The stats behind podcasting’s meteoric rise are pretty astounding: In 2018, over 124 million people reported having consumed podcast content and 73 million say they listen on a monthly basis. This medium has become so widespread that some of the biggest companies in the world like Samsung, American Airlines, Marriott, and more, have started integrating podcasting into their internal communications strategy. And if these leaders have already done it, chances are the trend isn’t going away any time soon, especially as the workforce majority increasingly shifts from Baby Boomers to more tech-savvy Millennials.
How Podcasting Can Benefit Your Employees
As companies become more and more entrenched in remote working arrangements, having a lifeline employees can use to access company updates and success stories is mission-critical to keeping your workforce informed and connected. Unlike email and inter-office messaging systems like Slack and Microsoft Teams, podcast content is more likely to appeal to emotions, is a more engaging way to spread information, and can be a critical component to building better employee-executive relations. For many years, companies have relied on outdated methods of distribution and materials like memos, slide decks, and print-outs to relay information internally. With podcasting, leaders have a more cost-efficient way to disseminate communications faster and easier than ever before, and turning to this method means your communications have a better chance of being consumed and engaged with by your workforce because:
- Content on demand has become an expectation: 73% of listeners consume podcast content on a phone, tablet, or other mobile device, which means works are able to listen on-the-go, at a time that works best for them, whether they’re in the care, at the gym, or just doing chores around the house.
- Podcasts are more engaging than traditional mediums: Studies show voice breathes life into communication and is more interesting to consume. Since people’s attention span is shorter than ever, it’s not unsurprising that employees don’t want to spend time reading long company memos or in-depth blog posts. And since listening is a passive action, your team can tune in while working on other things.
- Coordinating schedules becomes simpler than ever: If you have a global team distributed across many different time zones, you know firsthand just how painful it can be to get everyone together at the same time. When employees have to get up in the middle of the night or join at a time that's inconvenient for them, no one is engaged or happy. By replacing these activities with podcasts, you ensure workers are fresh and ready to focus on the message at a time that works best for them, which can lead to higher levels of information retention.
- Employee connection gets put on auto-pilot: Engaged workers don't just connect with the company, they also have strong ties to their peers. This culture-building is even more important for distributed teams because, without it, the entire company mission suffers. Podcasting doesn't just have to be a leadership show (though it certainly can be, depending on your organization’s needs), you can also build peer-to-peer relations by including employee contributed content in your secure podcast library. By equipping your team members with a tool that makes podcasting simple and easy to produce, you're empowering them to share knowledge and further their interoffice connections.
Podcasting Use Cases
Whether your team is suddenly distributed, you've supported remote working arrangements all along, or you just have a large global team that needs to be better aligned, podcasting is the perfect medium to engage your workforce from anywhere. These are some ways it can benefit your organization.
Provide a central portal to access company communications, announcements, and other proprietary information
It’s no secret that distributing information across the enterprise can sometimes feel like a game of telephone, where critical details get lost or missed in the process. By having one go-to place where workers can access critical information, you create a "single source of truth", stopping any rumors, misinformation, or hearsay before it begins.
Record, store, and share and get real-time feedback about department and all-hands meetings
When you have a large or remote team, it's absolutely imperative that they communicate more...and with programs like Zoom, Slack, GoogleMeet, Microsoft Teams (and others like them, taking center-stage in day to day interactions, communication is often flying around in multiple places and difficult to refer back to later. By putting together a podcast, you create a channel that is easy to access and allows workers to reference as needed.
Amplify and humanize executives and leaders
Pandemic or not, it's crucial that information flows from the top to the workforce as smoothly as possible. But the best leaders are the ones who show their humanity and make employees want to rally behind them. Three out of four employees see effective communication as the number one leadership attribute. Yet, less than one in three employees feel like their leaders communicate efficiently. Additionally, research shows that managers are responsible for 70% of employee motivation and happiness so it’s easy to understand why it’s essential to establish a strong line of communication. Podcasting is the perfect way to achieve this synergy; Voice is a very powerful medium that can help leadership showcase their personality while establishing credibility and trust throughout the organization.
Build a culture of contribution where all workers feel included
We talked a little bit earlier in this piece about the role podcasting can play in fostering peer-to-peer connection across your enterprise, but now we’re going to address some ways to achieve it.
According to a recent Gallup poll, “only 30 percent of full-time employees in the United States feel engaged or inspired at work.” The study continues, “These employees are emotionally disconnected from their companies and may actually be working against their employers’ interests; they are less productive, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.” Not good.
Podcasting can help everyone feel like they're on the same team and working toward a collective goal, even if they can't be in the same room. Encourage your workforce to submit content like:
- Things that are keeping them motivated
- Industry trends they think may affect the business in the future
- Tips the department can use to work more efficiently
- A use case they are working on, how they solved the issue, and what they learned
- Interviews with fellow co-workers
Encourage continuous learning across your enterprise
Just because COVID-19 has upended your day-to-day operations, doesn't mean all productivity needs to go out the window. In fact, this is the perfect time for employees to revisit key information about the company, its products, and its services. But there's another silver lining: Workers and managers alike have the unique opportunity to learn a new skill or add additional capabilities to their knowledge set: For example, with a secure, internal podcast, you could quickly record an episode about a particular program used at the organization and increase the number of people who know how to use it. This can come in handy if someone is out on vacation or sick.
Another use case might arise when it comes to filling a new position, as there is always some back and forth about if hiring should be external or come from within. By equipping workers with a diverse range of knowledge, you could empower someone at the organization who you already know is a great culture fit, rather than wasting time and resources on a new person who doesn’t work out.
Starting Your Internal Podcast
When people think of podcasting, a very time-intense, resource-consuming process that requires a lot of special equipment is the first thing that comes to mind. But with all the technology and tools available to us now, that’s no longer the case. Secure, mobile-first podcasting applications like CastDesk make the production process easier than ever before. All you have to do is press record, upload, and set your custom access controls, which can be done in a matter of minutes.
Some other things you should look for in a podcasting platform include:
- Modern, up-to-date, enterprise-grade security protocols: You’ll likely be sharing sensitive information in your internal podcast, so it’s absolutely essential that the platform you choose incorporates 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, how engaged they were with it, and more. This will give you a holistic picture of the impact your podcast is having across the organization and what adjustments may need to be made.
No matter what your company's situation is, podcasting is the perfect medium for forward-thinking leaders who want to be intentional about enterprise communications. By having the proper tools and processes in place, you'll create a winning strategy that scales and keeps your workforce engaged for years to come.