Remote work: Before the pandemic hit, many of us had heard of it. Maybe you even had the opportunity to work from home on occasion. Now, it’s becoming a focal subject for companies trying to pivot their working arrangements to fit the “new normal”.
But even before coronavirus took hold, telecommuting was already growing quickly. In fact, it was reported that between 2017 and 2018 alone, telecommuting increased by 22%. And now, we’re seeing companies like Google reporting that their workforce will be remote through at least Summer of 2021, a trend many other enterprises are very likely to follow, so it’s pretty clear that telecommuting isn’t going away any time soon. But that doesn’t mean being a distributed team doesn’t come with it’s own set of challenges, especially when it comes to company communications, employee engagement, and overall well-being. That’s why the most forward-thinking companies on the planet are turning to podcasting to streamline internal operational, communication, and collaborative processes.
Why Should I Care About Podcasting?
If you regularly listen to podcasts--you’re not alone. In the US, a reported 62 million people consume podcast content every single week. The statistics surrounding this medium’s meteoric rise are pretty astounding: listeners are downloading upwards of 1 billion episodes of content every month and in 2017, podcasting surpassed Twitter and LinkedIn in popularity so it’s no wonder companies are taking notice and trying to figure out the most effective way to integrate podcasting into their communications strategy.
If you’re not convinced that podcasting is going to be instrumental for organizational transformation, consider this: the Wall Street Journal reported that approximately 30 companies in the S&P 500 have developed employee-oriented podcasts. American Airlines, Verizon, Apple, Mastercard, Caterpillar, Home Depot, Netflix, and a host of other organizations are already producing them.
Given how often individuals are consuming podcast content and the fact that such large companies are already finding innovative ways to utilize this medium means that this isn’t a technology that’s next or that’s up and coming, it’s already here and by implementing it now, your organization will be better positioned than companies who wait to pivot their communications strategy until podcasting is so big it can no longer be ignored.
The fact is: the way we communicate is changing. It used to be enough to send out an email or put information on a company intranet, but that’s no longer the case. Modern workplace communications are no longer limited to the email. We now have an innumerable number of tech that connects us more than ever before, from video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet to internal messengers like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
While these technologies have connected us like never before, the reality of the situation is a bit of a double-edged sword: Now, you’re not only contending with email noise, you’re trying to cut through a huge wall of chatter from multiple places and key messaging can get lost in the process. These issues are amplified when you’re dealing with a team that’s distributed instead of in the office when you can quickly pop by their desk.
With so much information overload happening, audio information that attempts to engage can be a welcoming break from the monotony because it leaves enough room for the speaker to convey the message in a manner that’s more engaging than anything written.
- Simple: Making a podcast is a relatively small and undemanding production that doesn’t require too much time or company resources. All you need is a decent way to record it, a place to store it and a way to distribute it amongst your colleagues.
- More personal: The immediacy and the expressiveness of the human voice make for a more personal experience than reading text on a screen. It allows the listener to become more familiar with the speaker, which can help resolve the feeling of alienation common in large and remote teams. Involving other colleagues by interviewing them and allowing them to contribute will also let their voices be heard and create a shared, more communal experience.
- Convenient: Unlike a newsletter or a blog post, which require reader’s complete attention, podcasts are excellent for multitasking. Employees are not only able to tune in while they’re working, but they’re also able to listen while multitasking at home, driving in the car, or spending time at the gym.
Podcasting for the Newly-Remote Workforce
While some companies were already set up for remote working arrangements, many are navigating it for the first time and there’s no doubt this has created a litany of issues around communication and engagement for company leaders. Podcasting is the perfect way to keep your organization as agile and nimble as possible, allowing you to easily pivot the way you reach your workforce in a way that accounts for the variables brought on by work from home arrangements.
Some of the benefits podcasting can provide to your remote workforce include:
- Greater reach: Podcasting is the perfect way to cut through some of the noise since listening is a passive action and requires less attention than reading or watching multimedia files.
- Empowers the audience to consume content at any time: 64% of podcast listeners tune in while driving, 43% at the gym, and 49% consume content while walking.
- Engages and encourages connection: A recent Harvard Business Review study of 1,100 employees found that remote workers often feel shunned and left out. This can lead to serious decreases in engagement, productivity, and worker happiness. Podcasting is a great way to not just communicate your message, but get other members of your workforce involved as well, whether it’s as a guest on the company show, or by empowering teams to create and put out their own content and stories.
- Works well on mobile devices: The advent of the smartphone has exponentially changed the way we communicate and consume content. So it’s no surprise that 65% of podcast users are most likely to listen to episodes on a mobile device.
- Voice is more engaging than email or attachments: Reading is a relatively recent addition to our evolutionary abilities, and the brain quickly tires of it. Not only do the subtleties of pitch and tone make audio communication more effective at influencing behavior and developing a relationship, but voice also allows you to relay more information in a shorter time.
- Higher levels of completion: A study by Edison found that listeners tend to stick with a podcast once it's started, rather than dumping it after a few minutes.
Use Cases for Podcasting
Let’s talk a little now about the ways podcasting can help you streamline and improve some of your company’s every day processes
When it comes to your enterprise, the phrase “internal communication” is far-reaching, as it can encompass all types of messaging. The most obvious of these is company news and announcements which have traditionally been the domain of email and company intranet.
Still, you can go much further than these basic information types and use podcasting to capture all-hands, department or team meetings which typically take place across many different time zones, often making it next to impossible to find a time that works for everyone. Podcasting removes these barriers to communication and allows your workers to get the information they need at a time that’s convenient for them.
Podcasts are also a great way to share something short and informal like a daily motivational talk, either from leadership or maybe to your sales force to help provide them with some directives or focus for the day. It can be 30 seconds or 1 minute.
It might sound corny, but recording a sound byte for your team that helps them set intentions or focus for the day can be a powerful tool to align distributed teams. When you use an all-encompassing, easy-to-use app like CastDesk, you’re able to create a piece of content that doesn’t take a ton of time to produce, but still provides great value to your workforce.
Sales training and communication is a big area podcasting can positively support. In addition to recording information about key sales initiatives and company products, you can also use this medium for uploading continuous learning and training modules reps can access on-demand.
Role play scenarios are another good example of where podcasts can help drive more conversions and revenue for your enterprise. Have two people record their parts of a particular sales scenario and share the episode with the rest of the team as an example of how to handle a particular prospecting situation.
Building a positive company culture is difficult during the best of times, and it’s even harder when you’re trying to facilitate connection and engagement when workers can’t be in the same room. Not only is podcasting a great tool to help you combat some of the loneliness and isolation your workers are likely facing, but having that extra touch point can help remind everyone that you’re all in this together.
Consider using your podcast to:
- Profile some of your team members and tell employee stories
- Talk about day to day operations
- Share company or team successes
- Interview leadership
- Highlight community outreach: Workers are more focused on corporate responsibility than ever and oftentimes, it’s not very apparent what types of philanthropic and charitable work a company is doing. Not only does this help your employees feel like they’re a part of a company doing something to make the world better,but it can also be useful to use these stories for recruiting new talent.
How to Get Started
Of course, there’s still this prevailing idea that creating podcast content is difficult or requires costly investment. With all the advances in technology, that adage is no longer true. Today’s enterprise podcasting platforms are both easy to use and integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructure–whether your company has a dedicated media room, or you’re just using the built-in audio features on your phone.
Things you’ll want to look for in a company podcast solution include:
- Enterprise-grade security: You’ll likely be sharing sensitive information, so your platform needs to incorporate the latest security protocols to keep communication from getting leaked.
- Access controls: The capability to restrict viewing to specific groups, teams, and individuals should be available.
- Mobile-friendly: Information should be readily available, allowing your employees to access the most up-to-date information at any time, from anywhere, regardless of if they have wifi access or not.
- Analytics: Communication managers should have access to an extensive analytics suite that gives them insight into who is listening to content, what they are listening to and when. Utilizing these data points can also let you know who has accessed the content and heard the message and who still needs to be informed.
The bottom line is that, in order to keep your workforce from fragmenting and your employees engaged, it’s time to get serious about the way your enterprise facilitates communication. By investing in a corporate podcasting solution and rethinking the way you distribute information, your organization can easily transform into a next-gen communication powerhouse that is better prepared to handle whatever comes next.
Want to learn more about how CastDesk can help you easily implement a podcasting solution that scales? We’d love to talk to you.