Film, employees and lockdown

There has been lots written about the positive and unintended consequences of the Coronavirus lockdown and the shift to WFH. Within the business context, the increased need and associated value placed on internal communications is one such example. It is, at last, being more widely accepted as a critical means to inform, inspire and involve employees in delivering business success, and in some cases business survival.

But there is a new challenge for internal communications to face. With employees no longer always being able to adopt the usual modus operandi, and with them not being in the expected places of work, the ability to connect with this audience group has been transformed. Meanwhile this reduction in channels is coupled with an increasing volume, importance and urgency of communications.

Face to face communications has always been the most effective channel, and seeing and hearing from leaders, managers and peers is still really important. We have seen many businesses embrace webcasting, user generated content as well as regular updates from leaders in new and innovative ways. Even the most camera-shy leaders or employees are becoming more accustomed to filming and recording themselves speaking via their mobile phone cameras. When planned and produced well, it can really help to keep communications authentic, trustworthy as well as inclusive.

But film also has unique advantages above and beyond being a substitute for social contact. We have always considered it a potent means of employee engagement, and it often features as a core component in our integrated campaigns. Film has a unique ability to tell succinct and accessible stories with an emotional resonance.

The challenge we face right now with film is really about digging deeper into our reserves of ceativity. We need to be finding new and better ways to use film more, whilst ensuring it doesn’t overwhelm or become vanilla. And to create content in a world where the practical aspects of film making are often heavily constrained. That doesn’t mean we can afford to let quality standards slip, as the current logistical challenges are probably going to be here for some time.

A good place to start when facing all these challenges is to have a good, well thought out communications plan and to set aside the right amount of time to prepare all the relevant stakeholders in advance.

Naz Sadri, (ex-journalist and senior film producer now employee engagement strategist) was part of a webinar panel set up by EVCOM, to discuss the role of film in internal communications, in this COVID era. You can watch it here)

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