Consider This: Podcasts For Employee Training

Podcasting has really come into its own in recent years – and corporate podcasting is just a natural extension of the medium, providing an additional way for companies to connect with their employees. Podcasts are a modern, cost-efficient, effective way of educating, informing and engaging audiences, providing content designed to be listened to on-the-go, whenever it’s convenient for your listener. This versatile medium is perfect for ongoing communications campaigns, as well as for situations that require quick-but-nuanced corporate response.

Internal podcasts are becoming increasingly more popular in order to boost employee engagement as well as communicate with employees. Podcast platforms have the ability to promote episodes on an invite-only basis if the material is specifically for an internal audience. You can use internal podcasts for employee training sessions, new hire onboarding, managing organizational changes, as well as simply maintaining open lines of communications among all team members in the company.

internal podcasts

In his book, Podcasting 101 for Training and Development, training strategist Kaliym A. Islam says companies must truly evaluate the material before choosing to deliver via podcast. “Podcasting cannot replace all the other types of training,” says Islam, “because it does not allow for interactivity and feedback, it is more like a lecture or an explanation than a training session.” Still, podcasts can be very effective in certain areas. Your organization can use internal podcasts for employee training, communication, and a multitude of other reasons. Islam goes on to list the likely areas in which podcasts will be effective:

  • Reinforcement of training
  • Supplemental training
  • Following up on training
  • Providing information to people who cannot attend
  • Replacing content-only portions of training

Which Audiences Are Best for Internal Podcasts?

"When considering an internal podcast, companies should think about who their audience is, the messaging they wish to share, and what they wish to achieve with their podcast. Practical considerations should include your podcast schedule (as in, how frequently you want to post a new episode), who your host might be, what guests and topics you might like to feature, and whether you’d like for your podcast to be scripted, or more free-form." says Jacqui Gregory, IRI Senior Writer/Producer and producer of the ProjectHR podcast.

Just because you can create a podcast, doesn't necessarily mean you should! Think about your employees, including demographics, and the work they do before deciding if an internal podcast format makes sense. For example, mobile workforces respond best when it comes to using an internal podcast for employee training. Drivers in the transportation industry, healthcare, retail, and remote workers are all less likely to be sitting at a desk in the office for any length of time, if at all. Employees can be working in any industry and an internal podcast can be beneficial, but it has to be tailored to that specific demographic.

As Jacqui Gregory, producer of the ProjectHR Podcast continues, "Podcast success doesn’t depend on one single thing: it depends on guest quality, production quality, engaging content and consistency of presentation. When all those elements are present, you cultivate an audience of people who actually want to listen to your messaging – and that’s priceless. Now, admittedly, a lot of work goes into keeping all those elements in play, which is why it makes sense to engage an employee communications consultant who can keep your podcast running, and ensure it stays engaging, even in the long-term." As you can see, you must implement the right strategy for your organization, but when the pieces come together, you can have a successful internal podcast that reaches the audience it's intended for.

Internal Podcast Strategy to Reach Employees

When it comes to some of the hurdles you'll face when producing an internal podcast for employees, Marci Munick, Lead Communications Consultant at IRI Consultants, shares what she has found to be the biggest obstacles. The biggest challenges are "getting on the schedule of the EVP who is featured; getting her ideas for a topic; connecting with other people in the organization so that it is promoted effectively."

When asked what the best internal podcast strategy looks like, Marci Munick shared that, "Ideally, your strategy ties into other initiatives, ideas, etc that the client organization is trying to promote or embed with the intended audience; prescheduled planning and record dates; coordination with internal team re promotion."

Consider who will be the host of your podcast, as well as who the guests will be. The strategy includes scripting out questions for guests, fleshing out topics for discussion, and a publishing schedule. Will you have enough content and guests to promote once a week, or will you release an episode monthly? These are all important aspects of an internal podcast that you’ll want to have clear answers to before you’re ready to develop. A professional employee communications consultant can help you develop your strategy and determine the best way to accomplish your goals.

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Increase Engagement with Podcasts for Employees

Consider that your employees may be inundated with emails and messages in their internal communications threads; sending emails with further updates, changes, communications, or even opportunities for trainings is easy to be overlooked or moved to the back burner. Podcasts are becoming increasingly more popular, with recent research from the Infinite Dial showing 62% of Americans will have ever listened to a podcast at some point. This is an increase from 57%, which was the statistics in 2021. Of this 62% of Americans, 38% of them have listened to a podcast in the last month and 26% in the last week. It’s clear to see this will continue to increase.

As of June 2022, globally, there are over 2.4 million podcasts, with over 66 million episodes between them. Over 100 million Americans regularly listen to podcasts. There are over 383 million podcast listeners globally, and it is predicted that there will be around 424 million listeners worldwide by the end of 2022. Clearly, podcasts are taking off, and companies would be wise to use this medium to reach their team members and connect with them via internal podcasts for employee training purposes or simply for regular communication and connection.

What Tech is Needed to Produce an Internal Podcast for Employee Communication?

The technology needed for podcasting can be overwhelming, and enlisting a professional production consultant can help you get going quickly. Some of the basics necessary to produce a professional podcast include:

  • a good microphone
  • a device for recording multiple people
  • platform that allows you to talk to others (such as Zoom)
  • a computer or preferably, a laptop
  • editing software
  • a program that will record the audio for the episode
  • a hosting platform where you can publish your content

In addition to the basics, you’ll need a quiet space to record, and many will also recommend a pop filter and sound mixing equipment to improve the quality and sound of your podcast. However, you’ll find that several successful podcasts suggest you can make magic happen with the essentials when it comes to equipment.

internal podcast for employee training

How Do I Get My Employees to Listen to My Internal Podcast?

Once you’ve got a solid strategy for developing your internal podcast for employee training or communications, the next hurdle will be getting buy-in from employees and encouraging them to listen regularly. You may consider a promotional campaign that goes out to your employees in the form of emails, texting, posters in the office, CCTV messaging, etc. every time a new episode comes out. Communication apps like Slack, Google Teams, etc. also allow you to have more personalized messaging with your teams that can be delivered like text messages and links to each episode can be shared with all employees or within specific designated threads.

Ultimately, a professional can help you determine the best distribution methods that cause the least friction in getting employees to listen in. A professional productions consultant can help to create your internal podcast for employee training purposes, or to simply stay connected with employees and manage communications should there be any organizational changes. IRI Consultants is here to help you manage your communications strategies and better connect your leaders to your employees. You can enlist the guidance of an employee communications consultant to determine the best strategy for your unique needs!

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