If you think back to your school days and the composition and writing courses you took, you likely remember your teachers exhorting you to “show, not tell.” It’s a sentiment that professional writers use in their daily work as they attempt to make the words on the page—or screen—create vivid images in the minds of their readers.

Today, though, we don’t have to try to show through our words. We can actually show our audiences whatever it is we want to convey through images and, in the case of video, moving images. Video can be a powerful way to engage with employee audiences at any stage of the employee life cycle. Video can be particularly effective in those early days when employees are just getting to know the company and the people they’ll be working with. 

Various Uses for Onboarding Videos


Onboarding video is widely used by recruiters, HR professionals and others to capture and share important happenings, images and information with employees. Importantly, one critical goal for onboarding videos is to convey a strong sense of the company culture and brand. This Dunkin’ Donuts video does a good job of that.

Learn more about onboarding here.

The CEO of Dunkin Donuts makes sure that all new employees knows who he is, but more importantly, that they understand the goals that define who they are as a company, who they are as people and who they are as a brand.

Even companies in industries that might not be as appealing as food services or retail can use onboarding video to great advantage as this Waste Management Services video illustrates.

Onboarding videos run the scale from quick shots captured via smartphones to professionally created video content with very high-end production values to the more recent introduction of technology that can provide both augmented and virtual reality experiences. 

There are a myriad of different ways that you might use video in onboarding, and a myriad of different types of messages you might want to convey. Onboarding can be enhanced through video at multiple touchpoints along the continuum from application to welcome on board.

Following are some examples of how video can be used across multiple touchpoints.

During the Application and Interview Process

  • “Here’s an insider’s look at our company and where you’ll be working.”
  • “Meet some of the other members of your team.”
  • “What you can expect when you interview with us.”
  • “A look at what this job is really like.”
  • “Thanks for interviewing with us; a few points we’d really like to emphasize.”

This video from Intuit, for example, is designed for use during the application and interview process, but could also be used to provide a sense of what new hires will experience during their early days on the job.


Once the Offer Has Been Accepted

  • “Welcome to the team.”
  • “Let’s talk about benefits and important policies.”
  • “Some conversations with our leaders.”
  • “Your team wants to welcome you on board!”

In all cases, organizations now have the opportunity to make their videos “come alive” through the use of augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR), two similar, yet disparate formats. AR “augments” a live video view with added elements—think Pokémon. VR immerses the viewer in the scene—a format that can be particularly useful for helping candidates, or new hires, “tour” their new surroundings, “meet” colleagues, or learn about important policies or tasks.

General Mills is using VR to recruit on college campuses, outfitting students with Oculus Rift headsets to give them an immersive experience.  BEAM Interactive demonstrates how AR can be used in the onboarding experience in this video.

One interesting use case for onboarding videos is related to knowledge transfer, or what this department Panopto employee refers to as “brain transfer,” explained in the “Welcome to the Team” onboarding video.

Onboarding videos can also be enhanced with various interactive elements. Branching, for example, where viewers would choose among various options that would take them to different vignettes. Polls and quizzes allowing users to select an answer and immediately see whether their answer was “right” or “wrong” and why.

Getting Creative


Onboarding videos can increase the level of engagement in the onboarding program. However, organizations that recognize the value of conducting onboarding programs often find it hard to come up with creative and engaging ideas to support their onboarding vision, which is crucial to the success of onboarding programs.

To be effective, onboarding videos must engage the viewers and keep their interest. Companies should take full advantage of the video format as an opportunity to not only show, but to show action and activity. While it’s certainly not necessary to create videos with the production value of award-winning films, it is necessary to go beyond the “talking head” format to engage viewers through action and aesthetics.

Here are a few examples:

  • Canva uses music, movement, and engaging aesthetics to engage with the new hire audience.
  • This “day in the life” onboarding video from Drift, a marketing firm, conveys a strong sense of what the company vibe is.

The use of video in employee onboarding offers a wide range of options for companies hoping to engage and educate employees in a highly effective way. Whether your video vibe is high-end or more selfie-shot focused, if it fits your culture and aligns with your brand, go for it!

Ready to learn more about how to make your onboarding process as effective as possible?