Working remotely is steadily becoming the new normal, instead of a rare privilege. According to an estimate by Upwork, the majority of workers in the U.S. will be freelancers by 2027, while in Europe, remote working has increased from 7.7% to 9.8% in the past decade. As remote working increases, the question remains: should you start a company podcast?
Teleworking has presented many opportunities for employees and businesses alike. Remote work helps employees feel happy, engaged, and fulfilled, which positively affects their productivity. In fact, Stanford University’s two-year remote work productivity study found that working from home not only increased productivity but also decreased turnover by 50%. The study also found that employees took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off; they also saved the company almost USD$2,000 per employee on rent.
However, as the world is shifting towards a future-focused on telecommuting and remote working, many companies are finding themselves scrambling to adopt rules, regulations, and protocols for this new style of e-working. A new Doodle survey of 300 HR professionals found that they are ill-prepared to transition to fully virtual recruitment and onboarding model. Not only did the findings show that remote meeting tools are the lowest priority in HR budgets, but HR professionals are also struggling to make remote workers feel like part of the team, finding it difficult to integrate them into the company culture.
At the moment, email is the primary method of communication for remote workers, followed by instant messaging and video conferencing. However, the pressure of always being online can make remote staff feel overwhelmed with email and internal messaging. Video meetings are another option and help teams stay connected, brainstorm, improve productivity,and get help with what they’re working on. But they can also be time-consuming, unproductive, and inefficient. This is where podcasting can help your remote teams connect, engage, and stay motivated, even at a distance. Although online meetings are essential, podcasting can help your company reach each member of your remote team in an efficient and effective way.
Audio versus Video
Before discussing the power of podcasting for remote teams, let’s address and discuss the reason why audio might be a better choice over video. Research has shown that listeners engage with audio in a huge way. Audio can help companies connect with their staff through emotion and personality, drive action and engagement, all while grabbing and holding their attention in a very digestible way.
Audio is incredibly powerful because:
- It can be easily consumed in a variety of environments and settings
Whether employees are outside, at the supermarket, or going for their daily run, they have access to podcasts. This means that companies and enterprises can reach employees who are often away from their desks, or who don’t have a desk. Retail, sales, or service employees, for example, can take advantage of features like offline listening as a way to access key and important internal communication content while on the go.
- It allows for more attention and connection
Audio is intimate. 79% of audio consumption takes place while people are engaged in activities where visual media cannot reach them. Audio enhances our everyday moments instead of trying to compete for our attention. Audio intimacy can be seen in podcasting, where a podcaster or host can feel like someone you’ve known for ages. Spotify reached out to Lea Thau, host and producer of the podcast Strangers (Radiotopia and KCRW) and creator of The Moth Radio Hour and Podcast, who argues “people actually listen…you are talking right inside someone’s head,” adding that it is a different experience from radio, where people might tune in from the car just to listen to “whatever is on.” As podcasting is an intimate medium it can humanize companies and strengthen the relationship between management and staff.
- It’s easy and affordable
Unlike video, podcasts are easy to create and to distribute. In fact, you don’t even need a recording studio or a professional studio within your company. The most basic podcasting set-up can be as simple as using your computer’s built-in microphone and editing the audio on free tools like Audacity and GarageBand. From there you can upload it to a hosting platform – we recommend Voxnest-owned Spreaker (although we are biased) – and then distribute it to your employees. It’s that simple.
Now that we’ve covered why audio is important, let’s address how other companies and enterprises are using remote team podcasting, and how you might use it yourself. Whether it’s a team update about a specific project or delivering individually driven staff learning, audio content can really help foster community and culture in a remote team.
What Do Remote Teams Use Podcasting For?
Before looking at the range of ways you can use podcasting to help your remote team, let’s quickly address the question of privacy, as this is a question many companies will probably ask.
Can you make your podcast private? YES.
Spreaker, for example, offers private episodes and private podcast sharing to offer users maximum publishing flexibility. Private podcast sharing allows for two visibility options for podcasts: Private and Limited Access. Limited access podcasts are available to listeners on both mobile and web devices, making it ideal for remote distribution. Spreaker’s Enterprise plan takes this one step further by offering limited RSS feed features that give publishers and podcasters the ability to share specific content that can be listened to not only on Spreaker.com but also on third-party apps such as Apple Podcasts, Podcast Addict, and others. This means that companies can create multiple podcasts and episodes that they can privately share with a select group of employees. An onboarding podcast, therefore, would only be accessible by new recruits while an announcement from the CEO can be shared with all remote employees.
Now that we’ve got that question out of the way, it’s time to look at some of the possibilities of podcasting for remote teams:
Create an internal podcast for your company
Podcasting has become a popular medium for internal communications at companies of all sizes. In fact, company podcasts are overtaking company newsletters. Internal podcasts for your company can be used to:
- Repurpose online calls & meetings
Let’s be honest, unless you have a small team, it’s almost impossible for each employee to be part of every departmental call or meeting. And meeting notes can often be confusing, incomplete, or even forgotten altogether. Nevertheless, some teams, like marketing, need to have an understanding of what is happening in every department from HR to product development. Audio podcasts of online calls and meetings are a great way to inform all your employees of what is happening in your company in an efficient and effective manner. To make it even easier, departments can create team-to-team recordings, which can be limited to a quick round-up of the key points and actions that need to be undertaken by that specific department.
- Onboard new team members
Growth is inevitable and so is turnover. Hiring and training employees can be time-consuming, especially if your company is going through a period of rapid growth. In the past, employers would often give their new hires documents filled with pages of explanations and introductions. An audio onboarding podcast allows companies to engage with their hires from the first day in a new and creative way. Podcast episodes can be dripped to new hires in a scheduled sequence, starting from a welcome message from the CEO to the introduction of each department by departmental heads and key employees. Information that can be shared includes the culture of the company, how things work, or what success looks like in an employee’s new role. HR can also provide employees with answers to the most common onboarding questions, like requesting time off or the sick day policy.
- Culture building
Employees value strong company culture. Companies, therefore, can create an internal podcast that focuses on topics that matter to their employees. A great way to retain employees is by providing them not only with information that they need to succeed but also demonstrating that you care by creating the feeling that your staff is being listened to.
- Internal company announcements
Whether it is introducing new hires, giving star employees the public recognition that they deserve, sharing product launches, or celebrating milestones, all of these announcements can be done via an internal employee podcast. The CEO or COO of your company can record a short 5 to10-minute presentation once a week that can then be shared via private links to episodes that only employees can access, allowing sensitive information to stay internal.
Remote workers can often feel isolated. As a result, an internal podcast can not only provide valuable information to employees but can increase employee engagement in a conversational way while showcasing your company culture and bridging the communication gap between your employees and management.
A great example of an internal podcast, which is also available publicly, is American Airlines’ Tell Me Why podcast, hosted by Ron De Feo, who is the company’s Vice President of Global Communications. Although the podcast is no longer active, American Airlines started the podcast because their 122,000 employees stated in an internal survey that they wanted to know more about corporate policies.
Create an external podcast for your employees, clients, and/or community
Podcasts can also be something that can be shared publicly with freelance employees, possible clients, and the community.
A prime example of this can be seen with 99Taxis, which decided to create a public podcast aimed at not only helping their own drivers but also enticing new drivers to sign up for their service. In 2019, 99Taxis, a competitor of Uber in Brazil, launched Papo de Motora (“Driver Talk”). The idea of the podcast was to provide relevant content to assist the driver’s daily life and provide him or her with some company during their shift. The first episode reached, in a few hours, more than 35K downloads. All editions have the same format: a driver and a guest, mediated by a presenter, who discuss topics related to the universe of those who drive a car and are part (or want to be part) of the 99Taxis company. The first episode, for example, offered tips to drivers on how to optimize their earnings, while the second episode focused on driver safety, inviting more women drivers to join their company.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the podcast possibilities. But hopefully, it gives you an idea of what your company can possibly do.
At this point, you are probably asking you if your company would be a good fit for an internal (or even external podcast). Well, let’s explore that question a little bit.
So should you have a company podcast? Steve Pratt from Pacific Content argues that three types of companies would work well in this medium:
- Companies with a lot of employees. Although Pratt argues that companies with 25K or more employees would be perfect for an internal podcast, we would argue that smaller companies with, for example, 500+ employees could also use podcasting as a way to communicate effectively to their employees.
- Companies that are growing rapidly. As mentioned previously, companies that have high growth rates or turnover could benefit from an onboarding podcast that can help with consistency, questions, and building company culture.
- Companies with complicated issues. Pratt argues that companies with big, nuanced issues that need to be discussed with all employees but are too sensitive to be made public could work well in a private podcast. These issues can be discussed and looked at on a deeper level, thus creating an open line of communication between executive management and employees.
In the end, if you are interested in the possibility of creating a podcast for your remote team then we would love to hear from you. Voxnest has a range of tools and services available that can help you with all of your podcasting needs.
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