By now you may have read or at least heard of CEO Marissa Mayer’s message to the entire Yahoo staff, “No more working from home.” It was a memo delivered to over 14,500 inboxes, and wasn’t greeted with enthusiastic applause, to say the least. Employees complained they were losing one of the greatest perks a company can offer in flexibility. Mayer’s decision was championed and picked apart online. Some argued that when you kill off flexibility policies (or at least severely cut them down) you disrupt the culture. Others agreed that it was a necessary move to at least bring the staff together more, have everyone on the same page and let new ideas and tools be shared faster.
But this message seemed to overshadow - for a bit - all that she had done since taking the helm back in July of 2012. Mayer’s done a commendable job already with changing tactics at Yahoo. She came from Google’s “First 20” and understands how innovation and company culture are sometimes almost tied at the hip. Her memo wasn’t to put a railroad spike down in the middle of Yahoo’s culture. It was to have employees work side-by-side and share their ideas face-to-face instead of over the phone. Mayer knew the company needed a shift. Investors did, too.
Yet that memo was still protested more than it should’ve been.
While it’s easy to say the theme of the message was the main culprit, it’s interesting to see what the effects would have been had Mayer delivered that message in a short video. What would the reactions have been if those 14,500 employees saw the face of the CEO unveiling the new change? For one, the message would become more personal and relatable than a three or four-sentence memo. It sticks more because there’s a voice guiding them along.
That’s where video can throw a lifeline. With just a webcam and her thoughts, Mayer has an easier way to communicate to her team. And besides, how many of you reading this right now have at one time or another read an email’s tone differently from that of a video? People misread the tone of text messages, emails and hard copy letters because there was a period instead of an exclamation point at the end of a sentence. Or an email salutation was warm in the eyes of one employee, but disruptful to another. That's where video can come in and help reduce a message’s misconception.
And yes, there would probably still be Yahoo employees who may not like Mayer’s message regardless of whether it came in a memo, video or fruit basket. They may just be stuck in old ways and aren’t as adaptive to change as everyone else. The process can work with them eventually through focused training, but if not, well then an evaluation may be needed to see how committed they are.
In the end, this is one of many scenarios where video can help elevate a message’s meaning and purpose to your employees. Whether your content is being deployed to 20 employees or 20,000, having a familiar face on the other end tied to video can help focus employee mindsets more than just clicking through a memo.
How would you use video to address your company on an important shift? How would your employees react to the delivery? Find the answers today with a free 15-day trial of our knowledge sharing platform, Thinkzoom, and communicate an important message (or any message for that matter) in a different, more personal light.