Changes in Modern Day Business Practices: The Impact of Video Conferencing

The movie “Up in the Air” starring George Clooney featured a plotline that involved the use of video conferencing as a new way of handling employee terminations. While its purpose in the movie was rather negative, the general concept it was used for as well as the functionality of present day conferencing technology does hold a lot of potential in streamlining the internal operational processes of a company. At its core, the best video conferencing technologies, such as those through providers like Blue Jeans, are meant to make communication, collaboration and information sharing within an organization easier. Thus, the impact of video conferencing should not be underestimated given its potential to radically change how companies approach traditional business processes.

Face-to-Face Interviews
It is normally the case that interviews for new positions within a company are conducted via face-to-face interactions; however, as many executive search firms have found out, prospective employees for a company tend to be unable to engage in face-to-face interviews due to location and time constraints. To overcome this problem, various executive search firms, as well as ordinary employee sourcing companies, have turned towards the use of video conferencing technology in order to conduct interviews. The purpose of an interview is to enable an interviewer to get a “feel” for the interviewee. A resume can only say so much about a person and evaluating whether a person would be a good fit for an organization would all boil down to how their personality is perceived. However, conducting an evaluation doesn’t necessarily entail that the interviewee should be there personally. An evaluation can be done by seeing an interviewee’s reaction to particular questions, how they present themselves and their overall personality, all of these aspects can be done over a video call. In fact, there are even some cases where companies interview three or more people at the same time via a single video conference. Given the convenience of this method for both the company and the prospective employee, it is not surprising that it has increasingly become the preferred choice for many HR departments around the world.

Going back to the concept presented in the movie “Up in the Air”, employee terminations can also be performed via video conferencing. One of the main problems with the use of this method for employee termination that was shown was the impersonal nature of the act. It was portrayed as being disrespectful to employees since they were shown to require to be gradually counseled into accepting their termination and nothing supposedly beats a face-to-face interaction in order to accomplish this. However, one factor the movie touched on, yet was not expounded upon, was the fact that companies tend to have multiple branches across a wide array of locations, some of them even being located in other countries. Performing terminations across multiple locations either necessitates having HR departments specifically for those locations, which would be an additional financial burden for the company, or they company could utilize a video call and set up an online meeting for a predetermined time via email and send them a link that they can utilize in order to access the meeting. Yes, terminating an employee is never easy, but hiring additional personnel just to make the process of termination easier doesn’t make good financial sense, this is especially true at the present given the tight revenue goals companies have to contend with due to increased local and international competition.

Monthly Managerial/Executive Reports
Another process that would benefit greatly from the use of video conference tools are the monthly reports that managers/executives are required to make. Due to the expansion of companies into numerous local and international markets, making monthly reports and answering Q&As from the head executives of the company has become an expensive endeavor with companies often having to fly in managers and executives in order to make their personal reports. While written reports are often utilized, nothing beats the back-and-forth Q&As between a manager and executives at the main office since a more personal and less objective point of view can reveal details that may have been missing from the original written report. In order to mitigate the travel costs, Eweek suggests that video conferencing can be used in order have the same type of Q&A without having the manager being there in person to make it.

The main lesson that companies can take from this examination of the impact of video conferencing on company operations is that traditional processes can go beyond traditional methods of being done. Interviews, terminations, and even Q&As can now be conducted without having both individuals within the same location. In fact, the Huffington Post suggests these potential changes only scratch the surface of what video conferencing is capable of given its nearly limitless applicability in a wide range of possible processes.

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