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How this company used an unorthodox method to strengthen its remote hiring

“Like most off-the-wall thought processes, the idea came to me late at night.”

Frances Lill

Creative Click Media, a New Jersey-based digital marketing firm, encountered similar issues that most companies have faced since shifting to remote work: how to onboard and train new team members. It relied on its expertise in animated videos for the solution.

“Hands-on training has always been key to our onboarding process, and I struggled to come up with a solution that would ensure each new hire received the same caliber of training as they would have received had we been in our office,” said Adam Binder, the firm’s founder. “Like most off-the-wall thought processes, the idea to onboard through animation came to me late at night. I had already planned to begin working on an internal learning management system before, and the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect than when we needed to hire our first employee virtually.”

Creative Click Media has now permanently shifted to working remotely and is also helping its clients make a digital transformation. Read on for insights from Binder on its new training process.

The change

“Our learning management system consists of a series of custom animated videos created in-house that serve as our virtual training program,” Binder said. “Each employee is tasked with watching procedural videos and role-specific videos pertaining to their position within the company. From there, they must take and pass courses related to the topics presented in each of the videos they watched. Unorthodox? Absolutely, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions, and I knew this was our best chance at the smoothest transition possible.”

It's all about striking a balance between form and function.

Animation videos by Francis Lill.

The challenges

“We’ve made plenty of animated videos for clients in the past, but creating a grander series of animated videos for training purposes was uncharted territory for our team,” Binder said. “For this reason, the biggest challenge we faced throughout this process was learning how to balance several tones and themes harmoniously and effectively. First and foremost, we needed to strike a balance between form and function. The marketing animations we typically produce need to be fast-paced and entertaining, but too much action on screen could distract from the training process. It was also important that we found the right balance between fun and formal. We wanted our animations to showcase our company culture in an exciting and positive light for new hires, but making it too playful could cause our employees to not take the training seriously.”

He added, “Finding the right balance between engaging and educating took quite a bit of time — about three weeks, to be exact. Much of this was due to troubleshooting strategies to get the language just right. Some videos in the series needed to be completely reworked when we realized our original copy could potentially be misinterpreted by new hires. Rewriting a script meant having to re-record the audio and reanimate sections of the video, so you can see how the process might be prolonged.”

How it has benefited the company

“I wasn’t certain how effective an animated video would be at replacing human-to-human training,” Binder said. “I was pleasantly surprised by our results when we utilized our virtual training program with our first remote hire. Since implementing our animated training series, our team’s overall productivity has skyrocketed. In addition to this, having a uniform program in place has reduced the number of employee mistakes caused by inconsistent training. Now, all of the steps are in a logical order, nothing is missed, and their understanding is confirmed using a standard assessment that uses real-world tasks. Having access to these videos even after their assessment has been completed allows our team to refer back to each lesson should any confusion or questions arise. All of these factors have helped improve our overall employee satisfaction, which was a huge feat to overcome while still adjusting to our new normal.”

Adam Binder is the founder of Creative Click Media.

Creative Click Media

4 tips from Binder to implement this change

4. “Involve your current employees in the process. No one understands the inner workings, strengths, and weaknesses of your business more than your senior staff, so their input is extremely valuable to create the most well-rounded training program possible. Because our team chose what to contribute, it resulted in their absolute best work.”

3. “Ask for feedback. Newer employees can provide great insight into how the onboarding process can be improved by sharing their personal experiences, having recently gone through the process themselves.”

2. “Capture your company culture. Design your animated characters in a way that reflects the personality of your office. If your work environment is more casual, for example, putting your animated characters in suits probably isn’t the best representation of your company culture. Seek out an animation program with a large array of personalization options in order to let your company culture shine through as accurately as possible.”

1. “Consider a professional voice actor. Great voice acting is key to any successful animated video. However, sometimes the personality of your video editors might not match that of a voice artist, and it’s not great optics to have a voiceover that sounds unenthusiastic, awkward, or robotic. Fortunately, there are a number of services and websites available that allow you to hire impressive professional voice actors on a reasonable budget.”

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