Internal podcasts: Build a bridge to employees during COVID-19

A lone man sits on a bridge.

COVID-19 is scattering employees far and wide. This makes it harder for companies to reach them all at the same time with the messaging and updates that matter. Meanwhile, podcasts are providing listeners with accessible, engaging content that they can enjoy on their own terms. So why not build a bridge to your employees with your very own internal podcast?

I love podcasts! That’s not just a subjective statement from me personally; it’s playfully become a stock catchphrase of millennials, Gen X, Gen Y or whatever other silly name we’re supposed to use to refer to a generation who – basically – can’t recall a life before technology.

From gripping True Crime documentary to episode-by-episode analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there really is something for everyone out there. (The latter is for me.)

So if people love podcasts; and if businesses need to communicate with their people; why not build a bridge in your company with a regular internal podcast?

The Coronavirus lockdown: a blocker to meaningful messaging

A significant challenge facing companies right now is how to communicate meaningfully with a self-isolating workforce.

All-staff ‘Town Halls’ and morning stand-ups are great for sharing corporate updates. And thanks to online platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, these can – relatively easily – be carried out virtually. However current flexible working implications – such as the need to look after for vulnerable relations or fit work around childcare – mean that standard regular team meetings, where everybody is present, may be less achievable.

Emails are an obvious solution. They can be drafted anytime, and picked up at any time. However long info-packed messages are not particularly appealing or engaging to the average employee, and may be sent straight to a growing ‘to read later’ pile. Also, with departments and teams being further disconnected from each other, there can be a tendency to encounter multiple disparate emails with no sense of ‘air traffic control’. This can be overwhelming for employees. 

Finally, by working from home, many of us are unable to congregate at that fabled meeting-place for ideas and connections – the office ‘water-cooler’. Without passing interactions in the kitchen, or lunch trips, or chance meetings in the corridor, or posters above the kettle, so much organisational messaging is in danger of being lost. And not just the critical stuff either – but the softer values-based communications too, which contribute enormously to staff satisfaction.

Five benefits of an internal podcast

An employee podcast can help with the problems above in so many ways. Creative, innovative, and hugely popular, podcasts are also much easier to set up than you might think.

Here are five benefits that an internal podcast could bring your company – both during self-isolation, and beyond.

  1. You can reach all your employees

No matter where they are in the world, as long as they have an internet connection, your people can listen to your podcast.

  1. Your people can listen when it suits them

Podcasts avoid the difficulty of being tied to a scheduled meetings – which an employee may have to forego if their kid falls off the trampoline, or if they have a near-mythological supermarket delivery booked in. Instead, the podcast can be accessed while they’re eating their cornflakes, doing the hoovering, or enjoying a soak in the bath.

  1. You can bring all the important messages together

Different departments can easily contribute important updates, by recording their own content, and sharing it with a podcast coordinator, who can then stitch it together. This means that everything employees need to know will be kept in one place.

  1. You don’t need much technical know-how

Fully-fledged public podcasts mean signing up to a host, paying subscriptions, and (for most people) being under pressure to meet certain standards of quality. For internal company podcasts, a far simpler approach can be taken. At the very least, all you need is a laptop mic, editing software (some are available online for free, like Audacity) and a place to put the file – such as an intranet.

  1. Podcasts create human connections

Part of the popularity of podcasts may be down to our need to hear a human voice. It’s the reason radio has endured for so long. Tone of voice can convey emotion and warmth in a way that emails will never be able to achieve. And especially in this time of self-isolation, we need these human connections more than ever. Even just by encouraging your CEO to say a few words of thanks, you can help your employees to feel more valued and engaged with your mission.

Convinced to begin building your bridge?

There’s so much more we can talk about with internal podcasts – so look out for more posts in the coming weeks about planning and setting up a podcast, as well as practical tips and pitfalls.

If you need some help scripting podcasts, or planning a podcast content calendar for your internal communications, get in touch.

P.S. I’m the writer and showrunner of the critically acclaimed comedy podcast Oblivity, so – yes – I really do love podcasts!

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