Category Archives: Onboarding

Imagine a World Without Your Executive Admin

We recently had the honor of putting four of Silicon Valley’s top executive administrators up on the big screen where they belong at Silicon Valley’s first ever Admin Awards. The event was amazing –– kind of like the Academy Awards for this often unheralded group, so we were very happy to create the videos for it.

I loved interviewing the admins and getting to know them, but I think my favorite part of making the videos was hearing their bosses and colleagues talk about them. These were some of the most powerful leaders in the Valley and included John Chambers, Doug Britt, Jeanette Colandra and Laurent Philonenko. To see the reverence, respect and emotion they showed was so moving. None of them could imagine, or even wanted to imagine, a world without their admin.

I invite you to watch these four short stories on Debbie Gross, CC Wolfolk, Elizabeth Orlin and Suzan Webb, and feel just how inspiring they are. Then, if you have an admin working with you, take a moment to think about how much he or she brings to you and your organization.

At Backstories we love telling stories about heroes. We’ve found time and time again that for even the most complicated initiative or strategy, or even the hairiest mess of data, telling it through a hero makes it easier for stakeholders to understand and become inspired.

To find out more about bringing heroes to your work and presentations, sign up here for my Blog. You’ll also get tips on how to make your presentations more powerful and our Power of Movies series, delivered to your inbox once a month.


5 Ways to Attract Great Candidates

In this economy, more companies are having to court candidates. But instead of billboards or ads on the sides of buses with puny (and rarely funny) headlines, companies can make themselves far more attractive through a well-produced recruitment video. Here’s how:

  1. It’s not just about being hip; it’s about showing prospects their future. They want a company going somewhere, so it feels like there are opportunities to advance. Prospects also want to see stability. So show your company as not only visionary, but also highly competent.
  2. Feature employees that your candidates can relate to. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t show senior management, but young, new employees will carry more weight.
  3. But do keep it hip. Keep the pace going with quick cuts and modern, upbeat music. Use sports promos and music videos as more of a cue than corporate videos.
  4. Tone down the sales pitch. Don’t have employees just shout out quick, rehearsed lines like, “I love ____.” Have your production company interview them to get honest, heartfelt answers. And don’t be afraid to show the surprise that new employees often feel when they find out a company is better than expected.
  5. Keep them short. Under 3 minutes. Candidates want a long video about as much as you want a long meeting.

Below, you’ll see a sample video we put together for an insurance broker (talk about an industry with a challenge attracting millennials). You’ll see all 5 suggestions used.

A Better Way to Onboard and Train New Employees Lickety-Split

All companies want to keep the best new employees. After all, it’s usually their biggest investment. But most large companies don’t expect new employees to contribute much within the first six months while they are getting up to speed.

However, employees want to contribute right away. They want to feel smart at meetings; they want to understand company strategy and its language. So why is this not happening? In a word, decks. Most employees are handed 15 or so decks on various topics when they first arrive. Not decks on the company, the department or the strategy, but mostly current projects and presentations. But they’re not ready yet, which is why so many feel stupid at their first meetings.

We know a better way: a short video which shows the positioning space the company takes in the market, its core customers, and its main strategy for building loyalty. It’s the perfect vehicle for understanding, and also, a powerful way to build employee loyalty right away. New hires see your company as sophisticated and with a sense of purpose. Everyone will get behind that.

They’ll not only get your company, they’ll get behind it. What’s more, you can cement that knowledge and loyalty in a fraction of the time it takes for them to read any deck. They’ll hit the ground running, and the ROI will start right away.

Below, you’ll see a sample video we put together for a fictional cleaning product (to protect confidentiality, we cannot show any we create for clients).