The Case for Effective Life Science Onboarding Videos

By David Chapin

onboarding videos

Onboarding a new team member is an exciting moment for every life science organization, but it is also a milestone that requires the careful transfer of lots of information.

Doing this correctly will kick-off a terrific relationship with your newest team member, but doing this incorrectly will inevitably lead to unnecessary confusion, misaligned priorities, and eventually, costly high employee turnover.

So Why Video?

Effective life science onboarding videos do much more than simply replace lengthy lectures and floods of printed documentation. By being memorable, these videos communicate policies and goals more consistently and creatively. (And think of all the trees you’ll save.)

Don’t Just Meet the Team, Get to Know Them

In an ideal world, a new hire would have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their core key team members on Day 1. However, with calendars constantly shifting and the prevalence of team members working remotely, this isn’t always possible. In some cases, it can be weeks or even months before a new hire gets to physically meet certain colleagues and supervisors. This unavailability keeps the new hire from understanding the role each person plays in the organization.

Videos enable new hires to establish emotional connections immediately, regardless of what time zone the VP of Quality Assurance happens to be in, or what’s on the schedule for the Director of Sales. A life science onboarding videos is an investment in the future bonds between team members working towards a common goal.

These bonds are key, especially in the life sciences. Take for example, a contract manufacturing companies with a number of facilities, often separated by entire states, and in some cases, entire oceans. Teams are geographically isolated yet must work together effectively across a chain of complex processes in order to achieve quality results.

A Way to Broadcast Your Archetype

Your archetype is the thread that links the roles and goals in your life science organization to specific behaviors. Ensuring that your new hire understands your company archetype and the behaviors that are expected of them is critical, so communicating your devotion to the attributes of your archetype is key.

How can this best be communicated? Printed paper is convenient yet limiting, while video has the ability to be both emotional and compelling. Sure, you can choose the right words and the most appropriate font for your printed communications, but doesn’t your new hire deserve a more immersive experience?

Since there are infinite of ways of executing life science onboarding videos, you have the opportunity to deliver the true essence of your archetype in a compelling way.

For a moment, let’s imagine there are two contract manufacturing organizations. Both follow the same FDA-approved process, and both have the same number of Ph.D.’s on staff. However, they each utilize a different archetype to differentiate their offerings.

  • CMO A embraces the Guardian archetype, which represents inspiration and high intellect.
  • CMO 1 embraces the Shapeshifter archetype, which represents adaptability and reinvention.

An onboarding video that embodies the culture of collaboration surrounding each organization’s process formulation should look and feel different.

CMO A’s life science onboarding videos could use humanizing shots of real team members delivering lines that emphasize the critical role that clear communication and protective oversight plays in taking care of client needs. The new hire’s job responsibilities would be communicated powerfully within this specific context. The music, light and uplifting, can represent the safe, almost ethereal atmosphere inside of the organization that is created by the careful protection of the client’s critical responsibilities and goals.

CMO 1’s life science onboarding videos, on the other hand, could use sleek animated graphics to quickly showcase the many ways the organization will adapt to the specific needs of their clients. In a short span of time, the copy can emphasize the core values the new hire should embrace in order to bolster the organization’s unique flexibility. The music, fast and energetic, effectively represents the constantly changing environment the organization thrives in.

Both executional styles effectively demonstrate the lengths each life science organization is willing to go to in order to live up to the values they claim to stand for. (And the onboarding process will be more effective for it.)

Because Consistency Is Key

In-person onboarding sessions are often used for gathering real-time questions and feedback from new hires, but they aren’t the most consistent way to share information. Any variation in how something is communicated could potentially lead to multiple interpretations of the same policy. Plus, people are prone to forget small details that can have major effects on the performance of any life science organization.

Using onboarding videos in conjunction with or instead of in-person training sessions ensures that the information provided to new hires is complete and consistent. The life sciences is dominated by extremely detailed SOP’s—shouldn’t your onboarding process benefit from the same level of structure?

Additionally, by onboarding new hires as consistently as possible, you can track employee behavior and modify your onboarding strategy as needed.

Self-assessment: Is your Organization Ready for Effective Life Science Onboarding Videos?

If you answer just 5 questions, you can determine how ready you are to create effective life science onboarding videos. First, take a moment to review your current onboarding materials. Second, review the core qualities of your life science organization’s archetype (if you have one), or your values and commonly expected behaviors (if you don’t have an archetype).

Then when you are ready, answer the following questions honestly.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning Not At All, and 5 meaning Absolutely: choose the answer that best reflects your current situation. Jot down your numerical answer and then total the score.

  1. Do you have a clearly defined set of common values and expected behaviors?
  2. Do your onboarding materials embody these values?
  3. Do your onboarding materials match your life science organization’s internal culture?
  4. Are your onboarding materials memorable?
  5. Under your current onboarding process, do new hires receive a comprehensive introduction to team members, both local and in other locations?
  6. Under your current onboarding process, are new hires made aware of key responsibilities and roles for team members and supervisors, both local and in other locations?
  7. Compare the onboarding process you recently provided for two employees handling congruent roles in your organization. Were these two sessions consistent?

What’s Your Score?

0 to 14

Revisit the core qualities of your life science organization if they are not well defined. If your organization does not have an archetype, explore the benefits that selecting one could bring to your life science organization.

Also reconsider how information is delivered to your new hires, and develop a list of critical information and introductions that should always be provided to your new hires.

15 to 29

First, review the information you currently share with new hires for completeness and consistency. Revise your onboarding materials to better fit your life science organization, especially if you currently use printed materials.

Second, draw connections to current unwanted employee behavior that could be attributed to weak spots within your onboarding process.

Third, explore how videos could improve the effectiveness of your current onboarding process.

30 to 35

Your onboarding process is a high performance one!

However, consider if there is room for improvement. Review weak spots in your onboarding process, and brainstorm ways in which videos could make your process perfect.

Executed correctly, there is real tangible value in using videos as an onboarding tool. Life science organizations waste countless resources when their teams are not aligned as the result of inefficient employee onboard, and any tool that can help overcome this obstacle should be openly explored and embraced.

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