3 things HR pros can learn from airline safety videos

October 7, 2015

 

Just a decade ago, pretty much every airline safety video used the same bland formula. Plain but attractive flight attendants pointed at things while a forgettable voice talked about emergency exits, floatation devices and federal laws prohibiting smoking in the lavatories. They became such standard fare that travelers learned to simply ignore the messages. With almost no one paying attention, these videos no longer served the purposes of airlines, passengers or the FAA.

 

 Still from EI-AI safety video

 

Luckily, the stakes for all types of video content were raised when Youtube exploded in 2006. With access to so much compelling video, audiences suddenly stopped tolerating the bland content they had been force-fed in the past. Perhaps more importantly, Youtube showed companies and video creators that even the most mundane subject matter could become compelling with the right tone and style.

Airlines like Star Flyer, Virgin and Air New Zealand saw the opportunities in video almost right away. Through cool animation, humor and elaborate productions, they found a way to surprise travelers with safety videos that were actually worth watching. As a result, amusing safety videos have become the status quo.

 

 Still from Virgin America safety video

 

While Marketing and Communications departments have largely caught on to the value of compelling video, we’ve noticed that HR has often lagged behind.

Here are three major areas where HR pros can learn from airline safety videos:

 

1. Compliance can be compelling.

Airlines have always been obligated to provide safety information to passengers in the same way that organizations are required to inform employees about benefits and other policies. What airlines have recently learned is that if you must do something, make it memorable and try to exceed audience expectations. Through fun and surprising HR videos, any organization can energize onboarding, increase open-enrollment registration, and make important policy messages truly memorable.

 

 “We need more S.O.B.s” – HR video by Splainers for Enerplus

 

2. Don’t undervalue the importance of a good 1st Impression.

When travelers first board a plane, they are in their most impressionable state. By starting out the flight with a fun and inclusive video, airlines project a fun and customer-focused image that will likely last the entire flight. Of course, ‘boarding’ a plane is much like ‘onboarding’ a new employee – you only have one chance to make a great first impression. So why not treat new recruits with some awesome tailored video content instead of a pile of paperwork and boring orientation?

 

 CDHP-HSA benefits video by Splainers for Capital Group

 

3. Everything is a branding opportunity.

In the same way that the best recruits have multiple career options, Airlines know that travelers have a choice in carriers. That’s why they use the safety video as a way to demonstrate how much more fun and exciting they are than their competitors. In this day and age, they would never show customers content that does not create brand affinity. Yet, many HR departments still license bland content to share with employees. Why not follow in the footsteps of airlines and create training content that is custom made for your unique employees – in your unique voice?

 

 “Cutting through the red tape.” Employee-focused video by Splainers for Stanford University Global Business Services

 

Learn more about how video is revolutionizing HR. Call 425.890.4081 for a free consultation.

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