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How to drive a video-first culture: A guide

Jennifer Bui

Senior Product Marketing Manager: Video Meetings

How to drive a video first culture Header

Workplace culture has been evolving for years, but the way we communicate has undergone a particularly drastic change. In the past, people would communicate primarily through face-to-face interactions, phone calls, or emails.

The internet has made it possible for people to work from anywhere in the world. This has led to the rise of the remote worker, who is not tied to a specific location and can talk with people from completely different time zones. And video conferencing is one of the most effective communication tools available to the remote worker.

Why? Well, video offers many benefits over other forms of communication like phone calls, such as the ability to see body language and facial expressions, which can help build better relationships with co-workers. Additionally, video conferencing is a great way to promote collaboration in the workplace.

We know a thing or two about driving a video-first culture here at Dialpad (having built a pretty cool solution ourselves). So below we’ve included some effective tips and real-life examples on how to make video your company’s primary means of communication.

The impact of “video-first” on company culture

There’s been a big shift to remote work since the pandemic began. And as companies get used to this new normal, they’re starting to realize that interacting with employees via video is going to be much more common. In fact, according to Dialpad’s report The State of Video Conferencing 2022, 83.13% of office workers now spend up to 12 hours a week in video meetings.

But how, specifically, does prioritizing video calls impact company culture?

1. Communication becomes more informal

One of the reasons business emails are written so formally is because words can be a very limiting conversation medium. Tone is difficult to convey, and crafting a clear and understandable message involves thought and attention. Plus, the more you have to say, the longer it will take to write the email (and the more opportunities for miscommunication).

All this formality falls away when you switch to video conferencing. You can now use body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to communicate your message. You can adjust your presentation on the fly to match the immediate reaction of the person you’re talking to. And can you say in one minute what would have probably taken you three times as long to write out.

2. Relationships become stronger

As effective as emails and text messages can be, they can still come off as rather impersonal. It’s difficult to bond with an email address, even if there is a real person at the other end.

With video conferencing, you can now actually see and hear the person you’re talking to. Conversations can flow more freely, and there’s room for lighthearted moments that help warm you to the person on the other side of the screen. You can identify more with one another and build bonds that will help you work well together.

3. Work progresses faster

Email’s biggest benefit—asynchronous communication—is also its biggest weakness. Email conversations take forever, even if both parties are paying close attention to their inboxes (which they’re usually not). Sometimes it can take days or even weeks to get a response. It is not the ideal medium for back and forth discussions that are meant to get things done.

Remote teams can hop onto a video meeting and (if it’s properly managed) emerge with all relevant issues cleared up and next steps properly defined.

But what about documentation, you say? With email, you have a paper trail of what’s been discussed. Today, video conferencing can have that too. UCaaS providers like Dialpad can record meetings and even transcribe them in real time, so everyone has accurate records of what was covered:

Video meeting w transcript

Screen sharing capability is important for your online workspace, so you and your co-workers can have an easier time discussing important topics in an online conference room. Dialpad’s Miro integration can also help you when whiteboarding and visualizing a process.

4. Collaboration across locations is easier

If you have to meet with a co-worker from a different office, then your day is pretty much spoken for. There’s preparation, travel time to and from, and all the incidental stuff in between (gas, lunch, and arguing with the guy who blocked your parking spot). If the other person is in another country, then you lose an entire week. This makes it a pain to work with any other team except your own.

Video conferencing systems completely eliminate all of these problems. Instead of schlepping your way to a different location, you can just log onto the meeting room at the appropriate time. And instead of sitting in traffic for hours, you can focus on getting what you need from the other party and what they need from you. Cross-team collaboration is simpler, faster, and more productive.

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Why is a video-first culture a good thing?

There are many reasons why businesses should push for a video-first culture.

The first and perhaps the most obvious benefits of video is that it can save money on travel expenses. With video conferencing, there is no need to pay for airfare, hotel rooms, or rental cars.

A closely related advantage to travel is that video communications can save time. Businesses will be able to hold meetings that would otherwise require employees to take time out of their busy schedules to travel.

Now that companies are no longer limited by the size of their travel budget, companies will be better able to expand their reach. With video conferencing, companies can connect with clients from all over the world—without the need to establish local offices. This can help to grow the business and increase sales.

A video-first culture can also help to improve internal collaboration. As mentioned before, team members can work more efficiently as a unit when they communicate well, and video is a major component of that interaction.

Finally, a video-based culture can help to create a more positive work-life balance for employees. With video communications, remote employees can attend meetings and conduct work-related one-on-one discussions from the comfort of their own homes. This can give them more time to spend with their families and friends and can help to reduce stress levels.

What are real-life examples of a video-first culture?

Want to know whether or not a video-centric culture can actually work in real life? Here are some examples from companies in two very different industries:

C.R. England

C.R. England is a family-owned transportation solutions company with over 100 fleets, and each fleet consisting of 40 to 60 drivers. Keeping drivers engaged and motivated in such an environment is a daunting task, which is why they used Dialpad to run weekly “Driver Huddles.” These meetings allow fleet managers to review goals and acknowledge good performance.

These online meetings have been a smash hit, with an average participation rate of around 80%. The meetings are full of banter and drivers are quick to build camaraderie with each other.

“It just really builds an engagement with that fleet,” says Erik Ekberg, Talent Acquisition and Organizational Development Manager. “They all become this big group of great friends. Then the call ends and they’re looking forward to it again next week.”

Classpass

Healthclub membership aggregator ClassPass is a demonstration of how important it is to find the right technology when building a video-first culture.

Their previous video conferencing solution was finicky, and wouldn’t work on certain browsers or operating systems. This led to widespread resistance from team members as it was just too much trouble.

IT Manager Randy Tanenhaus tells the story: “When our sales teams were trying to reach out to studios, maybe they’d have a Mac and only used Safari, or had a PC with only Internet Explorer on it. We couldn't show the pitch deck to them or do a Google Meet. Google didn’t support it.”

After exploring options, they finally found a video conference solution that worked. “Dialpad Meetings was the solution for that, so it was definitely great to have browser-agnostic, platform-agnostic video. They could just hop on a browser and do their pitches.”

Dialpad video call

How to drive a video-first culture

A video-first culture is one where video is the primary mode of communication both internally and externally. In order to drive a video-first culture, businesses need to invest in the right technology and provide the necessary training to their employees.

The following are a few tips on how to accomplish that:

1. Give your team a video conferencing tool that fits their needs

Just because you buy your team a video conferencing tool, doesn’t mean that the team is going to actually use it. It might be cheap (or free), but the user experience might be a pain. Or it might be full of bells and whistles, but unreliable and drops calls often.

Identify your team’s critical needs before shopping for a new video meeting solution and test it out with a small group of users before committing to a purchase. Ensure that the tool is user-friendly, easy to learn, and widely accessible to your entire workforce. For example, Dialpad’s video conferencing app can be installed on any device, and can even run on an internet browser (no installation required).

2. Provide training on how to use video conferencing

This might not happen often, but some employees may not be familiar or comfortable with how video conferencing works. You can help address that by providing training on how to set it up and use it, how to best leverage video technology in a sales or customer support context, what types of meetings it’s good for, and how to troubleshoot common problems.

3. Create policies that encourage the use of video

Employees are of course allowed to use whatever means they want to communicate with others as long as it gets the job done. But they should also be aware of how using video can help them do their jobs better and faster, and that it’s very easy to pick up and use.

In certain cases, it may be a good idea to create hybrid work policies that encourage the use of video—such as using video for all meetings with external clients. There are a number of reasons to do this (and not just to encourage video).

Talking to customers on video can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by making the experience more personal. It can simplify communication (as referenced above) and help customer service agents deliver their message more authentically.

It also makes a difference for employees to see leadership set the proper example and use video for internal communications (like when conducting all-hands or one-on-one meetings).

Just don’t go overboard and penalize people for not using video. We’re not trying to establish a police state—just encourage the use of an effective tool.

4. Use video conferencing for training and development

One effective way to influence the way company culture develops is to get people thinking video-first right when they join the company. By introducing it early in their stay through virtual training and orientation webinars, and by introducing them to their new peers through video, you’re getting them comfortable with video meetings from the get-go and establishing that it’s an important part of your company culture.

Video-first culture: Not just a fad

Remote work isn’t just a passing trend—it’s a massive shift in the way modern businesses operate. And the use of video conferencing is a crucial component of making remote work… well… work.

A video-first culture can help keep your employees engaged with each other and productive, overcoming barriers of time and distance in order to still deliver results. If you aren’t already pushing video to keep your remote workers engaged, then now is the perfect time to start.

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