Emergent Thinkers 5 minute Spotlight: with Neil Dolman, Tata Steel Packaging, Trostre
Recently I designed an assessment in the format of an internal communications vlog, which created an expected ratio of trepidation and intrigue. I met with Neil Dolman, Operations Manager at Tata Steel Packaging, Trostre, who explains why industry supports the vlog as an assessment device.
Inspiring shop-floor vlogs
Neil Dolman would ditch lengthy handbooks or long slide-decks in favour of an informative and engaging short video. He claims employees are far more likely to soak up essential information in the form of a vlog or dynamic screencast. Neil first witnessed the vlog’s employee engagement impact potential at a visit to a customer plant in France. “It was used to gather input and feedback on the annual plan from its employees all over the world. The vlog responses from the shop-floor were excellent”.
Leading by example
Action to implement the vlog back in Wales built on a personal aspiration for Neil; to keep current and ever responsive to an increasingly complex and changing world. He had observed in his own plant a limited vlog awareness, and its potential to add value. So Neil set about making his own. “I produced my first one, solely on an iPhone in about one hour, and just posted it on our intranet!
Now, at Tata Packaging, Trostre, the vlog has been adopted in its cultural change program; a weekly update process.
Keep it short and snappy
Neil’s strong on simplicity. “A vlog is simply a recorded presentation, possibly with some photos included. Bringing an organisation’s culture to life, it is a format to inspire employees and teams globally, supporting colleagues to move beyond being email aliases”. Regardless of the tools used or the actual content, he argues that visuals make a story or message better.
The value is the message that people take from the vlog; whether that be a share of best practice within operations or purely a briefing. “We have an excellent one on the PPE requirements of the plant”. Once someone’s cracked the basics, Neil argues that it’s an efficient and personable approach to communication. “The more natural, the better. Not over-produced, but kept short and snappy!! There’s no formal template in place, but he advises “no more than 3 minutes, no scene more than 30 seconds! Break it up with photos. Be light hearted and positive”.
Scope for future proofing skill building
There does however appear to be a divide between those who do and do not have the confidence or the basics of vlog construction. Neil adds “I appreciate I’m experienced addressing teams, even speaking to large audiences at conferences, but I’d be very encouraged if more graduates came through vlog savvy”. A works engineer, part of a multi-million pound global business, he highlights the importance of students fine-tuning their vlogging skills and communication confidence in a safe environment. “I appreciate that it takes more confidence than actual production skill. As with any other fear and anxiety the best way to conquer it is with exposure to it, forcing yourself to do something can really give you a confidence boost, especially when it turns out well in the end”.
Thanks to Neil Dolman, Operations Manager, Tata Steel Packaging, Trostre, for giving of his time.