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May 16, 2014

Video Conferencing: The New email

By Daniel Brecht
Contributing Writer

Teleconferencing has become a growing trend, especially in human resources (HR). This means communication, which uses an audio/video link for two-way communication, is becoming the preferred way for HR professionals to operate.

According to a Human Capital (HC) magazine post this week, “HR executives will shun email in coming years.” These were the findings of a recent global survey by Redshift Research on behalf of Polycom (News - Alert), Inc. The survey, Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends, found that HR executives prefer to use video collaboration to e-mail as their top method of business communication. The post tells that the majority of respondents (56 percent) acknowledged video would be their most preferred method of communicating, surpassing e-mail (49 percent) and voice conference calls (32 percent). Results of the survey clearly point out that video is becoming more pervasive for HR teams. However, although HR respondents ranked video conferencing as a top-three tool for communications, they did place it third (46 percent) after voice/conference calls (62 percent) and email (88 percent) for current use.

So why is HR opting to video conferencing? According to the results, the majority believe it is more appropriate as it allows users to associate a face and a personality to the voice that they are hearing. HR execs believe it would be utilized more frequently, even over other methods of business communications, including Web conferencing, instant messaging and social media, which have been a new trend in the field. 

The trend of HR executives leveraging more and more video conferencing is confirmed by Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group’s 2013 report on video talent acquisition that found 32 percent of organizations were investing in video job interviewing, as the HC Mag post noted. It tells of the following three reasons:

  • To reduce travel costs
  • To shorten the time to hire
  • To reach geographically dispersed candidates

Apart from recruitment, to carry out remote video-based job interviews, “it also enables organizations to implement flexible work environments and impacts on retention, engagement and training,” the post explains; it can be used in a host of different environments. Polycom, Inc. adds that video conferencing, as well as recording and video asset management, will increase in the near future, within three years, as it helps organizations overcome travel expenditures and time constraints; it also helps conduct business when it would be awkward or comfortable doing it over the phone or through email.

HR Manager for Marsh Ltd, Hayley Sullivan, one HR exec who has embraced video conferencing, believes that using video conferencing can also help build relationships. He adds that there are, however, a few downsides, such as a delay in the video feed, which could be a problem for those that do have a slow Internet connection. According to the post “she recommends those HR professionals considering utilizing video conferencing to ensure the technology is running smoothly in advance.” This is to ensure that the conferencing systems, at both ends, deliver excellent, reliable audio and video quality for the duration of the session.

Videoconferencing, as Sullivan mentions, is great when it comes “impractical for you to meet on a face to face basis [and] it’s great when you get used to it.” Because video conferencing connects individuals in real time through audio and video communication, HR execs, amongst all users, are beginning to depend on it for day-to-day activities, including visual meetings and collaboration on digital documents and shared presentations. The solution is used because it restores many visual cues necessary in long distance communication.

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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