should be working on developing talent pipelines, structuring promotion and job requirements, being intentional about developing company culture, tightening the feedback and collaboration loops between departments, and helping top executives with strategy. That is what HR was designed to do: to manage and direct the human capital necessary to achieve the highest goals of an organization. In other words: It takes people to achieve great things, and HR is about making great people work together to achieve great things.

Reminding forgetful people like me how to log into the benefits portal shouldn’t have to be a part of that. At least not a major part of it.

There is hope. Tasks that you complete regularly with little to no variation can easily be automated. Take Google’s customer service as a perfect example:
I have had the opportunity to work with Google support both on an individual task that required their close attention, and also to just get an answer to a question that I’m sure millions of other users have had. By knowing which is which, Google creates video and text-based training and documentation materials for common questions – freeing up time and bandwidth to work on individual tasks that actually require their attention.

Which is Better, Text or Video-Based Automation?

Text has one clear advantage over video-based materials, and video has all the other advantages. Text is searchable, index-able, and easy to organize. Use text for dictionary-like collections of data that people need to skim, search, or copy and paste. When developing training and you want to use text, ask yourself this one question: Will my target audience want to frequently visit this content in order to find or copy a single piece of very precise information? If so, text still does it best. Common text materials include:

  • Job Requirements or Descriptions
  • Rules
  • Common Vocabulary
  • Technical Specifications
  • Legal Information

For everything else, there is video. Video is more memorable and impactful, and it communicates tone, emotion, and intent much more clearly than text is able. Sure, you need to make sure your legal requirements are written in text, but anything you want people to actually remember, should be in video.

How Do I Start Video Automation?

First off, I have to say that my company does that at a quality, speed, and price that has been optimized for HR professionals.

However, if you don’t have the budget but you can make the time to bootstrap your own videos, automating HR training is still possible. Lucky for you, cameras and DIY options abound for those interested in making their own library of videos. You simply need to figure out 4 things:

  1. What do you need to say? – Take time to write a list of all of the questions you address most frequently, and how you always end up answering them.
  2. How are you going to record your training? Several options exist for DIY training, but Screencast-O-Matic makes a great free screen recorder that will record slides, demonstrations, and your face (using a webcam).
  3. How are you going to host your training?  – Depending on the type and sensitivity of what you have to say, this could be as easy as creating a YouTube playlist for your company, or as complex as embedding your video on a dedicated LMS that employees have to log into. I can’t answer what you need, you’ll have to do so on your own.
  4. How (and when) are you going to share your training? – Some training is best sent as a reminder during email conversations, while other training only needs be delivered during employee onboarding. Work with your team to determine when and how you hope employees will access your training.

Conclusion

Automating HR training and responses to frequently asked questions can take some time (if you want to set it up yourself) but it is definitely worth it in time and money saved. Once you have your common questions automated, you’ll have more time to focus on tasks that can really impact the long-term culture and health of your organization.

 

– Cory

Cory Johnson is CEO and owner at Endgrain Studios.