User-generated video: the benefits and challenges of introducing it to your business

by | Resources

User-generated video (UGV) exploded onto the scene in recent years with an insurgence of learning technology platforms. But, that’s not the only reason it’s becoming a hot topic. As more organisations look to achieve more with existing resources as well as establish a self-driven, self-paced learning environment, content created by your people, for your people, could well be the secret sauce in many learning strategies.

Both video and user-generated content are great formats to facilitate modern learning but they also support wider business priorities such as culture change, employee retention, future skills and more.

Our guide to user-generated content (UGC) in learning discusses the best practices that work well in learning but what are the benefits and challenges of UGV? And how will it work for your business? Read on to find out.


Why introduce user-generated video to your business?

One of the biggest cultural changes enabled by ubiquitous internet access, smartphones and social networks is the accelerated use and acceptance of user-generated content. It’s widely used to support decision-making and learning in our personal lives. And, people trust it, so it’s not surprising over 50% teams in 2022 planned to extend their digital learning resources by upskilling SMEs and internal talent according to the Digital Learning Realities 2022 report from Fosway Group.


Societal Leaders Not Trusted - Edelman Trust Barometer 2022


Whilst research from Forrester suggests employees are 75% more likely to watch video content than written format, a report from Stackla also highlights the importance of user-generated content when building trust and authenticity with audiences:

    • Consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content is authentic compared to brand-created content.
    • 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.

If you’re trying to build trust in your L&D team and evolve a continuous, self-driven learning culture, then user-generated content, especially with video, is one of the best ways to support this.


What are the business benefits of creating user-generated videos?

The added value of user-generated video in learning environments is not to be underestimated. Why? You get the best of both – individual stories created and shared by the people who matter in your business, using an in-demand medium. Brilliant.

User-generated video supports the human stories of your business, unlocks and shares expertise as well as drives cohesion and connection in a way traditional elearning just can’t.

Like many L&D teams, you may be relying on professional film crews or Zoom interviews to support your video requirements. By using a tool like StoryTagger and bringing this in-house, user-generated video can be an agile, cost-effective and authentic way to capture the stories your people need to hear.

If that’s not reason enough, we’ve compiled the top five benefits of user-generated video in learning and why now is the time to welcome new, innovative ways of recording authentic, value-led videos.


1. Reduce costs

In the current economic climate, many companies are scrambling for ways to achieve more, with less. And whilst there’s lots to be said about commissioning ‘Netflix’ style content, the reality is it’s a costly investment, rarely matched with real business benefits. Even with a basic brief, a lot of resource and technology is required to run a shoot. Budgets and complexity quickly escalate and, chances are, the same goals could have been achieved with a more organic approach.

Research shows 70% of all training comes from existing employees. So, it makes sense to tap into this and use your experts to create video. It means you can drive costs down whilst still creating high-value, meaningful content for end-users.

And user-generated video technology can be incorporated into multiple campaigns, unlocking knowledge across your organisation. From employee onboarding and development programmes to internal communications and diversity, equity and inclusion, it offers incredible value for money.


2. Save time

Creating videos with film crews takes a lot of time and resources. Visiting locations, working with an external team and producing video can eat up many more hours than expected. When you factor in pre-shoot engagement, interviews, on-the-day support, post-production and editing, professional video is a time-heavy investment.

The set-in-stone appointments can also pose a problem for busy colleagues. Fluid diaries and competing priorities get in the way, as can the nerves that many will experience with sets, lighting and scripts.

A lot of companies have resorted to recording over Teams or Zoom but even this can be a real time-soak. With valuable team members tied up on video projects, this might not be a saving. There are hidden costs of Teams interviews:

    • Scheduling and managing interview slots
    • Sending out instructions
    • Recording the call
    • Editing the video
    • Signing off content with interviewee

We estimate the time to complete 10 interviews using Teams is around 86 hours. With user-generated video tools like StoryTagger, the time it takes to design, manage, record, edit, sign-off and release 10 employee interviews is considerably less – just 6 hours! That’s a 14x saving.

This massively extends the capability of the L&D department, decentralising the function and promoting every colleague into an SME in their own right. An approach that empowers people in new ways, it fully supports a continuous learning culture.


3. A more scalable solution

It’s difficult to be inclusive when using traditional video production methods. For example, if you’re looking for feedback and insights from a recent leadership programme you rolled out globally, you can probably conduct 8 – 12 interviews max on one day of filming in one location.

The problem with this is two-fold. Firstly, this small group is unlikely to reflect the diversity of your cohort. Secondly, with hybrid working and global teams commonplace, it’s likely your interviewees will be in different locations, making it hard to include all the perspectives you need. This can compromise video plans and force a less engaging campaign.

Whether you’re scaling from 1 interview to a 500 strong cohort or reaching locations across the globe, by letting your teams create their own videos, wherever they are, you immediately widen your pool of experts and achieve some great results with much less effort.

Another major barrier to introducing video to learning environments can be the level of skill required to make it work. Even if you’re not outsourcing you may still be relying on in-house teams, such as internal comms, who have these skills. Progress hinges on their availability and causes bottlenecks which completely stymies L&D’s ability to be responsive to business needs at pace. Projects are left gathering dust when they need to be driving impact.

Tools like StoryTagger don’t require any of these specialist skills in order to create valuable video content quickly, democratising video creation and making it even more scalable. This is just one of the reasons why many forward-looking teams are now using UGV as a cost-effective, scalable and sustainable way to capture stories.

And, as we’ve already said, UGV can be multipurpose! Scalable tech can easily be shared with your learning, talent and HR, comms or marketing teams.


4. Engages learners

These days learners are drowning in content. Engaging them in any meaningful way that will impact the business is increasingly difficult. Turning to UGC video is a way to stand out from the crowd while at the same time saving cost and time. Here are a few reasons why:


a) User-generated video creates a more personal, relevant learning experience

People want more than an 80-slide e-learning module but we still create this content hoping to drive better results. The reality is, no matter how much jazzy animation or ‘interactive’ content you introduce, it can still feel like a cold, inaccessible learning environment. Seeing a colleague sharing their experiences on video is more authentic, relatable and provides important context.


b) UGV promotes better connection and engagement

Real stories mean more to us than brand messages. By enabling UGV creation in your business, you give people a voice and reach they’ve never had before. As a result, individuals can connect with global teams, extend their network and interact with people they’ve never met. This fosters a feeling of belonging and can actively contribute to employee retention rates and overall learning impact.


c) User-generated video empowers and encourages reflection

Reflecting on what we’ve learned and sharing it with others can have a significant impact on our ability to apply knowledge and use it to respond effectively to future work situations. More on this below!


d) UGV builds trust and authenticity

User-generated video is uniquely positioned to not only enhance learning experiences with reflection, sharing ideas and feedback but also to make digital experiences more human. Super-fast access to experts, knowledge and inspiration in the moment is brought to life by real stories from real people doing real things. This in turn builds trust and authenticity with our employees, in times when leaders are experiencing a lack of trust and trusting coworkers is at an all-time high.

Societal Leaders Not Trusted - Edelman Trust Barometer 2022

5. Develop valuable future skills

Not only does UGV help capture valuable content for your business campaigns, but it also develops some of the skills the World Economic Forum regards as vital to the future of the workforce.

The very act of sharing expertise on video promotes essential future skills, including reflection, emotional intelligence, and communication and storytelling. With the right tools, user-generated video can be very powerful.

Tools like StoryTagger offer in-built frameworks to guide creators into sharing something that’s concise and on-point by helping them to reflect and codify their experiences. It’s the skills developed in this process that help people adapt, change and organisations be agile.

How will user-generated video help you overcome challenges at work?

1. Drive performance and productivity

The age old challenge – how to drive performance and productivity in your employees. There are many ways to become more efficient and effective at work. In order to improve, we need to understand what has worked well and what we can do better. Research shows that when we do stop and reflect we improve our performance.

But reflection isn’t something that comes naturally to many of us. We have a tendency to keep ‘doing’ rather than think about what we’ve done. Whilst it’s an integral part of how we learn, it can be a challenge to embed it.

We’ve already discussed how it builds trust, engages learners and develops skills (all of which support performance improvement). But used in the right way, user-generated video can also guide reflection, helping people surface and share valuable learnable experiences. Tools like StoryTagger use storytelling and reflective practice to help employees share complex work stories which support learning and behaviour change.

Societal Leaders Not Trusted - Edelman Trust Barometer 2022

2. Capture impact evidence

Many teams struggle to demonstrate the impact of their training programmes. How can you talk to the KPIs? How can you make causal links and correlations between the training and business impact? Data will get you so far but recording feedback, impact stories and powerful testimonials can help prove valuable to sponsors.

London Business School is a good example of how to do this well. This world class education provider harnesses user-generated video as part of leadership development to show critical evidence of learning transfer. By embedding UGV at key points of the learner journey, LBS has not only helped participants connect, develop skills and transfer learning, they also have evidence of impact and some incredible advocacy content!


3. Learn beyond the classroom

How do you create a safe, trusted environment, build engagement and support reflection in your development programmes with a dispersed workforce? Even if your programmes do include a face-to-face component, how can you add value and create connections before Day 1 starts? If you’ve run a development programme in the past, whether it’s face-to-face or for a hybrid workforce, this is no doubt a familiar challenge.

User-generated video enhances learning beyond the classroom by enabling facilitators and participants to share knowledge, improve communication, make connections and provide crucial impact evidence. By letting people reflect and record their own learning stories before, during and after, you can embed UGV throughout your programme.


4. Embed culture change

Work for many people has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Hybrid working is now the norm and alongside shifting attitudes and behaviours, embedding culture change is a common challenge. One which organisations now need to be more intentional about overcoming.

With user-generated content, video stories from people who model new ways of working can supercharge a culture shift and embed change in your organisation. They can build connections, create a sense of purpose, show ‘how we do things around here’, provide opportunities for collaboration, spark ideas and groundswell for change.


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5. Attract and retain top talent

According to Linkedin, 76% of hiring managers think that attracting the right candidate is one of the toughest nuts to crack. Alongside talent shortages, tight economical conditions and the best candidates being snapped up in just 10 days, attracting and retaining top talent is a perennial challenge.

Your employees are your most powerful advocates. Why not use them? UGV from your own people will help bring their knowledge, experiences and personal growth to life. It’s more authentic and relatable to hear from those who you’ll be working with and creates connections from the start by developing trust before Day 1. Plus, these videos can support your EVP, humanise your employer brand and act as social proof in an accessible way.

Impactful video content can also enhance the wider recruitment process. For their early careers campaign, the British Library incorporated video throughout and as a result, candidates were better prepared and engagement was higher, leading to the recruitment of an excellent new cohort of apprentices.

Find out more about how user-generated video can support your early careers programmes.


6. Break knowledge out of silos

Just one video can have a multiplier effect. So much learning takes place on-the-job, how can we make it easy to share, amplify and access this knowledge? This can be difficult and impersonal in a larger organisation but user-generated video can make it simple, scalable and human.

Knowledge locked in silos means there’s a real danger that teams struggle to connect. In fact, an article from Mckinsey reported that whilst connectivity and communication within immediate teams has gone up, it decreased significantly in teams across organisations.

With user-generated video, it’s much easier to be more deliberate and strategic about pulling knowledge and experience out of silos and into digital spaces. These videos can then be shared across the business. This can be even more impactful in remote or hybrid workspaces – people doing similar roles can benefit from the experience, knowledge and passion of others in a completely different location. By capturing and amplifying the secret sauce of your top performers, you can use it to spread good practice.


7. Encourage innovation

Many organisations aren’t set up to encourage innovation. Employees aren’t equipped nor motivated to contribute. This coupled with high staff turnover and skills shortages makes it a real challenge.

But crowdsourcing knowledge and insight can support invention. User-generated video makes it easier to actively bring people into the innovation process. This could be getting a better understanding of challenges people are facing, running a competition or sharing the results of a hackathon. Everyone having an equal voice helps them feel more involved, more curious and part of the bigger picture.


8. Develop leadership skills

How are your line managers fairing when it comes to helping people develop their skills and careers? According to the CIPD, 80% L&D professionals feel the traditional views of line managers are a blocker to implementing better ways to improve performance. While line managers play a critical role as leaders, enablers, doers, coaches and guardians, they often don’t prioritise their own learning and this can trickle down to how they support their team.

Enabling them to share their own experiences, lessons learned and stories on video is a brilliant way to develop critical leadership skills including empathy, reflection and communication. It helps us step out of our comfort zone, and become more concise and purpose-led in how we connect with people. Additionally, it can turn line managers into influencers by building good practice and a clear understanding of how we ‘do things around here’.


How to engage your colleagues with user-generated videos?

Much of the best learning comes from sharing real experiences, and video is a great way to learn and work out loud. But, how can we get our people to do it? We share five steps our customers take to successfully engage their teams below:


Be clear on purpose

Why do you want people to share their video stories or tips, what are the individual benefits and how will it contribute to organisational goals? Use existing employee insight and data to identify what matters to different teams and align this to the objectives of a particular programme and company value.


Provide a framework

Most people aren’t confident, natural storytellers so it’s helpful to provide a guided narrative framework and prompts. This will help people reflect, plan and add notes before they start recording.

If you ask people to record without scaffolding, it’s effectively giving them a blank sheet of paper and they’ll struggle. But provide scaffolding and you’re helping them plan and craft their story so they share something that’s on-point, delivers value and meets the goals and objectives that you’ve set out.


Select the right technology

Whilst it’s technically simple to record video as an individual, it can be trickier to find a suitable, secure enterprise solution. Most teams produce video interviews with Internal Comms or using Microsoft Teams. Both approaches offer big savings compared to employing an external video crew, but fail to offer a repeatable, affordable or agile solution.

While Internal Comms teams are often just too busy to support, video conferencing tools like MS Teams interviews take a lot of time and effort, as we’ve already discussed above. Considering tools like StoryTagger will remove many of these technical barriers and make it easy for users to capture, upload and share videos.


Recruit advocates

It always takes a little push to get the ball rolling with UGV at work. Start by targeting a small number of individuals and be specific about how they can add value. For example, plan a ‘Career Stories Campaign’ to inspire people to consider the breadth of ways they can grow their careers. Then, identify a few people who have retrained, swapped functions and overcome specific challenges. Request their involvement and explain why you’ve selected them and how they will inspire others.

Use early advocate stories as ‘seed content’ to share and nudge engagement from your full target audience. These videos will help people identify with them and act as a strong example for people volunteering to share their own.


Celebrate creators

If people have created a video of value that shares knowledge and helps others, they’ve done something great for themselves, you and the organisation. Celebrate them and build engagement by recognising your creators!

A personal thanks can reinforce the value and the impact of them sharing their expertise. Or highlight people’s contribution to their line manager and give public kudos. Let them know they’ve done something worthwhile. This is also a great time to identify future ambassadors and potential repeat creators.

Our guide to transforming experts into inspiring content creators offers more tips on how you can crowdsource user-generated video from your people.

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Transform experts into inspiring content creators

Final thoughts

L&D budgets were expected to rise by as much as 48% in 2023 but the need to support skills and development far surpasses the ability of teams to manage the workload using existing methods. Economic uncertainty also continues to impact many sectors so doing more with less is a high priority.

User-generated video stands at the forefront of learning strategies poised to deliver business impact. From higher engagement and trust to scalability and cost savings, the benefits of user-generated video are undeniable. And, while there are some challenges, the right tools offer a viable and scalable solution to help you overcome them easily.

Is it time you embraced user-generated video in learning?

The best way to find out how user-generated video will transform your HR, learning and comms campaigns is to see StoryTagger in action. Why not book a demo today?

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