GETTING HEARD: IMPROVING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT WITH PODCASTING

As our new year begins, podcasting is no longer the black sheep of the radio broadcasting family. With more than half of the U.S. population having already listened to a podcast (Edison Infinite Dial Report), the format has exploded with topics ranging from investing, music and sports, to cooking, self-help and scripted content.

And the big players have caught on.

Peak Podcasting is on the way: Marvel is launching superhero podcasts on Sirius XM and Pandora, the Financial Times is rolling out subscriber-only podcasts, and Spotify lets you include podcasting on your playlists — which makes sense given Spotify’s recent $300M+ purchases of Gimlet, Anchor and Parcast, making the streamer the leading global podcast publisher with more shows than any other company.

The cynic in me says podcasting is heading in the direction of most other digital formats, dominated by a select few mega-platforms (think Netflix) with smaller networks and players forced to innovate in order to capture what’s left.

But aside from battling it out for subscribers, what if you used podcasting to reach your employees? More specifically, can a company leverage the popularity and reach of podcasting to more effectively engage its employees?

After all, podcasting is an incredibly versatile medium. Employees can listen on their own time, when they’re driving to work or even while they’re working.

We tackled this question head-on for a financial services client who recently asked us to help improve their internal communications.

Faced with more employees working from home, an expansion of sales offices and the need to drive more engagement among its workforce and stakeholder base, we developed a cross-functional corporate podcast strategy that included its C-suite, Human Resources, IT and sales departments.

Accessible through the firm’s intranet, we created such content as a monthly “Lunch with the CEO,” “The Secret Sauce” for its national sales department, and “Channeling HR” to deal with such topics as talent, diversity and inclusion.

If you’re interested in doing the same, here are 3 tips to help make the journey a bit easier and more effective:

1) Have a Clear Strategy with measurable objectives (not just a theme).

In our case, the client wanted to increase employee and stakeholder engagement. Therefore, our programming aimed to provide pragmatic information that employees could act on. Including this call to action proved essential.

Further, we were mindful of duration. Remember, the idea here is to get employees to voluntarily take time out of their day, weekend or evening commute to listen to work-related content, so it’s best to keep a podcast short.

And in terms of metrics, don’t just look at downloads; those are mere outputs. Better to conceptualize what are the expected outcomes over a period of time.

2) It’s About Your Employees

This is about increasing employee engagement across the firm.

So remember to engage them!

For instance, set up interviews with employees from different departments and branches to showcase the different projects and achievements throughout the company. Personal narratives can only help improve collaboration between departments by enabling employees to get to know the people in different areas of the organization.

This is important. You don’t want your podcast to be seen as solely a platform for management to speak; to drive real engagement, employees need to share their stories, opinions and insights.

3) Promote

Make sure you have a process in place to promote upcoming episodes of your podcast to employees.

Work with key executives to use the firm’s email and intranet to craft brief announcements that use show notes and key highlights to sum up upcoming episodes.

And create a landing page. This serves as a home base for your programming, allowing employees to easily access new episodes, find show notes and transcriptions and learn more about your company.

The Take-away: As traditional methods of employee communication continue to grow old and tired — and easy to ignore -podcasting offers an innovative way to re-engage and generate real traction with employees across all geographies and time zones.

Helping purpose-driven leaders & firms accelerate growth through corporate communications, brand & management consulting (https://www.peterlofrumento.com)