2010 Cisco

Last summer Jeb Breithaupt, of Jeb Design/Build, in Shreveport, La., bought an easy-to-use Flip video camera and began recording short videos to train staff and new employees. Topics include: company values, the company manual, how to qualify phone leads, sign and trash-trailer placement, and job packaging for production. “We have written systems, but it’s different to hear it,” Breithaupt says. “People learn in different ways, by doing, by reading, some by listening.”

The remodeler appears in most of the 40 videos, which are stored on the company’s server. He has even filmed basic procedures such as how to correctly do data entry. “We want to keep [the clips] to under three minutes long because over three to five minutes people get restless,” Breithaupt says. However, some procedures require more time. The segment on the company’s job notebook runs for 10 minutes because there are so many sections to cover.

Fast Training

The videos save time: Instead of Breithaupt personally training each new employee, he can have them spend a few hours watching the videos during their first week at work. When a new field person started last fall, Breithaupt asked him to review the videos and make notes. Breithaupt then set up a meeting with the employee to answer any follow-up questions.

“It helps communicate our systems and processes,” Breithaupt says. “It gives new employees an overall view of how we work. You want production guys to know what sales is doing and vice versa. It provides a perspective about what the client’s experience has been.”

Testimonials, Too

Breithaupt doesn’t usually edit the videos, he just shoots a few versions and chooses the best one. With the Flip video camera, it’s best to be about 6 feet from the subject — “farther than that, and you can’t hear,” he says. His marketing coordinator uploads the videos to the company server.

Breithaupt also uses the camera to film client testimonials and educational segments. Educational topics include dust control, the construction schedule, green remodeling, how to provide a good client experience, and footage of the company’s show home projects. Those videos are put on YouTube and are posted on Jeb Design/Build’s website and on Breithaupt’s blog.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.