Can a company podcast build a more engaged workforce?

Can a company podcast build a more engaged workforce?

Right now, over 475 million people are actively listening to podcasts around the world. In South Africa, the current market for podcasting is 16 million people and growing..

We all know that podcasts are growing in popularity every day.

According to a 2018-2019 study by the National Small Business Chamber. And, according to PwC’s Media Outlook, the South African podcast market is forecast to be up to 19 million monthly listeners by 2024.

So how does this medium of mass entertainment translate into a tool for effective employee engagement?

For starters, employees already know the format and love the medium in their personal life – the Infinite Dial 2022 report released in February 2022 reports that 61% of the South African major metro population aged 15 and older had listened to online audio in the previous month. The trick is to leverage this growth opportunity in a way that is both relevant for your company’s communications objectives and offers real value to your employees. That starts with understanding how podcasts are beneficial to companies and employees alike.

FIVE ways podcasts benefit companies and employees alike:

1. Anywhere anytime

Podcasts are not location or time specific, as they can be downloaded anytime anywhere. This enables employees, whether remote workers or office based, to access the content when and where it suits them, even at the gym or while travelling. The downside is that you might not get their full attention, but that’s where engaging content and effective storytelling comes into play.

2. Companies can carry the data costs

Podcasts don’t have to cost employees a cent, above their time that is. Even if they don’t use the company WIFI to listen or download the podcast, companies have the power to carry the cost of data, so it remains data free for all employees when they access the content from their mobile devices.

3. Appeals to next gen employees

With Millennials and Gen Zs demanding more accessible leadership, podcasts are one of the most effective ways to deliver authentic, personal views and interviews with leadership. Plus, younger employees are also drawn to podcasts for their great storytelling and ability to create communities around niche topics.

4. Cheaper, faster and less intimidating than video?

Podcasts are often used as an effective way to make leadership accessible to the greater company. Here podcasts really shine because, unlike video interviews, people are more comfortable with having their voice recorded, which is also easier and cheaper to do. So this is a great way for those leaders that may appear “wooden” on camera, to reveal their true selves.

5. Personal connection

Podcasting is an intimate medium. Listening to a podcast is generally something people do alone, which creates a more personal, authentic connection between the listener and speakers.

Where can podcasts really add value to Internal Communication?

As an intimate, storytelling medium, podcasts have the ability to bring a company’s vision and values to life in a way that is meaningful to employees. Overall, the best uses will depend on the structure and purpose of your organisation, as well as the company culture and your intention for the podcast. More visible leadership? Absolutely! Effective onboarding? Great!

Ares where podcasts really shine:

Onboarding: Most people find the onboarding process quite stressful, what with all the documents they need to go through. Podcasting can make it a more engaging and personal process, by providing a human voice to welcome and guide new employees through the process, making them feel supported in this unsettling time. By creating a series of podcasts, you can also break down the information into segments, allowing the new employee to gradually build up their knowledge at a pace that works for them.

The fireside chat: As an imitate medium, podcasts are perfectly suited to the fireside chat – that special place where company leaders and external speakers get to share their wisdom and inspire employees on everything from industry trends and business innovation to selfcare and employee wellness.

Leadership lessons: Being a relaxed and conversational style medium, podcasts offer a great way to explore a company’s culture through its leaders. Interviewing leaders in a relaxed and informal setting allows for a more authentic and personal approach to business topics, especially for bigger companies where focused time with EXCO members is few and far between. Leadership podcasts can also be used to support Town Hall engagements, whereby questions raised in the townhalls can be picked up and addressed later in a podcast. Just hearing their leaders share their views on the company, its goals and the way forward helps employees feel inspired and motivated to be part of the bigger picture.

Connection through shared culture: Podcasts can help foster a stronger workplace culture by connecting people across departments and business units. The best way to do this is by featuring employees from various departments and across different roles. This not only helps employees connect with each other, but to the different areas of the business and how everyone contributes to the bigger picture.

Convinced? Ready to record? Just remember that you’ll need an effective delivery channel to get your podcasts out there or risk being unheard and ignored by the very people you want to engage. So our advice is to start small, keep it simple and keep in mind that your content should always enhance your employees’ work life.  And of course, have some fun!

Ready to build your brand from the inside, out?