Internal podcasts are a great tool for communications and to engage your employees. It’s like having your very own company culture radio station.
The popularity and adoption of podcasting continues to rise. According to Statistica, the number of those who have listened to podcasts over the age of 12, jumped 44% from 2018 to 2019. So it’s not just growing in awareness but also as a viable medium to get information and be entertained by.
It’s Not About Piling On
Many organizations are looking at podcasting to focus on a more niche audience: their employees. But from some of the conversations I’ve had, there is often confusion or misunderstanding as to how useful internal podcasts can be. It’s often thought of as just an “innovative” way of doing that’s already being done – newsletters, emails, websites, etc but hey… now with audio! Unfortunately that’s not the best approach.
If your newsletters, emails, websites, etc aren’t engaging your employees, then it’s not about piling on. It’s about creating better newsletters, emails websites, etc that people actually want to get and read. Piling a podcast on as another option doesn’t fix the problem, it just adds more work to a group that’s probably busy enough.
Look at podcasting as its own program. I heard Jay Baer once suggest treating each communication channel as if it was a different TV show. I love that. Different format, different stars, different stories, different timeslot… aka you have to treat it differently.
There is so much more opportunity to engage your employees than just reformating your existing communication.
Ways to Better Engage Your Employees
Before launching your internal podcast, it’s important to understand your intent for the show. How will it serve your organization?
- Knowledge transfer – with the usual turnover any organization has, podcasting can become a knowledge library of what your business is, what teams do, why they do it and the people that make it happen. It’s a great opportunity to inform, educate and pique interest.
- Community building – for an organization that is dispersed, either geographically, in the nature of their work or with the increased remoteness of work, the podcast provides a touchpoint. It’s a great opportunity to hear the voices of those you don’t always interact with and bring an organization a little closer together.
- Onboarding and orientation – timeless (aka evergreen) episodes help bring new employees up to speed in an engaging, useful way. As new staff join your organization, podcasts are an informal and accessible entry way into the culture of your organization. Every episode is a snapshot of your organization’s expertise, passion and possible future career paths.
- Culture building – share corporate values, celebrate stories of success, highlight ways the organization has provided excellent service to its customers demonstrating and defining your culture.
- Career building – take every opportunity to discuss career paths, helping listeners hear how a guest’s career was built and their practical advice and lessons to carve their own path.
- Cross-organization exploration – building understanding and appreciation of other work areas and reducing silos within the organization, contributes to stronger and cohesive working relationships.
- Improved empathy – creating a safe space for guests to share their stories and messages, it humanizes them for the audience and allows them to learn about the people behind the titles and responsibilities. Listeners can find common ground and be inspired and understand the challenges of their colleagues, hearing alternative perspectives and experiences they may not otherwise have access to,
- Accessibility to knowledge and leadership – the conversational tone puts a human voice to subject matter experts and leaders who staff may not normally connect with.
- Connecting staff to the business’s vision, mission and goals – guests share their expertise and tangible results of their work, linking them to the larger direction of the organization.
- Cross-organizational mentorship – as your podcast gains ground within your organization, other business areas will look to you as the model to move their own initiatives forward. If there is a large enough internal audience, other podcasts could grow to create an internal network.
Adding an internal podcast to your suite of corporate communications is not just a tool, but rather a social object – an object creating a human connection. This can be both between the guest and the host, and the community (coworkers, executive, etc) listening to the conversation. Done well, it can serve so many purposes, all helping engage your employees.