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HR Content Tip: How Long Should an HR Video Be?

Video consumption continues to explode across our personal and professional lives.  It’s becoming a common medium for everyone (45% of people watch one hour of video every day globally), and it’s growing (global video consumption grew by 71% in 2021 according to Limelight Networks).  This is driving more companies to use video to communicate to their employees.  But as HR organizations start to use video, they have many questions about to how to best get engagement from their videos.

I hear many questions, but one of the most common is, ““How long should my HR video be?”.  I think the two most common answers are:

  1. “Less than two minutes” which is a safe bet if you have nothing else to go off of, as we know employee attention spans are getting shorter and shorter…

  1. “It depends” which is the most accurate, but requires a lot more thought and work to determine the right length for your specific video.


I’ll provide more detailed information later in this blog, but for those of you looking for a “quick answer”, here are some general “Rules of Thumb” that could help you optimize your chance of employee engagement for different HR video types:

  • Mandatory videos (e.g., compliance) – 10-20 minutes.  You have a captive audience, but to improve focus and retention, don’t make it too long (break long content into multiple videos).
  • Optional training videos (e.g., how to provide feedback) – 5-15 minutes. These videos typically appeal to an interested, but targeted segment of employees.  Because of the employee interest, these videos can be longer, especially for some topics – but we recommend keeping each video <15 minutes to improve focus and retention.
  • HR program or policy videos (e.g., annual review process, onboarding) – 5-10 minutes – this is important information, but typically not the most engaging topics for employees.
  • Company culture videos (e.g., mission/vision/values) – 2-5 minutes – these are generally high energy, engaging videos focused on an important aspect of culture.
  • HR program “teaser” videos (e.g., announcement of a new benefit) – <2 minutes – keep these “marketing” videos short, since you’re trying to grab attention from employees.
  • Company announcements/notifications (e.g., open enrollment timing, stock option changes) – <1 minute  – keep these messages short and focused.

These are just general guidelines as actual engagement is driven by many other factors.  But for those of you who want a quick answer, this should provide a good general guideline.


Social media platforms drive our employees’ video consumption patterns.  While social media video is not exactly the same as work-related video, it does impact what employees want and expect from video.  A search on the web will provide many different recommendations on video length, so we’ve just provided a small sampling of platform limits and recommendations:

  • Instagram – Stories have a limit of up to 60 seconds in video with Video limits up to 60 minutes.  Hootsuite recommends less than 1 minute or 2-5 minutes if needed.
  • TikTok – originally started as 15 seconds, increased to one minute, then three minutes and is now 10 minutes.  Hootsuite recommends 7-15 seconds as the best video length.
  • Facebook – recommends 3+ minutes for shows and developing storylines; but less than one minute for moments/teasers/announcements.
  • Youtube – the average YouTube video length is 11.7 minutes according to Statista; while Hootsuite recommends 2 minutes as ideal.

There is no “right” answer, but these numbers can be helpful in understanding what is happening in the personal lives of our employees. As you can see, most platforms started short (e.g., TikTok) but have gradually increased limits to support longer use cases.


As you can imagine, video engagement is dependent on many factors beyond the length of the video.  But, to optimize engagement, you should use the factors below to influence the final length of your video.  Here are some of the top factors that will influence engagement by employees:

  1. Quality of the video – we’re not talking about video resolution, but the quality of the content. A poorly constructed video will not get engagement, no matter how short it is, while a well-produced video can get significant engagement over many minutes.  We’ll have a future blog outlining this topic in more detail, but here are aspects of a good quality video:
    • Starts strong and catches the attention of the viewer immediately – 20% of viewers leave a video in the first 10 seconds.
    • Concise – this does not necessarily mean short, but the messages are simple and clear without dragging on.
    • Strong visuals – video’s power is in combining images with audio.  Integrating  interesting and valuable visuals – whether animated or  full-motion – will keep audiences engaged.
    • Entertaining – while not appropriate for all topics, creating a video that is fun and interesting can increase overall engagement.

  1. Relevance to the employee audience – not all employees are the same, so trying to create one video that appeals equally to all employees can be challenging and may often lead to a video that appeals to few.  The most engaging videos are customized to the needs of specific employee audiences and targeted to those specific employee groups.  So, it’s best to start any video by targeting the characteristics of the primary audience.  We realize it can be hard to create unique videos for every employee demographic, so here are some tips:
    • Modularize your videos so that you can create different combinations of segments for specific employee groups.
    • Organize your videos so viewers can skip to the information most relevant to them.
    • But most of all, focus on the most relevant groups and don’t worry about the others as they likely won’t engage very much no matter what you do.

  1. Importance of the information – not all information is equal, so set appropriate engagement targets based on the topic.  For example, a CEO announcement about the company’s strategy will get much more engagement than a video about commuter benefits.  That doesn’t mean information on commuter benefits isn’t important, it will just get less engagement as it will not be important information for all employees. 

  1. Accessibility of the video – overall video engagement will also be driven by how easily the employees can access the video.  Factors include:
    • How easy is it to find the video?  A video link sent by email from the CEO will get much more engagement than a video link embedded on an intranet amongst 30 other links. 
    • Can it be accessed on mobile?  75% of all video views are on mobile devices according to eMarketer.  Mobile access is critical for deskless workers, but also important for reaching a distributed employee population who want to consume information when it’s convenient for them (e.g., while commuting, waiting in line for lunch, etc.)

  1. Analyzing the data and iterating – no employee group is the same, so to understand what drives engagement it’s best to look at the actual engagement data of your videos.  By understanding what works best for different employee segments, you’ll be able to fine tune your video approaches.  But also realize that engagement patterns change and evolve, so you’ll want to use data ongoing so you continue to optimize your approaches.

In summary, here are some “rules of thumb” for engagement:

  • Well produced videos can be longer in length; but if you have minimal budget to create good quality video, keep it short.
  • Highly targeted, relevant videos can be longer; but if you’re creating a “one-size-fits-all” video, keep it short.
  • Videos that are very important and beneficial for the employee can be longer; but videos that are important for the company with limited immediate value to the employee should be short.
  • Videos that are easy to access and convenient for employees will increase engagement.
  • Data, data, data!  Using data is critical for optimizing engagement for your unique employee population.


Video is becoming an increasingly important part of employee communications.  That’s why more and more HR organizations are integrating video as a core part of their content library.  There are many factors to think about when creating video – and while there is no perfect answer for video length, you can optimize your approach by considering the topic, audience, budget, and quality of your video.   There may still be many questions to optimizing video communications within your enterprise, but hopefully, this blog provides some good guidelines to get you on your way.

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