10 Tips To Produce A Successful Corporate Safety Video
Safety - it should be on every employee, manager and business owners mind. Send people home in the same condition they arrived in.
You may already know that there’s no better way to inform and teach than through video production. Video production “speaks” to both visual and aural learners.
Safety videos give you the ability to better inform, save instructor time, and train in a repeatable manner. A common frustration we hear is, “We’d like to use video to train, but how do we begin to produce safety videos?”
It can get complicated, but relax. This guide breaks it down into simple to implement steps. By following the steps, you will be well on your way to producing a safety training video.
Here are the steps we recommend to ensure success!
1. Promote safety effectively.
Simply stated, what is the purpose of your safety video? Quite often when we meet with a new client there is no clear objective to the video.
Why are you producing a safety video?
Corporate mandate, recent injury, or to free up your HSE staff for other tasks. Think of this as the video’s goal.
This is the point where you brainstorm the answer to the question, "What exactly are we trying to achieve by producing this video?" Be specific.
Example: We want to produce a safety video that educates our constantly changing staff about proper lifting techniques.
2. How can your viewer help you achieve a “safer” company?
Your audience is really important. You audience needs to be communicated with in a way that resonates with the viewers you're trying to train.
Who is the audience for your safety video production?
We often create employee personas – fictional, generalized representations of your audience. Think of this as your employee avitar. This allows you to ask critical questions such as:
What is it we’re trying to train the viewer on?
Is this person an advanced user or representative of our entire workforce?
What’s my persona’s motivation for watching this video?
Is English the native language of our viewer?
What is the goal of our safety video production? [I know you ask this in an earlier step, but ask again. Keep on focus!]
These types of questions will help you better understand what type of video to create and how to craft your message in a way that resonates with your target audience.
3. How can you get more “buy in” for your messaging?
It's essential to start with research and an understanding of what you’re trying to communicate. Many companies try to say everything in one video and end up failing to say anything valuable.
You need to determine what it is you’re really trying to teach.
Then figure out the most important aspects of the message. What must be communicated to pass on your information to your viewers?
This may sound simple, but so often people get lost in the “form” and then forget the real purpose of the safety video. The easiest way to avoid information overload is to come up with three (or less) key messages that you want to communicate. If you have a long list of other goals, perhaps they should be adressed in your next safety video production.
Write these three messages down and refer back to these points. This should guide you through the rest of the process.
4. What’s a reasonable timeline?
This question seems obvious. It’s really two questions in one.
How fast does this need to be done AND what does the video production schedule look like?
Many people forget to put this into their plan when planning their safety video production schedule.
Is there an all-employee meeting this is to be shown at? Or, is it for new hires that are added during the year? Establish a due date, THEN WORK BACKWARDS.
For instance, it’s late May and you’d like to show the safety video at your 3rd Quarter kickoff meeting in the beginning of July.
Did you forget one of the Principal players in this project will be out on two weeks paternity leave? With this information the five weeks you thought you had, really turns into only three. You’d better get started today, or delay the “reveal” until the 4th Quarter kickoff meeting.
The other thing people often forget is the amount of time it can take to shoot a safety video.
We had a client who assumed we could shoot 40 interviews in a day. The goal was to obtain simple thoughts on what safety means to front line employees.
Simple math should be used to figure out what a video shoot day may look like. 40 people divided by a ten hour work day means a new interview every 15 minutes….assuming no lunch break, everyone will be perfectly on time and we can get from one building on campus to another in less than 1 minute. See the flaw in logic?
Perhaps it would be better to schedule the shoot over 2-3 days to account for flexibility in the video shoot schedule.
5. What’s your presentation style?
What will the video look like? Is it a simple on-camera interview with your HSE lead? Is it recording a HSE seminar then editing in graphic slides? Or is it more “theatrical” demonstration dramatizing an accident and what to do?
It can be these or a variety of other styles.
Brainstorm what you want your safety video production to look like.
Check the usual sources for examples of style. YouTube is a great resource, but sometimes companies don’t post this training online since it’s so specialized.
Have you been to a plant where they’ve made you watch a video before you entered the premises? What did you think of that safety video you watched?
Lastly, talk to your associates. If you belong to a group of HSE professionals, ask them, they might be proud to show you their companies videos. A great deal of "sharing" of ideas takes place in online professional forums, ask your contemporaries.
If you do choose a “theatrical” safety video- for that scene on forklift safety- who’s going to drive the forklift? Is this “Murray” from the loading dock’s opportunity to shine? Or will you need to hire a professional actor? The actor will need to be trained on the forklift, but you’ll need to clear Murray’s schedule with his supervisor. Is this allowed in your Union contract?
Make sure you put the answer to this question into your projects timeline as mentioned in step four.
6. How you can keep your audience focused?
This is often the biggest discussion we have with our clients.
How long do you want your safety video production to be?
There is no right answer, but video duration does directly affect viewer retention. The short answer is KEEP THE VIDEO SHORT. There, I said it.
I realize it’s the opposite advice you’d expect from a company that sells video production services. But the facts don’t lie, and our job is to provide our clients with safety videos that work.
This is true for all the videos we produce, but especially important when you consider people’s safety is a direct result. Take a look at this chart by Wistia and draw your own conclusions.
“But we wanted our safety video training to be an hour, are you saying this won’t work?” I’ll give you a firm “maybe.” It might work if the safety video is designed right and visually interesting.
Maybe a better logic is to produce six 10-minute videos that can be viewed separately. This will keep your audience more engaged and gives you an opportunity to highlight training in the previous module, reinforcing the training.
Look at the goals of your video from Step 1. Are there just too many items on your list? Is this one video too encompassing? Would it be better to cover only fire safety in this video and emergency evacuations/rally points in the next?
Conversely, is this to say every video you produce should be shorter than 5 minutes? Maybe. How do you plan on using it? Does your company train through “lunch and learns”, team meetings at the beginning of shifts, or quarterly employee meetings? How does the answer to that question now affect your plans for your safety video production?
We’ll get into this a bit later in Step 9. One thing for sure is, be considerate of your viewing audience and your viewership and retention will benefit.
7. How are you going to get management’s endorsement?
Who are the key stakeholders in your organization? Whether you work in a small family run manufacturing facility or a Fortune 500 company, management surely will have their say.
Involve management early in the process so they can feel they “own” this project.
If you don’t, my experience shows the revisions will be more extensive, as you may not have all been on the same page.
Before you get started with a safety video production, it is important to know who will be involved in reviews and revisions. If your company has layers of approval, it’s helpful to add a few extra days to your project timeline to account for this.
Try to elect a primary point person who will be responsible for all the edits. One person to send all the revision notes, not revision notes from 5 people for example. Streamlining this process can help minimize confusion about which revisions are most important.
8. How do you know if your safety training video is working?
This is always difficult to manage. However, if you plan for this in pre-production you can identify a metric that can work.
Identifying how you measure the effectiveness of your video can help better shape the the video to match your goals.
Most companies keep and report incidents of injury. You can look at monthly comparisons, but this logic can be flawed. Maybe this June you have 10% less employees than last June. If the same or less incidents are reported you could deduce your training is working. Maybe your business has shifted that dangerous manufacturing to December, or maybe you just got lucky.
For those who use the “management by walking around” style I think the results will become more obvious. You’ll see safer practices being displayed. Instead of one person trying to lift a heavy box, you might see two people lifting it instead.
Match your list of goals with what you see in your business after the training. Host a “refresher” viewing session after 3 months.
Don’t forget the nature of video training is repeatable consistent messaging. The message will be valid today and in three months when you hire four new employees.
9. How should I share my message?
Step 5 will help to determine this, or at least guide you. But the goal is to make the information as easy to consume as possible.
Communicate in the language of the viewer.
Is English the only language spoken in your facility? For many companies the answer is yes, for others- not so much. Do you need to translate the presentation to Spanish or French? Voice and/or graphics? Both?
We produced safety video content for one Fortune 300 company that gets translated into seventeen different languages. We work with a company that specializes in foreign languages. One thing to remember is often different languages don’t time up the same as in English. What could be said in English in five seconds may take seven seconds to say in another language. This offers a challenge during the over-dubbing edit as now we need 2 more seconds of footage to cover the language dub. Your company may not have such a requirement, but plan accordingly.
10. How to get more “views” for your safety video
How your safety video will be used should be thought of during the planning process.
How are people going to play your video?
There are two thoughts to consider:
Mechanically, how are you going to distribute this? On a memory stick in a smart tv, on your company server, through your learning portal, etc? How can employees physically watch your safety video?
What are the uses for the safety video, or at least a re-edit of it.
You plan on producing your safety video, now how do you show it to people who need the information? Obviously at company safety meetings, but many people stop at this point.
Here are some additional suggestions based on experience with our customers that I would offer to get the video seen.
At the entrance to your facility if visitors need to check-in with a security guard. Don’t forget your visitors need to know what to do in case of building evacuation also.
At the entrance to your building as visitors sign-in. We have several clients who play our “building safety” videos on a loop. Visitors are captive in your lobby until you escort them in, use this time to inform them of policies. It’s impressive to visitors that you care about their safety too.
Do you have more than one facility? Shoot the video at one, share best practices amongst all your plants. (Even better, shoot elements of the video at several plants. Identifiable scenes in each facility will make employees feel included).
Wistia, YouTube or Vimeo? This subject can be tricky based on corporate culture. If there is nothing proprietary being shown, then this is an easier decision. HR can send it to new candidates, which will make an impression, it shows you are a forward-thinking safety-oriented company.
I think the real takeaway from this post is, as with anything, you get what you pay for.
We work with a lot of companies who have a wide range of budgets for safety training. Something can be done for every company and budget. Safety training videos can be simple or complex, however they have to be done right or the message won’t resonate with the people you are trying to train.
(For a case study of what not to do read: When Budget Converges With Safety Training Video).
Every video project is different. These universal video production tips should give you a framework for budget, what you want your video to look like and what you want it to achieve.
Now I want to turn it over to you: What did you think about this guide? Let me know your thoughts in the comment area below. Or if you found it helpful forward it to an associate who could use this information.
And if your company needs a safety video production or any other corporate video and you want to put it in the hands of professionals, contact us today!
Acclaim Media Productions is a video production, corporate video, marketing communication & web video company based in the Chicago area but providing services internationally. We help large corporations, successful small businesses & forward-thinking non-profits build stronger organizations through video production.