The Office of University Controller (OUC) is responsible for communicating fiscal policies to over 30,000 CU employees. For many years, the OUC followed a traditional approach for this responsibility: presenting the policies, and identifying who needed to comply with them.
Over the years, we came to recognize a key aspect of how compliance works: Telling a person that they need to comply with a policy does not guarantee that the person will do so. On the other hand, explaining to a person why they need to comply with a policy substantially increases the likelihood that the person will do so.
So the OUC turned to a tool that is common in sales and marketing, but uncommon in higher education fiscal policy work: the explainer video. OUC’s digital design team created an animated video to explain how Accounting Handbook policies originate and how and when they are revised.
Feedback from employees was highly positive, and the policy explainer video approach attracted national attention from NACUBO (National Association of College & University Business Officers) and other associations.
Explainer videos are short, animated videos that illustrate complex ideas in an engaging manner. Explainer videos for fiscal policies identify how/why the policies came into being, clarifying both an underlying problem (the WHY behind a policy's existence) and the solution to the problem (the compliant employee).
When people better understand why policies exist, they have a deeper understanding of why they should comply with those policies—and they’re more likely to do so. The campuses have received our explainer videos positively (even asking that we work with other offices to design explainer videos for their policies/procedures).
The Accounting Handbook explainer video was developed in 2017
The OUC is currently developing additional explainer videos for the University of Colorado Fiscal Procedures, with plans to move on to Administrative Policy Statements and other CU-wide fiscal policies and procedures in the near future.