A couple of weeks ago I got a new mandate from an old client. I've been tapped as the internal communciations specialist on a project with a very simple and meaningful goal: reduce injuries due to slips, trips and falls in a busy industrial workplace by 50% this winter.
There are a bunch of actions the company is taking to improve safety conditions, like doing more to make sure walkways aren't slippery and ladders and ramps are properly maintained. Those things will surely help reduce the risk of incidents, but the biggest single cause of injuries has nothing to do with the physical plant - people put themselves at risk by not paying full attention to what they're doing.
That's where communication comes in. If we can raise awareness of safety risks and give clear advice on what to do to avoid them, people will change their habits, safety will improve and we will meet our goal.
Of course it's not that simple. Workers and their managers are inundated with messages from management asking them to do things every day. After awhile, one bulletin blends into the next, the latest PowerPoint presentation looks a lot like the last one, and it all starts to taste the same.
One of the most powerful ways to cut through the clutter and reach people in a way that moves them is video. Particularly video that features real people telling meaningful stories about change. So we're going to interview employees who have experienced injuries and ask them how it affected them, what could have prevented their incidents, and what they would say to their co-workers about why it's important to pay more attention to safety on the job and at home.
The video interviews won't be the only thing we do, but they will be an important component of our communications, which will include print and other channels.
I've written and spoken often about how online video, audio and other Web 2.0 applications have the potential to renew the sense of shared experience and community that have been missing in the corporate world for an entire generation. The tools are there, and they're finally so affordable and easy to use that they can't be ignored. One of the leaders in our field, Shel Holtz, says video is one of the hottest corporate communication media, and communicators need to prove they can handle it.
My old friend David Murray of McMurry, a company that produces trade publications and award programs for communicators, saw the LCD screen on the wall and has put together the first Strategic Video Awards, which he is billing as "a different kind of awards program, one that rewards not the style of your videos, but the substance of your video communication."
I have the privilege of being on the judging panel for the awards. It's easy to enter, and not too expensive. The deadline for entry is this Friday, Oct. 15.
Enter now, and get recognized for being a leader of the communication revolution.