From Emails to Short Videos: How a Coffee Factory Brewed Better Connections

Employee Engagement For Factory Workers

From Emails to Short Videos: How a Coffee Factory Brewed Better Connections

Once, I visited an instant coffee manufacturing unit of a renowned global FMCG company located in a small, remote town. My objective was to meet the employees and gain an in-depth understanding of their connection with the organization, its policies, changes, communications, and training processes.

Upon engaging with the employees, I discovered that while they felt a sense of pride in being associated with such a prestigious and globally recognized brand, their understanding of what the brand truly represented in their daily lives at work was quite superficial. To many, the brand’s significance extended only as far as getting a paycheck on time and providing bragging rights at social gatherings—“I work at so and so factory.”

However, they harbored numerous questions:

  • Does the management truly understand the employees’ needs and concerns?
  • What are the latest policy updates?
  • Why do they learn about policy changes only when “shit hits the fan”.
  • Who does the management consult before rolling out new policies?
  • What are the brand’s core values?
  • How do employees embody these values in their work and behavior

When it came to corporate communications, the response was disheartening. The employees felt detached and uninterested. One employee expressed this sentiment poignantly, “Sir, they sent an email. Now, who checks emails, you tell me?” Another added, “Sir, these posters stuck on walls are in English, and we can’t understand English. There’s no one to interpret or train us in the new Standard Operating Procedures.”

Employee Engagement For Factory Workers - Disconnected Messaging

This disconnect between the corporate HR team and the factory employees was a significant issue. The HR team was equally frustrated. They lamented that less than 10% of the employees opened their emails. The workers were not following the new policy changes or SOPs, leaving the corporate team exasperated, trying to find ways to effectively engage, train, and educate the workforce.

During these discussions, a simple yet insightful solution emerged from one of the employees. “Why don’t they send a video with translation or dubbing, or subtitles? Why can’t they share these on a WhatsApp group or through another company-specific app? Nowadays, everyone watches videos, likes, shares, comments… in the local language, can’t we do that?”

This suggestion illuminated a potential path forward: leveraging modern communication methods that resonate more with the employees’ daily habits and language preferences. By creating engaging video content in local languages and distributing it via familiar platforms, the company could significantly improve comprehension and engagement with its policies and training programs.

Employee Engagement For Factory Workers - Connecting through videos

We collaborated closely with the corporate communications team, who eagerly embraced the innovative suggestion from the factory floor. They began producing short video clips, each under a minute, designed to deliver key messages to employees effectively. Recognizing the importance of language and accessibility, the team invested in AI tools for localization, translation, and captioning to ensure the content was comprehensible to all employees.

Rather than opting for costly studio shoots, the team took a more practical approach. They converted existing documents, blogs, SOPs, and other lengthy materials into concise, topical video clips. This strategy enabled them to maintain a consistent stream of content, ensuring that at least one new video was shared each week via their internal app.

The impact was remarkable. Over the next three months, the company observed a significant increase in engagement. The open rates for these videos soared to as high as 80%, a dramatic improvement from the previous 10% for email communications. This shift in strategy not only made the content more accessible but also more engaging and easier for employees to digest.

Looking ahead, the corporate communications team plans to further enhance these efforts by incorporating feedback mechanisms within the videos, allowing employees to interact, ask questions, and provide feedback directly through the app. This two-way communication channel will not only keep the employees informed but also ensure their voices are heard, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.

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