Teamwork makes the dream work.
Photo by Dylan Gillis / Unsplash

Why video introductions?

Have you ever been in a position where you've interacted extensively with somebody in another department or site only to realize you know nothing about the them?  Once a business reaches a certain size, this kind of thing becomes inevitable.  While it may not seem like a big deal at face value, we all know that personal connections are critically important for strong, high-performing teams. Trust & empathy are key components for teams that can execute together through good times & bad, and it's difficult to establish trust & empathy without making those personal connections.

So how do you establish these personal connections for new team members, especially on geographically separated teams at a time when remote work is becoming the norm at many companies?  One extremely effective way to start the conversation is with employee video introductions, in which a new member of the team can use their own words & image to introduce themselves to the team.

How do video introductions help strengthen teams?

Several years ago I worked at a company with several offices across the country. Though we often worked most closely with people in the same office, some projects naturally spanned several offices.  I can remember being asked to help on one project which was a little outside of my regular area of focus, and with a new product manager I hadn't worked with before.  Seeing as the project was well underway, I jumped right in on the engineering side, without any planning or kickoff meetings.

Pretty quickly, I found myself at odds with the product manager–who I'd never met–over some of the details of the project.  After a couple of tense emails back and forth, I found myself thinking, "wow, this guy is just a jerk" – and I allowed myself to keep thinking that, which just soured the relationship further.  It wasn't until I happened to see him for the first time on video in a completely unrelated meeting that I realized what I was doing–this guy wasn't the big mean jerk I'd imagined, he was just another guy trying to do his best on this project.  

After that meeting I jumped in a video conference with the product manager and we hashed out our differences.  It was through that experience that I really understood the importance of making personal connections to the people I was working with.

What kind of content goes into a video introduction?

There are lots of ways to approach this question, and the answer depends on your company's individual style & character.  But there are some key themes you may want to include:

Ask them to introduce themselves

The obvious starting point for an introduction video is an actual introduction. It's best to keep the initial introduction short and sweet, and save some of the details for the other questions.

How did they get here?

This is an opportunity to expand on the initial introduction and provide some additional color.  Every new position involves a journey of some kind, and this is the opportunity to describe that journey.  Where were they previously?  What attracted them to this team or company?

What makes them unique?

Beyond their professional experience and background, everybody has something that makes them unique.  A love of baking, a penchant for Scandinavian crime thrillers, or a secret stamp collection – whatever it is, these are some of the things that make us us.  Asking people to share some of these details goes a long way in helping to establishing those personal connections, no matter how trivial they might seem.

Put them on the spot

Another way to dig deeper into personality to ask some gently pointed questions. What celebrity would they most want to be trapped in an elevator with?  If they were an animal, what kind would they be?  If you won $1M in the lottery, what would you spend it on?  Yes, these are silly questions, but they're opportunities to open up and give creative or revealing answers.

Whatever you choose, make sure you give the new employee ample opportunity to introduce themselves in their own words.  Don't make the format too rigid–this is their opportunity to present themselves to the team, so let them express themselves!

How to easily build introduction videos

There are lots of ways to build introduction videos.  If you're lucky enough to have in-house video production skills, you can ask them to do a video shoot, but if your goal is to quickly start reaping the benefits of introduction videos, don't overthink it: team members can capture video on their own devices to build their intro videos.

If you do prefer a more produced look, with your own branding & design, there are a number of tools which will help you quickly & easily create fully produced videos for video introductions.  With Verifiablee, for example, all your new team member needs to do is visit a webpage to record their responses and automatically generate a fully-produced introduction video.

Conclusion

No matter what questions you ask, and how you capture the video, using video for employee introductions is a powerful tool to seed the personal connections that teams need to work together.