Internal communications is a fascinating subject, and people I know who work in IC say it has changed so much over the last few years. Part of this change is down to the inevitable digital transformation of business, which shows no signs of abating. It has breathed new life into traditional ways of doing things, turning many staid corporate behemoths into nimble, modern outfits that attract young, enthusiastic talent.
The best digitally transformed businesses, in my opinion, are those that enthuse the employees they already have. They’ve managed to convert the naysayers, the change-reluctant and the nervous into forward-thinking ambassadors who are able to adapt and embrace the new opportunities around them.
In internal comms, as in many other traditional departments, change can be a hard sell. New ways to communicate and engage with people have popped up consistently over the last few years. Think of software such as Yammer, Slack and HipChat. We’re using cloud services more than ever, and video has become a buzzword on many people’s lips. I can add one more highly effective method of communication, and that’s podcasting.
Improving internal comms culture
I believe podcasting should be one of the primary channels for creating an engaging and collaborative culture of internal communications. Here’s why:
- It’s easy to create.
- It’s easy to digest.
- It appeals to camera-shy people.
- It can come across as less corporate, and more natural.
- It can be private.
In the US, 51% of the population has listened to a podcast. You can bet your bottom dollar that a huge proportion of that 44% are in regular employment. They know and understand how to consume podcasts on their personal, mobile devices. 22% of listening is done in the car, which is something you definitely can’t do with video if you’re driving!
And 50% of all US homes are podcast fans, according to Nielsen figures from August 2017. Statistics for the UK are “inching up”, according to RAJAR research. Acceptance of podcasting as a digestible, entertaining and effective way to consume information is high, and it’s technology that’s relatively easy to grasp. You are already fully equipped with the tools you need to start listening if you own a smartphone, a laptop or a smart TV.
It may be relatively simple to create a more engaging platform for the people in your business, but what about privacy? You certainly don’t want sensitive information shared on iTunes or Google Play. Thankfully, there are podcast hosting services out there that offer private hosting, so that you control who’s invited or who gets to listen to your podcast. It’s kept in-house, and you can monitor and measure all of the metrics you need to keep the number crunchers among you deliriously happy.
The important thing is to make your podcasts entertaining, so that colleagues can get to know one another better, and understand who’s working on what. If you’re looking for more creativity in your job description, podcasting is a great platform!
Podcasting has the potential to localise your message. IC becomes a connector of people, whether they’re sat in the next room or in the next continent. One of the issues I hear regularly involves creating international content. Things get lost in translation when it comes to making slides, or producing video, and quality is hard to control. As long as you have a decent phone line, you can control the production of a podcast yourself. This ensures that no one else has to bear the weight. Sound can be recorded on a phone. There’s really no need to book a studio and buy expensive preamps and microphones. The most important thing is the story, and the message, and the outcome.
If you embrace the idea of podcasting as an internal communication tool, you’re on the road to improving engagement, enhancing the entertainment factor and measuring success. It’s an opportunity to break the formula of traditional IC strategies and hear from the people whose voices are often lost in the crowd. And that’s something worth listening to.