Welcome New Remote Employees with a Personalized Video

Successfully onboarding and welcoming your new employees is an important challenge. And when you’re hiring remotely — as we are, temporarily, during the COVID-19 crisis — that challenge is heightened.

This month, two new employees joined Atomic Object’s Ann Arbor office as part of our Accelerator program. I wanted to find a way to replicate the warm welcome they would normally get at the office. And I wanted to make it easier for them to get to know their new coworkers and our culture.

Using just Zoom and iMovie, we created simple, personalized videos to introduce the new Atoms to their colleagues.

The Value of a Welcome Video

Getting to know new colleagues is a process that requires regular interactions. Even when everyone is co-located, it’s unlikely that you’ll be working directly with everyone at your company. That’s why “water cooler” chats and other social interactions that happen naturally in a physical space are so valuable. When your company is entirely remote, you have to find ways to replace those interactions and allow your new employees to slowly build up those associations.

Communicating solely through Slack or other text-based media is never going to be enough. Something like a daily Zoom standup can help make connections, but on-the-spot introductions can be awkward and aren’t repeatable.

This is where an introductory welcome video for your new employees can come in handy. Not only do you provide a warm and friendly introduction, but newcomers can rewatch their video to help solidify the connection between names and faces, who has what role, and which person in the office is the biggest goofball.

Making a Welcome Video with Zoom and iMovie

I wanted to make the process as low-overhead and simple as possible, while giving everyone a chance to show off their personality. We did this by recording with Zoom’s meeting recording feature. It didn’t require anyone to do any setup. It leveled the playing field, keeping the video look and feel the same for everyone (even if that meant sacrificing a bit of fidelity). And I immediately had all the video recordings, without needing to collect large files from twenty busy people in a timely matter.

I gave everyone some simple prompts ahead of time, then used iMovie to splice everything together. If all you need to do is stitch together video clips with minimal processing, a free editor like iMovie is more than sufficient.

(I went a bit above and beyond to cut together some specific welcome phrases. If I were to do that again in the future, I’d want some editing software with a bit more firepower. iMovie isn’t able to work with more than two video clips at a time.)

Each new employee received a video with personalized greetings and introductions from each Atom in our office. I’m incredibly happy with the end result, especially the way that different Atoms got to display their personalities.

I cut together a shorter version with a representative sample of introductions, which you can enjoy below. There’s also an extended cut with a blooper reel, but I won’t be sharing it publicly. If you’d like to see it and get a welcome video of your own, you’ll have to come work with us!